Virtual production encompasses multiple facets of filmmaking such as previsualisation, full production with the help of performance capture or techvis. All of these tools serve the invaluable purpose of facilitating directors to achieve the storytelling narrative and objective that they are seeking from their film. Through the effective utilisation of e-content creation tools in conventional film making, directors are discovering innovative ways to make their vision much more compelling.
Virtual production as a process has existed for some time now. However, of late, it has been extremely popular in the movie industry – both big budgets as well as Independent filmmakers. Thanks to the advancements made in real-time technology, it has found applications in cutting-edge domains such as prototyping content. Today, even in a film that is laden with heavy computer-graphics, the director can potentially create an entire scene and explore multiple choices and options while doing so. A cinematographer enjoys his pick of choices when it comes to interactive lighting. The complete movie can be validated and visualized early on in the production process. This, in turn, saves money and time – not to mention the post-production and on-set anxieties.
Any form of Virtual production work begins with previs. With the help of the same, directors and artists work together to realize their collective vision on screen before production. Previs is an indispensable tool when it comes to creative work such as storytelling beats, character animation, lighting and set design. Directors can use real-time technology to deploy virtual cameras that bring CG characters and environments to life. This enables them to manipulate lighting, colours, framing and size until such time when they are satisfied with the finished product. Once they have the guidelines in place, the entire sequences and shots can be planned out with relative ease.
Thanks to virtual and augmented reality (AR), these processes has now become even more user-friendly. With the help of this state-of-the-art technology, directors can visualise the effect of their computer-graphics in a 3D environment, first hand. With the help of their team, they can even scout virtual locations.
Real-time tools such as game engines are enabling expert VFX professionals to do more with their knowledge. It enables them to explore locations that they haven’t even visited yet – places that may not even exist in reality. This helps them to ascertain which camera angles to use and where to put them accordingly in order to extract that dream shot.
As a technique, techvis is used simultaneously with previs. Techvis is the process of laying out the plan to achieve production shots. It determines which specific cameras, cranes, lenses or other equipment are required for the shots. It helps to plan motion control and camera movements for complex sequences. It also helps to strategise the hierarchy of shots subject to the availability of equipment that will be used. Collectively, techvis and previs can help to streamline technical and creative decisions before they are executed. This help curtail both the aspects of time taken and the cost incurred.
During the previs stage, real-time technology is especially helpful when it comes to lighting. Just a few years back, working with different lighting options interactively was not possible. Fortunately, today artists can use tools to freeze lighting layout on a set well in advance. In an effort to reconcile the world of computer graphics with live action performances, professionals employ Virtual production. This ensures that camera composition and lighting decisions that had been made during the film-making process is incorporated during post-production.
Tools such as Simulcam facilitate the amalgamation of live-action footage with computer graphics. Akin to previs, real-time technology in Virtual production enables filmmakers to visualise complex sequences on-set faster and in a much more authentic fashion than was ever possible before.
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