- Virtual production technologies are no longer “experimental,” reaching a level of maturity to justify the claims of cost savings and time efficiency.
- A virtual production workflow is a new approach to filmmaking that could transcend any incremental changes in underlying virtual production technologies or tools.
- A new white paper from NEP Virtual Studios and Prysm Stages takes a closer look at the budget, scheduling, and team impacts of virtual production during pre-production, production, and post-production, and the implications for workflows.
While virtual production has not yet reached the commodity stage, we are certainly beyond experimentation and into stable and scalable deployment.
The tools and technologies behind virtual production including game engines, AR, real-time compositing, and In-Camera VFX, “are now proven and repeatable” according to Entertainment Technologists in a new white paper sponsored by NEP Virtual Studios and Prysm Stages.
“Virtual production technologies have reached a level of maturity where there is stability, choice, and sufficient case studies to justify the claims of cost savings and time efficiency,” the report states.
“Film producers and studios should be considering using the technology on their next productions. Not every shot and every show, but certainly enough to start the educational journey and build trust.”
Virtual production is the first technology that spans across the stages of production, breaking down silos between teams, workflows, and tools. Cr: Entertainment Technologists
The report’s overriding concept is that it is by combining technologies into a new virtual production workflow that offers the most creative and efficiency gains.
“We make the case that individual VP technologies in isolation are an interesting evolution of the production process, but it’s when they are combined that they offer a potential revolution. It is only if these new technologies are systematically applied in a new workflow process that we can take full advantage of them.”
Virtual production covers not a singular technology but a combination of integrated systems, and there’s really nothing virtual about it. (It’s not a great descriptive name but it’s what the industry has settled on.)
“Virtual production” is not virtual but real, physical production, on a set, with cameras, microphones, actors and props all combined with real-time visualization workflows.
The key distinction with legacy production is that virtual production is enabled by a suite of new and emerging technologies that combine physical and digital elements on-set, in real time, to enable real-time feedback and iterations.
The report defines “virtual production workflow” as a change in the production approach rather than any specific change in technology. A robust VP workflow process will support, adapt and scale to continuous changes in underlying virtual production technologies.
“Adopting this more holistic process now not only future-proofs a producer and production team from changes during their current project but also builds the skills for the future disruptions that are coming as real-time collaborative pipelines will continue to transplant slower offline rendering and iteration processes.”
However, this new approach requires diligence in planning and preparation to enable the gains — especially in allocating time and budget during pre-production for asset creation.
It adds, “Investing time to explore VP technologies and the workflows they enable now will ultimately pay dividends for years and decades to come.”