Jonathan Brigden, MD Distortion Creative Group, a specialist immersive content company which incorporates Studio Giggle, Distortion Studios and Distortion Productions, talks Virtual Production.
Streaming giants and film studios have embraced the emerging medium of Virtual Production, and now, the exhibition industry is primed to take advantage too, as events seek an impactful edge.
Ambitious stand creators, marketeers, content creators, and event planners are always looking for the next big thing. It’s tempting then to turn to the big screen for inspiration. And, certainly, early use of XR and Virtual Production has been a hit with audiences, with Disney, Netflix, and movie directors employing the medium for The Mandalorian, Andor, 1899, How I Met Your Father, Star Trek Discovery, and many more.
After studying the medium in great depth, and seeing its diverse applications, Studio Giggle decided to fully embrace Virtual Production, and is now preparing to open a dedicated studio in Bristol, England, to allow everyone from CEOs and movie stars to make an unforgettable impact.
Virtual Production is a fairly nebulous term. In its purest form, it is pre-visualising your shots by creating worlds in a game engine such as Unreal Engine from Epic Games, donning a VR headset and exploring your shots and pre-planning your shoot this way. This has been used in amazing ways with the ‘live action’ Jungle Book and Lion King and in the UK with His Dark Materials.
This has expanded over time to bring that into a studio environment. You can take these pre-visualised spaces (often grey-scale blocks) and make them into photorealistic environments that you can show on a high resolution large LED screen, known colloquially as ‘the volume’. The camera is tracked in 3D space and, as it moves, a render of the world occurs in camera. This has coined the phrase ‘in-camera VFX’ which has become synonymous with Virtual Production.
This new way of approaching content allows the participant to see, and therefore interact, with their environment as they film their all-important exhibition-ready content. It forces content makers to plan their shoots, as everything is done in pre-production, cutting down on lengthy and costly shoots and reshoots.
The results can be magical, allowing for fully realised virtual worlds. However, more mundane, subtle, and practical shoots are also popular.
If you have an exhibition or event planned in Italy, for example, you can shoot outside the Colosseum, or the event venue without ever leaving the comfort of the studio, saving on international travel to far flung locations. And, should the brief require it, you can even shoot on Mars if you so wish.
Many tout the cost savings of Virtual Production. We’d caution however, that, if poorly planned, your shoot can be more expensive than traditional content creation. Furthermore, although the cuts in post-production time are a big selling point, a degree of post production is still needed on any shot, often for colouring or grading.
Virtual Production is an extremely complicated process but, when successfully done, the effect is unrivalled. It’s a technology that can save time, money and, due to savings in travel, can even help save the planet.
Based in its studio in The Paintworks in Bristol, Studio Giggle specialises in designing and producing interactive, immersive content for extraordinary events.
Find out more at: www.studiogiggle.co.uk