` Virtual Production: what it means for advertising - Directory
Tech insights

Virtual Production: what it means for advertising

Virtual production is currently a buzzword that most, if not all, are aware of. Movies like Dune, Midnight Sky & The Mandalorian, have all featured the technique with great success. Anyone who has recently been to Cannes Lions, would have seen: Epic, Unity, and Pixmondo, all touting their wares.

Now, advertising agencies like Hogarth and WPP are heavily committed to VP, largely because of the green and sustainability credentials. With brands like Unilever and McDonalds already shooting VP. I think it’s worth taking a look at exactly what this new technology means for the Food commercial and Tabletop industry.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in setting up 3 permanent LED stages in Europe and Africa. Have shot over 60 days in ‘The Volume’- the name given to LED studios that are popping up around the world. With that, I have a reasonable insight into what they can achieve and equally essential, what they cannot achieve.

Firstly, virtual production is somewhat of a misnomer. To all intents and purposes, as commercial makers, we are involved in mixed reality production, rather than virtual production. We are generally taking a conventional foreground scene with talents and props and integrating it with a 3D or 2 Plate background. Combining the skills of traditional film makers, with those of video game designers; display and event technology, to provide real time VFX.

The key to the success of Mixed reality production is integration. Integrating: your favourite cameras with your favourite lenses and lights; lens profiling, FIZ data and pixel mapping of lighting features; into Unreal Engine. I have been working alongside ARRI who are at the cutting edge of this integration of VP and cinematography. By adopting this integrated approach we end up using the tools we are comfortable with; albeit in an unfamiliar environment. Working in f-stops, not percentages; with foot-candles and not NITs. Being able to replicate your favourite lighting fixtures and filtration within a 3D environment. Accurate tracking data and some fairly hefty processing power- help, too!

image courtesy of the Author

Continue reading