– CANNES 2022: Unreal Engine’s real-time tool can improve creative work and communication within a team, saving time and money.
This article is available in English.
On May 19, on the main stage of the Marché du Film (May 17-25) in Cannes, a Next lecture was held on the topic “What are the advantages of real-time technologies for the feature film production pipeline?” The panel focused on identifying the differences between working with a virtual production line and traditional production, how workflows are changing, and the main benefits of using these new technologies.
The event was moderated by the Unreal Engine Strategy Advisor from Epic Games. Joan Da Silvawho introduced the speakers, namely the virtual production manager of The Third Floor Brad BlackburnVirtual Production Manager Lux Machina Consulting Louise Bremner and produced by Monolith Studios Valerie Johnson Redrow.
First, Da Silva asked at what point did the three participants realize the importance of virtual production. Johnson-Redrow called her an “eye-opener” for the work she did on the attraction at the King Kong 360 3D theme park. Peter Jackson turned it into an immersive tunnel: “I figured out how fun it was to put people in this world, even though it was in real time, it was the precursor to that [technology]”. Bremner began using virtual production around 2018–2019 while working on Kenneth BranaghX Death on the Nile, which was originally conceived as a simple tool for working with visual effects. Blackburn concluded that “pieces” of the project’s world existed somewhere on the computer, and those pieces could be used for virtual production.
While virtual production may seem intimidating at first, Bremner stressed that its benefits can make the entire process faster and smoother. “One of the tools that people find really useful is virtual cameras for blocking actors,” she said. With the help of “meta-humans” and not just mannequins, filmmakers can frame shots, try different lens options, and develop their visual language until the day before shooting.
Blackburn agreed and highlighted the financial impact of this new technology: “One of the key things about virtual manufacturing is that a lot of its benefits come from trying to get all the research, elimination and improvement ideas early on in such a virtual process. without trying to do it on set.” He added that big players own huge catalogs of assets ready to be used or modified for further use, which is another opportunity to reduce costs and “capture more value.”
Bremner and Johnson-Redrow later agreed that virtual production could make it easier to hire more diverse creative teams, a process that has been accelerated by remote work carried out during the pandemic.
Blackburn suggests thinking of virtual manufacturing as “electricity, telephone line, or communication”—in other words, it is a “visual communication system” that can help any department do its job better. He also pointed out that much of the costly part of virtual production is volume related, so he recommended “getting rid of crazy ideas ahead of time, showing up with a plan and making sure everyone out there knows what options you’re looking for that day.” “.
Near the end of the panel, Blackburn suggested that everyone should go into virtual production: “As long as you have an Internet connection and a web browser, the amount of information available is enormous.” He explained that companies like Epic and Netflix have published many guides sharing their best practices and that most of the required software is free. In this way, you can connect multiple screens and devices and effectively create your own primitive “training virtual production system” to start exploring and exploring the potential of this new technology.
The panel ended with a short question and answer session.