Virtual Production is Your Friend

Interview: Producer, visual effects supervisor and 2nd unit director Marc Weigert will be the tutor for the next EFA Master Class HIGH VALUE FOR YOUR BUDGET

What is Virtual Production?
There are a lot of misconceptions about the term 'Virtual Production'.  It used to be limited to real-time live digital production. Today, we understand it to mean the entire workflow of a modern film production incorporating visual effects.
Virtual Production includes all of the steps that take place from pre-production to the final delivery of the movie or TV series. There are several parts to this workflow:  the kind of “rapid prototyping” that CG previsualization offers; live virtual set technology that allows you to see 3D set extensions or CG characters while you’re shooting with your actors; and what used to be known as post production, which nowadays starts even before the shoot.

Why Virtual Production?
Filmmaking is all about telling stories, creating worlds, realizing a vision… Virtual Production is a workflow incorporating a set of tools that allows filmmakers to turn their vision into reality. 
Whether you're planning to shoot a historical drama, a dream sequence, a science fiction story, an impossible or difficult environment - the open ocean, the desert, or the moon - or in multiple locations around the world...  Virtual Production is your friend.
Visual effects have become ubiquitous in any kind of movie today, but there is still plenty of confusion about how to approach VFX, especially on lower budgets. Using real-time virtual technology for planning and executing VFX is still a very little understood method that is making enormous strides and can generate amazing results for feature films as well as TV movies or series. 
Virtual Production is about the state-of-the-art AND the future of filmmaking, applying not just to Hollywood blockbusters, but also to independent films, TV movies and series, daily soaps and webisodes. 

So what are we going to do in this master class?
This master class combines theory and practice to explore the latest options for these digital workflows. It will show how they are currently already in use and what the future holds. We will explore animated pre-visualisation and virtual set and location scouting for planning the shoot; motion capture for pre-visualisation; shooting with real-time live virtual set technology; and the processes needed to integrate editorial and DI color correction successfully.
In detail, participants will learn the pros and cons, the highlights and possible pitfalls, of utilizing all different elements of a virtual production.
The theory part will illuminate the entire production workflow based on many current film examples, from breakdown and budgeting to final delivery.
In the practical sessions, we’ll be planning film scenes using the latest tools, from virtual location and set scouting with Zeus:Scout, Google Earth and SunCalc, to shoot diagrams with ShotDesigner and set and scene prototyping with Sketchup.
We will create computer animated pre-visualisation with VFX artists in 3ds Max utilizing an optical motion capture stage, and with the game-engine based previs tool Cinector.
We’ll shoot a live virtual set on stage at Studio Babelsberg with the ARRI Alexa and Stargate Studios’ Lightcraft Previzion system, going through many test scenarios like fog, lightning and reflective floors, and operating the camera for moving virtual objects like helicopters.
Working on the post-production for some of the shots we created, we will look at the reality of compositing, lighting the 3D virtual sets in post and color correction.

EFA Master Class 2014
HIGH VALUE FOR YOUR BUDGET >more information
The Creative Use of Virtual Production
with Marc Weigert
Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam/Germany, 2 – 8 June 2014