Virtual Production (VP) is ramping up globally. What do you think VP involves?

Dr Jodi Nelson-Tabor, directs a scene for ‘How To Be Good’ project in the Stockwell Street Studios at the University of Greenwich in London
  • Natural Scene Lighting — when using LED screens, the ambient light means the correct light is created automatically. Green screens require certain lighting in order for them to work. But note that subject’s distance in LED Wall shooting, as well as moiré effect and parallax issues can still be problematic in both approaches.
  • Complete Design Freedom — using LED volume means there’s no need to compromise on design for elements like hairstyles, costumes or props. Working in the green screen environment, we had to account for green spill and pulling the key.
  • Full environmental control — Photogrammetry and 3D scanning enable the virtualisation of real-world sets and environments to create whatever scene the filmmaker wants. Certainly using Unreal Engine (via the Marketplace) as the backdrop of the film’s digital environment, gave us full control of our locations, even though we shot inside a studio and was more cost effective than shooting on location and creating it from expensive production design.
  • Minimising costs and avoiding budget blow-outs — using VP techniques can help producers budget with greater clarity. In the past unforeseen elements such as weather, unavailable locations or even green screen effect failing to work as intended, will have made a project exceed its planned budget. Even in our project, there were unforeseen costs that in retrospect, need further scrutiny in the planning phases. But the larger costs, like reshoots, or lots of post-production rendering and replicating outdoor landscapes were avoided through the use of these new technologies and workflows.
  • Seeing the finished project in real-time — by combining LED, camera tracking technology and real-time render engines, directors and actors are able to see what they’re creating playing back in real-time, adjusting as they go. This was certainly a benefit, even shooting on green screen, as the real-time playback was instrumental as a feedback loop for the entire crew.

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Dr. Jodi Nelson-Tabor

Dr. Jodi Nelson-Tabor

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Dr Jodi Nelson-Tabor is a Filmmaker, Writer/Producer, Sr Lecturer & Creative Consultant working across the traditional and immersive creative economy sector.