The benefits of virtual production studios are numerous, but due to the costly technology required, early attempts were limited to major Hollywood productions such as Disney&s The Mandalorian.
Unlike a green screen, the virtual background of such a film set shows in real time what will be seen in the finished film. For this purpose, the movements of the camera are tracked and a 3D rendering program - usually the Unreal Engine - is used to generate the background in real time. This has several advantages: the actors can put themselves in the scene better when they see where the scene is actually taking place, and the film team can examine the effect of various backgrounds and camera settings "in real life" - even in advance. In addition, the live background casts a natural light, including reflections - for example, during a sunrise or other special lighting situation - on the actors and the props on the film set - which looks more natural than one simulated by spotlights. And some of the labor otherwise required in post-production to replace the green screen is eliminated.
But there are also cheaper alternatives, as demonstrated by the video of the Norwegian filmmakers from Andyax, who use a beamer projection instead of a huge LED wall as an interactive background. In combination with a VIVE Mars camera tracking system, a powerful PC for the Unreal Engine and a VFX expert who can operate this complex software, this results in a virtual film set. In their small example, however, the background does not replace the whole film set but only gives a view out of a window, which, however, already impressively shows the capabilities of a virtual production. Theoretically, the LED wall could also be replaced by a large monitor for such specific applications.
The advantages of virtual film productions
. For larger productions in particular, virtual productions bring many changes and advantages: for example, a lot of work is shifted from post-production to pre-production, since even at this stage 3D models of the scenes can be used to plan the shooting of individual scenes exactly and visualize them as they will later look in the film - including the selection of lenses to be used. During the shoot itself, the production designer, DOP and director can make basic aesthetic decisions quickly and try out new ideas right away, rather than having to wait for hours of renderings in post-production if something needs to be changed in the design of the (virtual) set. This way, everyone on the team can contribute their experience to get optimal images.
Filming CGI scenes becomes much more natural for the whole crew and the shoot is independent of outdoor conditions - the magic hour can last a whole day, the color mood can be changed at will, and there are no more gray clouds for scenes where a bright blue sky is the condition. Things become possible that were not possible before with a real set or were feasible due to their costs. Backgrounds can be digitally manipulated live as well as virtual rendered objects on set.
Dark Bay Virtual Production Studio in Babelsberg
Ein weiterer Vorteil entsteht durch die Einsparung von Kosten: so reicht für viele Szenen eine Kamera die vor Ort Bilder von Hintergründen einfängt und erspart so eine Reise des ganzen Filmteams. So wurde die Anfangsszene von "The Mandalorian " statt mit einem 700-köpfigen Filmteam nur von einem Kameramann in Island gedreht. Diese echte Footage kann mit auch virtuellen Objekten kombiniert werden. Total verändert wird die Produktion auch dadurch, daß das virtuelle Set extrem schnell gewechselt werden von Szene zu Szene und kaum mehr Umbauten mehr benötigt. Auch die Schauspielern profitieren, da sie im Gegensatz zu den sonst verwendeten Greenscreens durch die auch für sie sichtbaren Hintergründe ein besseres Gefühl bekommen für die Umgebung in der sie spielen.