Breaking News - Grand Technix acquires Anna Valley brand name and brand collateral. Read more.Breaking News - Grand Technix acquires Anna Valley brand name and brand collateral. Read more.

Bringing SMPTE’s Virtual Production Showcase to Life

The SMPTE Virtual Production Show took place in London last week. SMPTE UK, along with several corporate partners, including Anna Valley, introduced the world to Garden Studios, a film studio with two traditional sounds stages and an LED wall that’s changing the way films are made.

Hosted by Anna Valley’s Director of Virtual Production and SMPTE Board Member Christina Nowak, the evening was all about the power and versatility of virtual production studios. The LED wall was the backdrop to the entire event, and created stunning visuals with the help of Unreal Engine, an engine typically used for video games. These combined technologies create photorealistic images, and practical lighting brings the effect home. Thanks to the magic of this virtual production studio, filmmakers can film on location without traveling to that location.

SMPTE UK demonstrated these capabilities with the help of some talented students from LAMDA, the legendary theatre acting and tech school. The actors from LAMDA performed two scenes: one in the middle of a forest during an intergalactic war, and the other in a small village during a time of war. Both scenes were extremely convincing, making it look like the actors were actually outdoors. These amazing performances showed how actors, directors, and technologists can use these LED walls to tell brilliant stories in vibrant environments.

Next, Ace Ruele, the Founding Director of Creature Bionics, demonstrated how the LED wall could transform motion capture technology. Creature Bionics creates fantasy and horror creatures for film and television, working with actors and engineers to innovate the field of motion capture technology. With the LED wall, Ruele was able to perform a live monologue as a humanoid goat-man. Traditional filming techniques require similar effects to be done in post-production. Once again, virtual production studios prove they can save a lot of time when making a film.

Last, but not least, was a Q & A about the Virtual Production Studio and the tech needed to make all this possible. Panelists included Ace Ruele, still in his motion capture suit, Mark Pillborough-Skinner, the Virtual Production Supervisor for Garden Studios, Michael McKenna, CEO of Final Pixel, Matt Cowles, Field Project Co-coordinator at ETC, Conner Ling, Virtual Production Lead at Framestore, Richard Graham, Virtual Production Supervisor at Epic Games, Dan Munslow, Executive Producer at Target3D, James Uren, Technical Director at Mo-Sys, Cesar Caceres, Product Lead at Brompton, and Michelle Bonnard, Head of Screen & Audio at LAMDA.

Each member of the panel provided some tech or support for the show and the studio, meaning they were specially qualified to answer questions and lead technical discussions. During the Q & A, the panelists discussed the future of this technology, how it can be applied to creative pursuits beyond film, and even demonstrated a landscape’s day-night cycle on the LED wall.

Overall, the SMPTE Virtual Production Show was a massive success. Over 400 people attended in-person, and over a thousand people tuned in to a livestream of the event. This show was the perfect demonstration of virtual production studios, their capabilities, and how they can be used in the future.