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Did we just shoot the first ever multi-cam virtual production game show?

Did we just shoot the first ever multi-cam virtual production game show?

A proof-of-concept in collaboration with the National Film and Television School

Virtual production has come a long way in the decade since Gravity’s LED ‘lightbox’ was used to simulate scenes from outer space. And, in the few years since the Mandalorian catapulted the technique into the limelight, virtual production has driven a technical and talent revolution across the film and TV industries. The application of in-camera visual effects has already expanded from film and high-end TV productions to live news and sports broadcasts, but there are still uncharted territories in the virtual landscape. One genre that has yet to be revolutionised by virtual production is entertainment programming – specifically game shows.

Game shows are traditionally shot ‘live to tape’ because, depending on the gaming elements, it’s potentially impossible or unfair to cut and reset scenes in the middle of a competitive segment. However, in addition to recording the mixed programme, production teams generally also ISO record individual camera feeds so that they can fine-tune the cut once the recording is complete. And this is where game shows pose a particular challenge for virtual production teams.

As we saw at this year’s NAB and IBC shows, solutions for multi-cam virtual production have recently been devised where individual cameras capture different image perspectives from the LED backdrop. So far, the techniques have been effective for news and weather reports and to hide teleprompts in plain sight on small volumes, but how would they stand up to a game show’s needs – outputting multiple virtual environments onto a supersized volume and capturing every camera’s perspective concurrently? Nobody knew, until now.

Anna Valley has just completed a proof of concept in collaboration with the National Film and Television school (and technology partners: disguise, Brompton Technology, MoSys and Garden Studios) to put the tech to the test. And the result might be the first ever multi-cam virtual production game show.

“The Ratings Game” was shot on Anna Valley’s 26m long volume at Garden Studios using three different virtual environments and four cameras, with individual ISO records for each camera. The project represents the removal of one of the final obstacles to the adoption of virtual production in broadcast programming.

Watch this space for the final production video which will be available later this year, and for virtual production enquiries reach out to [email protected]