Gain limitless other-worldly locations by going virtual
Virtual sets are a revolution in video production. It is now possible to shoot a movie or an entire year’s streaming series for Disney, or an advertising or social media campaign, without the production crew ever needing to board an airplane, contend with unpredictable weather, stay in expensive (or awful) hotels, or hang green screens.
Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) invented virtual sets to tackle a new generation of video production that needed to be both cost-effective yet more realistic than ever before. Virtual sets marry high-definition floor-to-ceiling LED screens combined with the latest computer-generated gaming graphics and rendering to imitate any location, real or imagined, in any weather, lighting or season.
Director and producer George Lucas started ILM in the mid 1970s as part of his production company Lucasfilm to help create the special effects he needed for the original Star Wars series.
ILM has always been in the business of cutting-edge production: from high-concept models and puppets (think Jabba the Hutt and Yoda) to green screen and computer-generated effects that make Jurassic Park dinosaurs walk the earth and Star Wars spaceships fly. In 2012, Disney bought ILM’s parent company, Lucasfilm, and acquired ILM in the process.
If you’ve watched the acclaimed Disney-series The Mandalorian, then you’ve seen virtual sets in action.
Need the Mandalorian characters battling in a snow-covered forest or walking through a mythical city on a far-off planet? That world can be created in a 10-metre-high ILM virtual studio called a Volume.
If the original Star Wars: A New Hope were remade today, the crew wouldn’t fly to Tunisia to shoot the Tatooine scenes, it would all be shot in London, Los Angeles, or Sydney in a massive wrap around virtual set for a fraction of the cost of a remote production.
Green screen has been the gold standard for special effects for years. However, many actors say green screen is confusing because it gives no reference to the setting, nor the actions or drama happening around them. Actor Ian McKellen complained that he was “miserable” because green screen robbed him of a sense of place during the making of the 2014 movie The Hobbit. With a virtual set, McKellen’s character Gandalf would have seen the rocky mountaintop around him.
A Volume also gives the film crew extensive creative options. The background moves with the camera angle so that there is no parallax view or distortion. Lighting can change to mimic bright sunshine, a soft evening in a mountain meadow, or a fluorescent-lit interior. Film crews can also focus on the subject while blurring the background for a cinematic depth of field. And all the angles, shots, sets, sky colours, motion, light can be recorded and used again.
What does this mean for the advertising and content creation business? Agencies can now schedule an entire year’s video shoots with multiple locations, multiple actors, and even different seasons, all in one virtual set shoot. Consumer brands can plan different international product launches with very controlled production budgets.
Need an actor set in Paris to launch a new mobile phone, but can’t afford the remote crew, travel budget and post-production? No problem. First, create the “City of Light” in a graphics software or with stock video captured with a drone or high-def DSLR. Second, film the celebrity walking the LED-created virtual streets of Paris without ever leaving a Los Angeles soundstage. Need your product to be positioned on a tropical beach, a deep forest, mountain top, a corner café or a subway car? A virtual set can create that world.
Here’s an example of this in action: Genesis Motors of Canada wanted to produce advertising and social media content for the launch of their new electric GV60 model. The problem was that the Canadian winter was coming and Genesis wanted to capture the new car in different seasons on picturesque roads. The company turned to a Toronto-based virtual production company to shoot a year’s worth of advertising and social media content in just a few days in a virtual set without ever having to fly a crew and car to remote locations in unpredictable weather. You can see examples here.
Click2View is exploring ways to use virtual sets for our clients. Corporations face unpredictable marketing and travel budgets at the same time as demand for stunning social media content and storytelling is ever-increasing . Virtual sets offer the ability to film in any location the client desires with the security of pre-set production costs and nearly boundless creative options.
Imagine a shoot in the snow-capped Alps, the deserts of Abu Dhabi and the rain-streaked streets of Kowloon. With a virtual set, we can do that for you with a set budget and never leave Singapore.
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Click2View is Southeast Asia’s premiere full-service independent B2B content marketing agency servicing clients like Microsoft, Google, Visa, Prudential, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.