3D World

- Unreal Engine · Adobe After Effects

al­ready are, Garry con­ducted a sur­vey polling 220 peo­ple work­ing in VFX for in­die films. Pre­dictably, Af­ter Ef­fects, Maya and Nuke ranked among the most pop­u­lar pro­grams. “Very few peo­ple men­tioned real-time game engines like Unity or Unreal,” Garry con­tin­ues. “If you want to hire peo­ple who know these tools, you’ll have to re­cruit game de­vel­op­ers. This won’t be the case in the fu­ture, so more in­die pro­duc­tions can ac­tu­ally utilise these tools with se­tready ta­lent.”

END­LESS PO­TEN­TIAL

Pro­duc­tion stu­dio Flip­book is cur­rently de­vel­op­ing toolsets to make vir­tual pro­duc­tion more use­ful in their day-to-day work.

They hope that these toolsets will al­low a direc­tor, DOP or pro­ducer on set to be able to change the light­ing, cam­era an­gles, speed of travel and other el­e­ments of the back­ground in real time. “We want the same cre­ative di­rec­tion af­forded to a typ­i­cal set, but vir­tual,” ex­plains Ben Ha­worth, the stu­dio’s co-founder and cre­ative direc­tor. “The prob­lem is vir­tual pro­duc­tion isn’t as sim­ple as it may seem, there’s a steep learn­ing curve that needs the right ex­per­tise. A truly user-friendly in­ter­face that makes it ac­ces­si­ble, makes it us­able, will change ev­ery­thing and speed up adop­tion.”

Flip­book is ide­ally placed to see vir­tual pro­duc­tion chang­ing the way cre­atives think of post­pro­duc­tion and on-set pro­duc­tion. “It opens up the CGI side of things to di­rec­tors and pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for more cre­ative in­put into the con­tent. Di­rec­tors will be able to use tools they un­der­stand,” adds Ha­worth. The COVID-19 pan­demic has re­sulted in travel re­stric­tions across the globe, in turn lead­ing to less lo­ca­tion shoots for film and tele­vi­sion. “With vir­tual pro­duc­tion, you can send a cam­era crew out to a lo­ca­tion to film and then dis­play it on an LED in­stead,” Ha­worth con­tin­ues. “But one of the big­gest long-term ben­e­fits is the re­duc­tion in cost. The cost of send­ing a small crew to a lo­ca­tion is so much less for what is po­ten­tially the same ef­fect, there’s so much less equip­ment needed.

“WE WANT THE SAME CRE­ATIVE DI­REC­TION AF­FORDED TO A TYP­I­CAL SET, BUT VIR­TUAL” Ben Ha­worth, co-founder and cre­ative direc­tor, Flip­book

We also have to think about the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits less travel pro­vides too, some­thing that all pro­duc­tions will need to fac­tor in as we move for­ward.”

For com­pos­i­tors, vir­tual pro­duc­tion tech­niques can cut down weeks of time in post­pro­duc­tion that would usu­ally be spent on the in­tri­ca­cies of green screen com­posit­ing, be­cause ev­ery­thing is al­ready in-cam­era. “The im­pact for on-set di­rec­tion will be the most dis­rup­tive change to the cre­ative side of things. CG will now di­rectly im­pact the way things are shot at the time of film­ing, al­ter­ing cre­ative de­ci­sions dur­ing the early stages of pro­duc­tion,” says Ha­worth.

“The chal­lenge for any direc­tor is be­ing able to ac­quire a full un­der­stand­ing of the UE4 en­gine and learn how to get hands-on. A lack of tech­ni­cal knowl­edge is truly one of the big­gest bar­ri­ers, and once again, it’s why we’re try­ing to over­come it with an en­hanced toolset,” he con­tin­ues. “We want cre­atives to achieve what they want with­out hav­ing to spend hours on set al­ter­ing the back­grounds. It’s not as easy as it looks, despite it of­ten be­ing sold as such.”

Ha­worth also an­tic­i­pates the con­tin­ued ex­pan­sion of vir­tual pro­duc­tion’s use. “Unreal 5 is due out pretty soon and that will change things mas­sively,” he says. “Graph­ics cards are im­prov­ing rapidly too. The price of this tech­nol­ogy will start to de­crease and vir­tual pro­duc­tion will take off, par­tic­u­larly in live events. But even­tu­ally, I think it will seep down into all el­e­ments of pro­duc­tion be­cause it has the po­ten­tial to en­hance any work­flow.”

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 ??  ?? Be­low: Be­hind-thescenes shots from Flip­book’s work on the CBBC fan­tasy chil­dren’s se­ries The Worst Witch
Be­low: Be­hind-thescenes shots from Flip­book’s work on the CBBC fan­tasy chil­dren’s se­ries The Worst Witch
 ??  ?? Flip­book Stu­dio is a col­lec­tive of di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers, de­sign­ers, writ­ers and artists work­ing with an­i­ma­tion and VFX
Flip­book Stu­dio is a col­lec­tive of di­rec­tors, pro­duc­ers, de­sign­ers, writ­ers and artists work­ing with an­i­ma­tion and VFX
 ??  ?? To find out more about Flip­book and their var­i­ous projects, visit flip­book­stu­dio. co.uk
To find out more about Flip­book and their var­i­ous projects, visit flip­book­stu­dio. co.uk
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