Bron launches virtual production division, Bron Digital utilising Unreal as virtual volume

Vancouver-based, Bron Media Corp. of Greyhound fame, has launched a new virtual production division, Bron Digital, that will join its traditional CG-animation with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine-centered workflow. 

Visual Effects industry veteran Jason Chen (Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens) has been roped in to head the Bron Digital.

The company’s first project will be an animated series, Fables, based on the timeless teachings of Aesop’s Fables, but with a modern take and spin. The eight-episode series is created by Kevin Turen, directed by Azazel Jacobs, and produced by Oscar nominee Ra Vincent (Jojo Rabbit). Three additional original animated series and digital film productions are also scheduled to begin this summer for Bron Digital.

Jason Chen

As the pandemic has stalled live-action production including Bron’s the company diversified its animation business. Bron Media Corp received additional revenue to launch the new virtual production division from its financial partner, Creative Wealth Media for the digital venture.

Commenting on Bron Digital and shifting to animation, Bron CEO Aaron L. Gilbert said, “We needed to shift as animation was the only area of Bron capable of being in production during this pandemic as our production team is set up remotely. We feel fortunate to be working through the logistics of scaling this area of our company during these difficult times.” Bron Media Corp.’s most recent animated feature is the Netflix co-production, The Willoughbys.

‘The Willoughbys’

Virtual production, meanwhile, has seen a significant rise during the pandemic, and Unreal with its real-time engine for virtual location scouting and world building, has been keeping work going. It also partnered with Industrial Light & Magic on its StageCraft platform for Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian. The company will be releasing Unreal Engine 5 next year with the fully dynamic global illumination solution called Lumen, which will possibly achieve even greater photorealism.

“With an increasing demand for quality content, virtual production workflows powered by Unreal are helping companies like Bron Media Corp. to meet these demands while delivering the quality that they are known for,” noted Unreal Engine Film & Television head of business development Miles Perkins.

Chen further told IndieWire, “At this point, we are focusing more on stylised motion capture (mo-cap) based content. We are using a similar multi-user virtual production workflow that was used on The Lion King. However, we are doing all our scouting, and virtual cameras remotely with teams across the globe, using Unreal as our virtual volume.”