India’s 1st Virtual Production Pop-up Lab demonstrates the ecosystem

Riding on the wave of virtual production, Cineom, Centroid Motion Capture India, Green Rain, Liminal & Famous Studios had joined forces last year during the months of September and October. The results of that collaborative experiment were released recently, demonstrating the scope of virtual production.

With filming at physical locations being the biggest hiccup these days, the spell of virtual production seems to be enveloping the entire motion picture industry.

Virtual Production is an umbrella term which involves a host of elements. If we had to name the newest trend which everyone is buzzing about, it is Virtual Production with LED wall, wherein one has the opportunity to do in-camera VFX , previz and more.

The filming process at Famous Studios

Speaking about what they’re set to bring to the table, they shared, “We are moving one step ahead by doing an amalgamation of all the virtual production technologies together such as motion capture, real-time 3D compositing, VR, AR and real-time Pre-viz.”

The main purpose behind this collaboration, they inform, is to solve all the missing links in the workflow and get the pipeline right so that the rest of folks in the industry can start using it and leverage upon it.

The team at work

Explaining the utility of the variables involved in enabling this technique, Centroid India Director Parth Shah shared, “The intention is to set up an LED wall studio with up to 4K resolution display and set the workflow pipelines right for the media & entertainment industry. We will be setting LED walls of the highest quality (this is the most premium model of LED walls and would be the first setup in India of such high quality). We will be using these LED walls to produce the final pixel content so the need for post-production and outdoor shoots reduce.”

With the aid of Zero Density, Cineom offers range of custom solutions for real-time 3D compositing, keying, tracking, and delivering final pixels for projects based out of India and the Middle East. Depending upon production needs, each system includes a customised set of gears which are tested to the finest accuracy at Cineom Headquarters in Mumbai.

In-camera visual effects on display

Priyan Parab, assistant manager, business development, Cineom said: “We realised that while virtual production is built on four core pillars – hardware, software, graphics and operations – there aren’t established workflows. So we worked to bridge these pieces for clients with a one-stop solution that could be trusted. . Our team chose to integrate the best pieces of technology into the systems to ensure the utmost reliability for clients. We have used some of the best equipment’s from brands like ARRI, Zero Density, Stype, Nvidia , AJA and rest which are also premium partners of Cineom.

On being asked as to what spurred on his move, Parab also said, “We pride ourselves on delivering innovative technology solutions for companies in India and the Middle East, and anticipating the potential of real-time virtual production, we began our R&D around the technology nearly two years ago. Having seen and heard a lot about Mandalorian Setup, a lot of folks in the industry were asking us to provide them solutions with LED wall Virtual Production. That’s when this thought of setting up this pipeline and showing the Indian audience that the same can be very much achieved in India came to my mind. However it was important for me to find the right people to collaborate with and I was lucky enough to have on board all the partners. Nearly after two months of planning and spending sleepless nights working on the tech pipelines we were able to set up this lab in collaboration with all our partners and successfully test and deliver the outputs.”

He also expressed gratitude for their partner Xtreme Media for providing the LED wall which played a key role in this experiment.

Marking the first ever experiment in India featuring the superior tracking technology (Stype) with this setup, they tried to achieve an integration of motion capture and zero density integration to add in the foreground elements in the camera feed which is coming from the LED walls. They also integrated real-time keying and compositing using LEDs as a green backdrop.

Virtual production’s ripples are being felt in India day after day with game engines playing the biggest role. Filmmakers, are you listening?