Weta Digital partners with Streamliner and Avalon Studios to create a new LED-stage virtual production service in New Zealand

Weta Digital has announced a collaboration with Streamliner and Avalon Studios for a new LED-stage virtual production service, based in Wellington, New Zealand.  

The service is to bring together live stage expertise and expert screen production capability to offer a new production methodology. The recent growth in real-time visual effects capabilities along with the health and safety benefits of working in New Zealand prompted the three elite players to put together a ready-to-use package for productions of all sizes.

Speaking on the initiative, Weta Digital executive producer David Conley stated, “Adding LED stage capabilities to Wellington’s Avalon Studios adds yet another compelling reason for productions to consider shooting in New Zealand. LED stages are the latest technique to take advantage of game engine technology to provide virtual production workflows that can greatly expand what is possible on set. Being able to shoot final VFX imagery at the same time as principal photography adds another level of creative control for producers and filmmakers.”

The new workflow features large easily configurable LED panels that are able to display imagery well beyond 8K as a way to augment practical sets and often replace green-screen shots for backgrounds and exteriors.  It also lends itself to easily combining footage from multiple stages, making it ideal for keeping crew sizes smaller.

“We’re all focused on providing the safest work environment possible as productions look to ramp back up. This new setup allows producers to think very strategically about what they shoot and limit the number of actors and onset crew required – changing post production requirements.  Avalon has four main stages of varying sizes and dedicated spaces to house additional departments, making it a perfect hub for local and international productions,” added Avalon Studios CEO Gary Watkins.

The LED stage service is highly flexible and is built to scale for any size project.  The services are applicable as qualified spend for International and local screen funding schemes. 

Streamliner general manager Richard Manu further noted, “Our crew combines decades of live event experience with an in-depth knowledge of high-end video systems and we’re well adept working on high profile, time critical projects. Although we were early adopters in LED screen technology, having that alone just isn’t enough. We have the established infrastructure to make this a plug and play pipeline rather than a science experiment. Our investment in several LED screen types; large format laser projection and world leading media server platforms will give productions confidence we have it all covered.”