Setting the tone for in-depth discussion on virtual production, International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) conducted their Annual Conference, IBC Show 2021-22. The online panel discussion was hosted by the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) on ‘Exploring the Rules of the Road for Virtual Production’.
The panel included the members of SMPTE’s Rapid Industry Solutions On Set Virtual Production Initiative namely Whistling Woods International (WWI) VP and CTO, Chaitanya Chinchlikar, EBU technology and innovation Paola Sunna, EBU technology and production directorate Stephan Heimbecher and VRT Innovative project leader Gregg Young.
The interactive session discussed the emerging filmmaking workflow of virtual production, and its technical and creative aspects. All new workflows lead content creation teams to paths filled with unexpected technical traffic jams, which need content creators to learn new things. The panel was an initiative to provide guidance and insights on the same.
Elaborating on the crucial aspect of how rapidly virtual production is expected to get into wide-scale adoption, Chinchlikar said, “Education is the key. Virtual production allows one to do things faster, cheaper, and more efficiently than before. It also enables one to ideate content creation in a way, that one was not able to do before. The faster we are able to roll out structured education which can enable content creators to do both, the faster we see Virtual Production become ubiquitous in the industry.”
Talking about the roles of virtual production studio executive and virtual production technical supervisor, among others, he spoke about some of the new skillsets that are needed to be learnt to execute these roles in a Virtual Production pipeline. He also emphasized the judicial use of Virtual Production and insisted that there is a role that VP fulfils in the filmmaking pipeline and should be used only when required and not just because it’s available.
Elaborating on the various types of virtual production and how WWI is building out the educational matrix for the same, he spoke about Full CG Virtual Production, On-Set Virtual Production, and In-Camera VFX, each of which have unique workflows/tech pipelines and fulfil specific use-cases.
Towards the end of the session, the discussion also included some conversation about the Metaverse. Chinchlikar spoke of the technological developments of the past decades which have immersed the viewer more and more into the content they consume and how the metaverse was the next step in that journey. He warned though that the success of the metaverse would depend on how much it is able to engage the viewer as the immersive-ness of the experience will wear off eventually. The session was concluded by highlighting the need to constantly create engaging content in the new tech world.