Now & Next Podcast S3E3 – Virtual Production Techniques for Film & TV: Sky Is the Limit

On this episode of Now & Next, host Leora Kornfeld sits down with Alberta-based producer Andrew Scholotiuk and director Dylan Pearce to discuss virtual production techniques. The pair has been working on the merging of the physical and digital worlds for years and share their advice and experience as interconnectedness and collaboration are increasingly hot commodities in the film industry.

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Pushing boundaries: virtual production moves closer to mainstream

Special effects that create computer-generated characters and backgrounds are found everyday in the gaming world and they have been standard fare in higher end Hollywood productions for years. But now, using a combination of more affordable technologies and open source real time 3D game engines as a foundation, these techniques are starting to move closer to mainstream film production. As the film and TV world meets the game world with the help of networked laptops, the possibilities in terms of creation become endless.

Our guests, producer Andrew Scholotiuk and director Dylan Pearce have a sizable portfolio of feature films, TV shows, and games to their credit, including a Lumiere Award for advancements and innovation in digital filmmaking. They are currently developing a new virtual production pipeline at Beamdog, a game company in Edmonton. 

According to Andrew, it’s not just the technologies involved in virtual production, but the completely new ways of approaching the work that are exciting. 

“It’s going to allow for new partnerships, new ways of working either within a region or to connect and produce and create without boundary. This isn't just about transposing what we did in the past into this new technology, but what can we do with this new technology that we've never done before.” 

And while there are always costs and learning curves associated with new technologies, Dylan points out there is an indie way to approach virtual production, using green screens, game engines, inexpensive tracker systems, and even iPhones to obtain superior quality content that used to only be feasible with big studio budgets.

In this episode, learn more about: 

  • The role video game engines play in virtual production (01:15)
  • Andrew and Dylan’s current system for virtual production and how it works (03:24)
  • To what extent virtual production can help with rising costs under COVID-19 restrictions (09:25)
  • Indie ways to get into virtual production (12:24)
  • The skills needed to get into virtual production (18:10)

Download a transcript of the episode

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Special thanks to Now & Next’s production assistant Sabrina Brathwaite for interviewing Athomas Goldberg, Executive director at Shocap Entertainment, a B.C. based company that produces live cross-reality entertainment using real-time visual effects technology and on-stage human performance.  

About Now & Next

Now & Next is a podcast featuring in-depth interviews in which experts take a closer look at emerging trends and the digital transformation of the media and entertainment industries. Now & Next is brought to you by the Canada Media Fund, produced by Katie Jensen and recorded in Toronto at Vocal Fry Studios. Leora Kornfeld hosts the series.