Why does Hollywood need computer gaming technology more than ever?

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Getty Images

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Kim Liberberry

Kim Liberere, an award-winning visual effect artist based in Northern California, has worked on films including “Artificial Intelligence” and “War of the Planet of the Apes.”

For nine years, Libereri has been using technology best known in the computer game world, especially the highly popular Fortnite game.

Engine Unreal, owned by Epic Games, provides the building blocks and tools that computer game developers need, but has become an increasingly attractive technology for film and television producers.

The latest version of this technology, Unreal Engine 5, is slated to launch next year.

The new release enables visual effects artists, such as Libereri, to convert graphics and photos directly into scenery, without requiring much preparation.

“In traditional filmmaking, the director and cinematographer can shoot a scene on the set, and at a later stage they hand over the design of special effects to a team of virtual reality artists and designers, who enhance the scenes on-site with visual effects in a separate production phase,” he says.

Through Unreal Engine, the director, cinematographer, production designer, and virtual reality teams can be collaborated simultaneously as an interactive process between the group.

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Epic Games

“Unreal Engine 5 promises to further liberate the artistic process by facilitating the creation of virtual worlds for film and television, and operating them on the gaming platform at the same time,” Libereri says.

Anthony Hunt is CEO of Cinesite Group, a multinational digital entertainment group whose work in the field of visual effects includes monumental films, such as: “Avengers: Endgame” and “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “The Man”. Iron Man 3.

Hunt recently used the Engine Unreal platform in a live demonstration, designed for a theme park. The show included chase scenes, violent clash of hands, and jumps that might lead to death.

“Everything happens right in front of you with live shows, interactive decor, and a huge LED screen, which makes it impossible to determine where the live show ends and where the screen starts,” Hunt said.

The film industry has always used the technology used to make computer games.

The film industry uses operations similar to those used to produce games, such as mapping 3D scenes through photography, and narrating stories through cartoons, and animation techniques.

But the challenges of film and television production, given the limitations of the general closure of the Corona epidemic, are likely to accelerate the use of gaming technology.

Game platforms, for example, offer high-efficiency scenes with large crowds.

“Food and clothing must be provided for crowds of secondary role actors on film,” Hunt says. “But now we can produce massive crowd scenes using computer technology, and we only have the main actors in the lead.”

One example is the scene of a huge crowd attending a concert in the movie “Rocketman”, a movie about the years of the emergence of the famous singer Elton John.

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PARAMOUNT PICTURES

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The scene of the massive concert in the movie “Rocketman”

In one of the film’s scenes, Elton John, whose character embodies actor Tarron Egerton, performs at a Dodger Stadium in front of a huge audience. However, the scene was portrayed by Egerton at Shepperton Studios, and the audience was a 3D design that was specially prepared to be part of a larger scene.

Computer-generated views can be combined with LED walls, which are giant screens consisting of smaller single screens.

“LED walls have become more popular in film and television production because they allow filmmakers to capture camera visual effects and deal with digital configurations in real-time for the scene,” Libereri says.

“LED panels, like the ones we saw in The Mandalorian series, which is produced by Disney (and belongs to the science fiction category and part of the Star Wars film family) will be of great benefit to production once the restrictions start, as filmmakers can reduce travel by creating wallpapers Digital simulates real locations anywhere. ”

“When the filming restrictions are lifted, filmmakers will have a clear plan on how to film their movie or TV series because they will have already done this on the computer,” Hunt says.

What will all this mean for actors, crew and support staff working in the industry?

“There is a possibility that the needs of the production crew may change somewhat,” said Daniel Green, director of the entertainment industry management program at Carnegie Mellon University.

Green says that when production returns to normal, the industry will need to unite and make changes to ensure that the safety of the crew and film workers is of the utmost importance.

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Disney / Lucasfilms

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Screenshot from The Mandalorian

Studio executives and producers will not make decisions based solely on technical vision and production costs.

“They will now enter into close consultation with public health officials to ensure that crews, actors and staff can have a safe and secure work environment,” Green said.

Green also notes that CGI computer-generated visual effects create fun, real worlds, but good storytelling is still the main thing.

“Using CGI and visual effects, as in the new version of” The Lion King, “can add a new dimension to what we see on screen, but ultimately the audience still wants to enjoy the story of its captivity,” Green says.

Travis Cloyd, chief technology officer at CMG Worldwide, a company that represents 1,700 celebrities, athletes, musicians, brands and historical figures, sees another use of gaming platforms.

According to Clwyd, a great business opportunity lies in “reviving” historical figures and famous personalities of the past, such as James Dean or Rosa Parks, via digital twins.

“These celebrities will have a lasting resonance with the masses, and new platforms amid the epidemic will provide new opportunities for use in a wide range of media outlets,” says Cloyd.

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Getty Images

Image caption

James Dean

Technology like Unreal Engine is likely to be used in this process.

Filmmaking is of course a business, so the hope is that new technology will save time and money.

“The tasks that will have to be accomplished on-site and in post-production will decrease, and the need to travel and photograph on the high-cost site will decrease,” Libereri says.

“Once people test this new way of working, they will find it more efficient and cost-effective,” Libereri added.

“We can confidently say that virtual production is here to stay.”



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