July 25, 2019

The Virtual Production Field Guide: a new resource for filmmakers

By Miles Perkins

On the Virtual Production hub, Epic Games has been keeping you up to date with some of the latest and most creative advancements in virtual production. As part of our continuing effort to make virtual production (VP) accessible to all, we’ve just published The Virtual Production Field Guide, a downloadable PDF intended as a foundational information document for anyone either interested in VP or already leveraging these techniques in production. 

Virtual production is a broad term for a wide range of computer-aided filmmaking methods that are intended to enhance creativity and save time. The use of real-time tools can turn the traditional linear pipeline into a parallel process where the lines between pre-production, production, and post-production are blurred, making the entire pipeline more fluid and collaborative. 
Virtual production workflows can be faster, more creative, more iterative, and more collaborative, giving a better sense of the final shots and scenes much earlier in the production process. With a virtual set built ahead of time, a director and department heads can scout locations in VR, explore shots, and lay out exact camera angles and moves. Instead of green screen, LED walls allow for in-camera effects, where sets can be changed in real time while providing more accurate real-world lighting and ultimately informing performances. These are just a few of the ways filmmakers are using real-time technology to be more creative in the moment, having ultimate creative control over the story they are telling.

The Virtual Production Field Guide explores these techniques, and many more. You’ll gain a basic understanding of how VP works, discover details of projects which have already used it, and develop an understanding of how the latest workflows introduce an element of creative spontaneity that is sometimes missing in modern filmmaking. 
The guide also outlines how each film department can leverage VP workflows, and how those with experience in traditional methodologies can transfer their knowledge to this new creative sandbox. Lastly, we feature interviews with a number of film professionals who discuss how they’ve used virtual production workflows, including director/actor Sir Kenneth Branagh, Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Ben Grossman, and cinematographer Bill Pope, ASC.
The Virtual Production Field Guide is free to download and share. Get your copy today and find inspiration for your own projects, then visit our Virtual Production hub for more case studies, podcasts, and insights.