Experts at Xposure 2024 showcase next era of technical screen marvels on how we make, see films

0
161

SHARJAH, 3rd March, 2024 (WAM) — This weekend, the Xposure International Photography Festival hosted an exciting panel discussion themed “The Unreal Future of Film”, where leading film industry figures delved into the realm of virtual production, Extended Reality (XR), and the innovative Unreal Engine, the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.

The session offered a unique glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies shaping the future of storytelling and content creation. The filmmakers and industry executives on the panel, each with a wealth of experience and insights, included Olivier Geyhsen, a filmmaker and XR artist known for his pioneering work integrating technology into storytelling; Siraj Jhaveri, a director with over three decades of experience, known for his dynamic visual style; Bartosz Jankowski, an experienced producer and screenwriter specialising in audiovisual event production and Virtual Production technology; and Bora Batur, a production designer with nearly two decades of experience in visual storytelling and set design.

The session kicked off with an exploration of virtual production, with Jhaveri providing insights into merging the physical and digital worlds. Discussing the process, he highlighted the ability to create immersive environments where the physical meets the digital seamlessly. “Virtual elements are added to existing footage, allowing for changes in not only specific objects, but settings, backgrounds and locations,” Jhaveri said.

Geyhsen highlighted the opportunities presented by virtual production, letting filmmakers transport audiences to previously unimaginable worlds. “Virtual production enables ‘shooting’ in locations that don’t exist in real life. Places that are difficult to access can be reconstructed in 3D. This opens possibilities for ‘shooting’ in multiple venues within a short timeframe,” he said.

Jankowski shed light on the technical aspects of virtual production, particularly the importance of meticulous planning and efficient execution. Virtual production can be cost-effective but needs thorough pre-production, he said. “Pre-production is crucial in determining the feasibility of shooting in virtual production. While it is possible to shoot most things using VP, the level of pre-production planning varies depending on the project’s requirements,” he noted.

Batur highlighted how virtual production is redefining the traditional filmmaking pipeline. The art department must be involved early in the process – rather than at the post-production stage – to ensure seamless integration between the physical and virtual elements. “Decisions that used to be made at the end of production are now happening earlier, requiring changes in workflow and personnel. Seamless collaboration between departments is crucial for success,” Batur said.

Jhaveri pointed out that “many shots involve computer-generated (CG) elements, requiring extensive pre-production to ensure everything runs smoothly during the shoot. This additional pre-production time is essential for successful virtual production. There is also a latency period as new technologies emerge, so we are playing a catch-up game here – as soon as we have one technology we are using on stage, there is another one being released.”

All four filmmakers agreed on collaboration and communication in virtual production, particularly the need for a standardised pre-visualisation process and the growing potential of AI technology in streamlining production workflows. “AI could become a standard tool in virtual production workflows, streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency,” Jankowski said.

But despite technological advancements, storytelling remains the focus, Batur pointed out.