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The end of 'tight and wide'?

Jay Rose

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YouTube has a fascinating piece about a new virtual set technology demoed at Siggraf. Actors work in front of a high res, large LCD like an old-fashioned rear projection... 


But instead of projecting a pre-shot still or moving plate, the system renders in real time... with real perspective, based on the lens and camera position! Move the camera, and elements on the plate shuffle around with it to keep the background realistic from the camera's POV. Meanwhile, the actors get more of a sense of working in an environment, rather than against a screen.


On top of that, the director can sit at a laptop with virtual viewfinders, exploring the look of any kind of lens from anywhere in the shooting area. And the art director can move individual elements, such as shifting a car to the other side of the street if it looks better...


As I understand it - and I'm not a vfx guy - the system can respond to only one camera position at a time. (Shades of the "tech snafu" pinch in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.) So the director can't use two cameras. And, hopefully, you can get a boom in there.


Prediction: this will get cheaper, stop being a 'special effect', and because of lower cost will replace a lot of location work. Other prediction: they'll come up with some way to code multiple images for two or three cameras - maybe using polarization - and we'll be back where we started with tight and wide.

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If I had a vote (which I do not) I would rather have tight and wide multicam+wires in a real location with actual cameras than an all-virtual world where any shot is instantly possible.  If this comes to be a normal thing I guess there will be a new school of acting to work with it, if they even end up using human actors at all.  But then....what are we doing, and why are we doing it?

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55 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

what are we doing, and why are we doing it?


We are generating commercial story-telling to keep an audience entertained so they either pay cash or pay attention to commercials. Some of us, above and below the line, manage to do some art at the same time. But that's not what brings in the bucks, either to pay for location shoots (or vfx), or to buy us new gear.


From a post POV, I just hope they treat the LCD-equipped studios acoustically so you can boom and get a sense of perspective. Otherwise, I'd argue that lavs in a controlled studio need a lot less fixing than lavs in a randomly scouted location.

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Yes, Crew. I got to see this first hand, shooting some BTS and related thing there. I can't talk about any details, of course due to NDA.

But I can say this; it's pretty amazing, and looks real.

It does, however, have some aspects of it that are not exactly ideal for sound. You can use your imagination... For example, a lot of it will not sound like what it looks like. The mixer had to use some things to counter this. I think she did a great job, and successfully made it work.


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