Virtual Production was spotlighted due to the restrictions imposed on the media and entertainment industry by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It allowed for the continuation of personal shoots and productions in Hollywood and around the world, combining remote setups with advanced virtual worlds and effects.
Virtual production technically refers to a spectrum of computer-aided production and visualization methods for films. The technology has been applied to many TV and movie hits, including ‘Game of Thrones’† ‘The Mandalorian’and the critically acclaimed Netflix series Sweet Home† It is also becoming an increasing part of presentations in various sectors including news media, design and simulation and training.
US-based interactive entertainment company Epic Games is at the forefront of developing and delivering 3D engine technology.
Epic Games’ Unreal Engine is a complete suite of high-quality development tools for anyone who wants to leverage real-time technology solutions. It has been adopted by more than 11 million users worldwide and is available to all developers for free to start with.
Connected To India spoke with Dean Reinhard, Technical Account Manager, Epic Games, to learn more about the rapidly growing technology, its future potential and the direction in which it is expanding.
“We are excited to see the new industry innovations that will emerge. However, for this to happen, we need to create an ecosystem where everyone has the opportunity to be a creator,” Dean told Connected to India.
Epic Games has launched several support initiatives such as the Unreal Fellowship and the Women Creators Program to nurture creative talent and empower the next generation of professionals.
During the 2021 edition of the Women Creators Program, 20 budding female artists from India received one-on-one mentoring and virtual workshops. The 2022 edition aims to scale up inspiring and powerful creators to bring their ideas to life.
Check out more clips from the interaction with Dean below:
Connected to India (C to I): What are the benefits virtual content space has brought to businesses during Covid times?
Dean Reinhard: COVID has accelerated the development of the virtual content space as the crisis has pushed creators to accelerate technology adoption, minimize work interruptions and ensure their content remains available to consumers. Within the media and entertainment sector, the adoption of real-time technology has paved the way for digital innovation and transformation in a largely conventional industry that typically relies on manual, in-person recording and old-fashioned methods and processes.
What real-time software provides is an opportunity for users to simulate and interact with virtual environments. Industries can now rethink how they collaborate for design and content creation, and how to communicate their vision to the masses. So there is a huge opportunity for companies to take advantage of these opportunities, which could significantly accelerate the development of new virtual content for sectors such as automotive, architecture, media and entertainment, and even advertising and marketing.
C to I: What does this mean? How are game engines being used to revolutionize workflows across the industry?
Dean Reinhard: Today’s game engines allow people to come together to build detailed digital replicas of the real world. For example, the Unreal Engine has shown great promise in transforming other industries such as: space travel† training and simulationalso.
This collaborative spirit has always been at the heart of the game industry, but other sectors, including media and entertainment, are also increasingly leveraging game engines to revolutionize traditional silo workflows. Virtual production is an example of this.
This is where the physical and digital worlds meet – a combination of virtual and augmented reality with computer graphics and game engine technologies. It also removes the barriers between live production and visual effects so that both can take place at the same time. It is also seeing rapid adoption among professionals for the way it enables faster, streamlined production workflows, in-camera visual effects and collaborative post-production processes, with significant time and cost savings for the film and media industries.
C to I: Are the digital tools available to content creators to use in their editing suites or are they deployed in studios?
Dean Reinhard: Independent creators and studio developers are already leveraging the Unreal Engine to power innovative games around the world.
This is in line with Epic’s vision of putting creators first and lowering the barrier to entry for innovative content creation. We’ve promised to launch the engine – and all future updates – for free, in the hopes that this will empower and empower creators and developers. Epic only monetizes the engine at the point of project success; and we succeed only when the creator succeeds.
C to I: What is the extent of corporate use of Unreal Engine in creating impactful stories?
Dean Reinhard: Over the years, the engine has been widely used in other sectors such as architecture, automotive and manufacturing. Some of the ways it has been applied are:
- Architecture, construction: The Unreal Engine provides a complete suite of creation tools for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals to develop photorealistic images and real-time immersive architectural experiences. For example, industry-acclaimed Zaha Hadid Architects uses architectural visualization to take their concepts and designs from render to reality, with walkthroughs and project visualizations that help clients better understand what the final project will look like.
- Automotive: From design reviews to digital showroom, Unreal delivers high-fidelity real-time visualizations and immersive experiences, used by leading auto players, Audi, BMW and McLaren, to name a few.
- Training and Simulation — Medicine: Unreal has even been used in Precision OS, a surgical training platform that mimics Virtual Reality operating theaters and delivers an accredited curriculum for orthopedic surgical training.
C to I: In which sectors do you foresee the growth of Unreal Engine applications? You see them as ubiquitous as AE, AI and so on.
Dean Reinhard: As the use of real-time technology becomes more ubiquitous, we see that these skills are not only seen as essential in not only media and entertainment, but also in other sectors such as architecture and construction, civil engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, graphic design and interior design, in addition to game development.
In particular, we are seeing a rising demand for real-time and 3D rendering skills in the media and design industries, and even in fashion. This is expected to grow in other sectors as well, especially as more industries start to rethink the way they work, collaborate and create post-pandemic.