SXSW 2023 Trends & Takeaways

7 min read 22.03.2023 News

CUBE Studio CEO and Co-Founder, James Hakesley, touched down in Austin, Texas earlier this month for the SXSW 2023 Conference and Festivals.

Welcoming us with more topics than ever before, we geared up for a week exploring everything from film, technology and virtual production to AI, VR and the metaverse.

Our key highlights from this year’s show include virtual production tracks with innovators from across the industry and keynotes discussing the future of artificial intelligence - not forgetting SXSW's legendary film and music festivals!

CUBE Studio SXSW 2023
CUBE Studio SXSW 2023


It was brilliant to see virtual production high on the agenda years on from the Mandalorian breakthrough, as directors, producers and studios gathered to discuss how this technology is pushing boundaries across not only film and TV, but advertising too.

Whilst at SXSW, NantStudios announced their groundbreaking virtual production stages in Melbourne, Australia - becoming the world’s largest LED volume. It's clear that virtual production is growing as a popular tool for productions to work within controlled, hard to reach and out of this world environments.

Sustainability featured as a clear theme throughout the show, as we discussed the power of virtual production in minimising crew expenses, travel time and carbon footprint, and how this tech is now prompting production teams to rethink their approach and activity.

Our CEO, James, enjoyed a trip out to connect with Austin-based virtual production studio, Stray Vista Studios - also part of ’s global studio network. It was great to spend some time with Owner, Nate, touring their impressive set-up and viewing their J-shaped volume and ceiling.

CUBE Studio SXSW 2023


Disrupting the industry and undoubtedly becoming the buzzword across this year’s SXSW tracks, it’s clear to see that AI is here to stay.

It was great to see creators, writers and producers discussing how this technology can empower production processes, with a standout from this year’s show being OpenAI’s Co-Founder and President, Greg Brockman, talking to Laurie Segal of Dot Dot Dot Media about this new era of innovation.

Greg discussed how AI can be considered to improve ideas, services and user experience and what it means to be a human in a world of artificial intelligence, with Segal’s initial questions for the session written using creative tool, ChatGPT.

It certainly looks to be a powerful tool to get ideas off the ground, to shortcut learning in development, assisting in diagnosis, and for saving hours of time with admin tasks.

CUBE Studio SXSW 2023
CUBE Studio SXSW 2023


The SXSW Film and TV Festival rolled out the red carpet with a host of world premieres, keynotes and meet-ups.

Highlights included opening night film, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot and Jake Johnson’s Self Reliance, as well as just some of our favourites, Cora Bora, Late Night, The Devil, Apple + Tetris and American Born Chinese.

It was great to see a selection of films and shorts utilising virtual production, including Molli and Max in the Future; a sci-fi romantic comedy which uses a combination of visual effects and cutting edge technology to create a universe like no other.

CUBE Studio SXSW 2023
CUBE Studio SXSW 2023


Raising the volume, this year’s SXSW Music Festival was a showcase of new, developing and established artists across all genres, from local to international acts.

With showcases curated by SXSW in collaboration with record labels, management, festivals and more, we were treated to a diverse lineup - from legendary performers to the most exciting new talent.

Our highlight had to be Max Cooper’s immersive DJ set at the BME (British Music Embassy). Max engaged his audience in an electronic music and immersive audio-visual experience, using digital media and projection techniques.

CUBE Studio SXSW 2023
CUBE Studio SXSW 2023

A great opportunity to learn, discover and explore, we left SXSW 2023 feeling inspired, connected and already looking forward to next year's show.