Virtual Production: The next big thing

6 min read 23.02.2023 Thought leadership

It’s no secret that video has been one of the breakout trends in the marketing world over the past decade. But one of the biggest challenges for any brand is keeping audiences engaged.

With so much content fighting for our attention, it can be difficult to keep up. Brands, big and small, are searching for new and innovative ways to tell their stories, efficiently and cost effectively.

We’re now seeing virtual production increasingly used, not just in TV, film and gaming, but in content marketing too.

Fast growing in momentum, virtual production is allowing brands to seamlessly blend live-action footage with computer graphics, in real time.

Unlocking a new world of opportunity, brands can collaborate and create entire campaigns in pre-production and make changes on the fly!

The future of content marketing

While virtual production isn’t brand new, developments in technology are accelerating its growth, both on the big screen and in marketing campaigns.

With content marketing typically combining entertainment with advertising, for generations brands have been looking to TV and film for inspiration.

Delivering Hollywood quality storytelling without the blockbuster spend, virtual production allows brands to unlock their creative vision, build unique and interactive environments, and shoot everything in one studio.

Virtual Production

So, what is virtual production?

Put simply, virtual production is where the physical world meets the virtual.

It’s a technology which allows brands to blend live footage with computer graphics, in real time. The scenes that we see on our screens that can’t be filmed in the real world are mostly a creation of visual effects… If you’ve watched The Mandalorian, you’ll have seen this tech in action!

Virtual production uses a combination of technologies, from virtual and augmented reality to CGI.

Now, these virtual sets are being used by brands to level up their content marketing strategy and shoot everything from live experiences to video ad campaigns.

Virtual Production

How does it work?

The first step is to create a virtual environment in pre-production, using something called a ‘game engine’; a software that uses a blend of immersive technologies to create a digital environment which behaves like a real environment.

It’s called a game engine as it’s the same software that game developers use to build video games. And just like a video game, your virtual world can feature animated backgrounds, buildings and characters of your wildest imagination.

Next, your actors, influencers or brand ambassadors perform in front of a background of LED screens, otherwise known as an LED volume.

Allowing you to see the full scene in front of you, the entire crew can make in-the-moment adjustments to the production, changing locations or lighting in just a few clicks; typically leading to fewer edits in post-production.

This makes content creation faster, more efficient and often cheaper!

Virtual Production

Is virtual production the next big thing?

The opportunities for video are huge, and with clear advantages for brands, it’s hardly surprising that virtual production is taking off far quicker than expected.

Reducing costs associated with transport, logistics and props that are often required when shooting video campaigns, brands can deliver high quality production in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

Creatives no longer need to jet off to a particular location to capture *that* scene. They can compose it digitally, without leaving the studio!

And providing a more realistic and stimulating experience for actors, fully immersing them within the digital environment, they no longer need to imagine the world they are acting in - the very feature that brought Sir Ian McKellen to tears on the set of The Hobbit.

Images: Diamond View Studios, Gum Studios