What I think about virtual production – the cons

In my last article I covered the pros of virtual production. In case you missed it, here’s a quick outline of what virtual production is.

Virtual production is changing film making in a big way. Using Unreal Engine (a super realistic video game engine), it creates CGI backgrounds and projects them on a huge screen. These backgrounds can be manipulated in real time.

Basically, virtual production is making it so film crews don’t have to fly all over the world to shoot, saving them money and time, and reducing the carbon impact of their project.

In this blog, I’ll outline the cons of virtual production.

It should be said. I know very little about virtual production, film making, set design, and really I know very little about this technology in general. If you’re looking to learn a lot about virtual production, look elsewhere. If you’re looking specifically for the thoughts of an out-of-work advertising creative, you’re in exactly the right place.

In fact, you’re probably in the only right place.

The cons

1 – Flying around the world is cool asf

I’m an out-of-work creative, by which I mean, I’m a student at an advertising school who hasn’t got a placement lined up yet. Realistically it could be a few years before I shoot anything major that requires international travel. Those email headers aren’t gonna write themselves.

As a result, there’s a good chance most agencies will be working with virtual production a lot more in the future, due to the reasons outlined in my last article.

This means I probably won’t get to fly around the world shooting and getting a tan. I’ll be in the virtual production sets in London, which is still cool, but it’s not Barbados.

For entirely selfish reasons, this is a massive con of virtual production.

2 – Location scouts are screwed

Being a location scout is probably one of the coolest jobs in the world. I guess the positive thing is that making worlds on a computer is also one of the coolest jobs in the world, and now these folk are going to be unscrewed. Neither a pro nor a con I guess.

3 – Learning curve

People have been flying around the world with film crews for forever. They’re really good at it. With such a significant change in process, there’s going to be a massive learning curve. This could mean a change in who the major players are in production.

4 – Different magic

Isn’t there something magical about sitting out in a desert with a director and a cameraman and actors and umbrellas and runners and grips and location managers and producers all working to make something amazing.

This magic will die.

In it’s place, there’s a new magic. People on computers designing sets.

The thing is, this is still really fucking cool, it’s just different. The magic isn’t gone, it’s just changing.

Again, you could argue this isn’t a con, it’s a matter of preference, but I’m writing this blog and I’m choosing to include it.

Really, you can make your own mind up as to whether virtual production is a good or bad thing.

I’m on the side of good, even though I want to see the world.

Thanks for reading.



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