TVB Europe 89 April / May 2022

Page 46


AN INSIGHT INTO VIRTUAL PRODUCTION As virtual production becomes more prevalent in the media and entertainment industry, a group of experts have launched a database of common vocabulary


Caryn Ruby (top) and Noah Kadner

aunched in January, the Virtual Production Glossary aims to be a dynamic, industry-propelled effort that establishes common vocabulary across professionals working with the technology. It has been created by the Visual Effects Society (VES), the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), and a number of industry experts, with support from Epic Games and Netflix. According to Noah Kadner, one of the contributors/ co-curators of the Glossary, the original founders wanted to develop a central reference to help filmmakers understand the new processes and take full advantage of the opportunities. “We also hope to alleviate concerns and help producers realise the benefits of pivoting to virtual production via education and shared experiences,” he says. “In short, we aim to support the uptake of virtual production and address any misconceptions regarding its potential.” This is a view shared by Caryn Ruby, an independent script supervisor who has been active on the Glossary’s website since launch. “Working on different sets with different crews all the time, it gets confusing when people use different terms for the same thing; especially for those of us that don’t have a technological background,” she states. “The more we all speak the same language, the more effectively we can work together.” She adds, “In my job as the script supervisor, I interact with all the department heads and often need to answer questions related to various aspects of continuity. If it comes up that there is a question or a problem with a digital asset or something else tech-related, I need to be able to understand what the issue is and how it is being resolved in order to communicate with the other departments. “If I can’t effectively communicate a concern to the director, DP or VFX supervisor, it can waste valuable time on set – and worst-case scenario, hamper my ability to catch continuity errors before we roll – which costs everyone time and the production money.” The Glossary will be constantly updated as virtual production continues to evolve. The curators are looking for terms that are professionally used in virtual production or have historical significance for milestone projects. “To


help prioritise new terms, we ask for citation examples of professional use wherever possible,” explains Kadner. “If we reject a term, it’s typically out of scope related to virtual production, or it may be a term where we feel the relevant guild or professional association would be more appropriate to define it. We also aim to keep our terms as concise as possible to avoid information overload and get people to a common point of comprehension as efficiently as possible. “Filmmaking is a collaborative medium, and we want to reflect that in our openness to new ideas and concepts,” he adds. “We offer a variety of methods for interested individuals to submit new terms or suggest updates to existing ones. You can click on the submission link on any page on the website, or you can visit our Discord server and engage fellow interested parties to discuss possible new terms. Also, virtual production is evolving at an incredible rate. So new experiences are very relevant.” The Glossary’s creators say they believe virtual production has unlimited potential, and all of the technological and workflow breakthroughs that have already been achieved will continue to accelerate more and more rapidly. “What might be impossible today will be standard practice tomorrow; that’s how quickly things evolve,” states Kadner. “Interest in the Virtual Production Glossary ranges from a vast cross-section of veterans who recognise its transformative potential to newcomers enthralled by the potential they envision. We want to support all of these perspectives with this initiative. “Virtual production has already been in use for drama productions since almost the dawn of computer-generated imagery,” he conntinues. “It was used on projects like The Matrix, The Polar Express, Avatar, Gravity, Rogue One, The Mandalorian, and many more. We find it’s not so much a question of whether virtual production is in general use; it’s how many people are aware of it. The results are so wellintegrated and magically invisible that people don’t realise the technique’s prevalence.” n The Virtual Production Glossary can be found at