spain virtual technology studio

What will the movie industry look like after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Disney+’s The Mandalorian and its cutting-edge Stagecraft system, which uses a rear-projected LED screen to create a reactive environment, may give us a vision. And already foreign production studios are taking The Mandalorian up on that vision.

A new Spain-based virtual production facility, Orca Studios, is installing the LED volume technology inspired by the game-changing tech used by ILM on its Stagecraft system for The Mandalorian. And with coronavirus precautions limiting crew and overseas shoots, we can likely expect this technology to be used by many more production studios in the future.

Variety reports that top Spanish producer Adrian Guerra is opening Orca Studios, a new virtual production facility in Spain that will use LED volume technology inspired by the kind employed by ILM for its Stagecraft system used by The Mandalorian. ILM’s Stagecraft technology, whose rear-projected LED screen essentially works as an immersive real-time green screen, has been hailed as the biggest technological advance in the entertainment industry since the green screen.

Orca has developed its technology with the support of Epic Games and Kinolux in Spain. The studio will use an Unreal video game-style engine in its 600 sq. meter (6,500 sq. ft.) soundstage to project virtual LED backgrounds that can adjust and sync with camera movements — similar to the technology used in game-changing scope with The Mandalorian, which shoots half of all its scenes, exterior and interior, in the Stagecraft virtual studio. This kind of virtual technology production often requires a lengthier pre-production process, but it’s far less work than building an entire set digitally and matching it to camera angles, or building an actual set.

It’s a technology that will be infinitely more attractive in a post-coronavirus landscape, with the film and TV industry struggling to return to normal amid the pandemic. The virtual technology will allow filmmakers to go to locations, shoot them in HD, and display them on an LED wall — lessening the need for big crews to set up massive location shoots or build big sets. The photorealistic environment, which reacts to the actors as they move, will make it easer for productions to limit the crew on set per pandemic-enforced precautions like social distancing.

We can likely expect more studios to be built in this fashion and take advantage of the virtual technology that The Mandalorian and ILM helped to pioneer.

Correction: The technology Orca Studios is using is not the same, but inspired by the Stagecraft technology used by ILM.

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