PAKT invests heavily in productions with a promising innovative technique, which has been used in Hollywood for some time: Virtual Production. Thanks to the unreal engine from the gaming industry, there are no longer any restrictions for high-quality productions. Production is more efficient and brings more production value. And it’s a sustainable choice too because far less travel is required.
In a Virtual Production, PAKT records the scenes in front of an enormous LED screen, displaying a 3D world. The screen is semi-circular and up to 10×15 metres in size. In the foreground, where the actor plays, an additional physical set is built. It provides a seamless transition between the physical and virtual worlds.
Flexible, durable & value
The photo-realistic 3D background is created by PAKT’s 3D (unreal) artists. Traditionally, the artists mainly take care of post-production, overseeing full 3D product films or editing images with CGI. Producer Robert Verberne says, “They’ve become extremely good at 3D animation. And that’s fantastic to use in Virtual Production. They build the photo-realistic world that is actually the set.
An added advantage of Virtual Production is that you can
actually tweak the world during the shoot, say, by putting a different colour on the wall or moving a palm tree. And suddenly, on a one-day shoot, you can film and photograph in all kinds of different locations. Furthermore, air travel is becoming less and less necessary, so its a clear choice for sustainability. You’re no longer dependent on the weather or light conditions. Cancel a shoot because it’s raining? No longer an issue. That beautiful sunset suddenly takes as long as it needs.”
What makes Virtual Production technically so much better than green screen (where the background is inserted later)? It’s a no-brainer for CEO Maurice Wenneker, “We shoot everything real-time in camera, in which positions, camera movements and shifts in focus are all incorporated perfectly. With green screen, you do that afterwards, which makes the work in post quite labour-intensive and may come across as fake. In addition, you no longer have the green glow of green screen on the scene.”
Maurice goes on to explain that the virtual technique was developed by the gaming industry. “If you steer to the left in a racing game, your world changes. It’s the unreal engine that makes this possible: sensors on the camera are connected to the 3D background. As the camera turns, the gaming rendering engine calculates very quickly what needs to change on the screen. Thanks to the realistic décor, the actor also experiences a much better sense of interaction with the surroundings, making their job easier and more authentic. In short, Virtual Production offers endless possibilities. We’ve already completed three major international productions for Henkel, Wallbox and Nestle and I can say that Virtual Production is not the future,” concludes Maurice, “it’s today.”
The 5 advantages
1. Carbon footprint is significantly reduced because of significantly less
travel with an entire crew.
2. The production value is high. You can shoot several locations in one day
and create a huge amount of content in a short time.
3. A parking garage, a Mediterranean beach, an alpine meadow:
you get a background that can’t be distinguished from the real thing.
4. Take full advantage of the location. A view of the New York skyline or Tokyo?
These adjustments will make your film even more locally relevant.
5. Cast time is used very efficiently and background choices have clear deadlines.
A complex supermarket commercial
is now no longer a problem
thanks to 3D decor
Dixan – TVC
It’s a common request to shoot a commercial in a supermarket but it’s also a huge logistical challange. Now, thanks to Virtual Production’s innovative technique, PAKT was able to realise this for HENKEL (Dixan) on time, on budget and, guess what? It’s a great piece of work.
Robert Verberne (PAKT producer): ‘The German detergent manufacturer HENKEL challenged us to make a commercial for the Dixan brand. There were a number of conditions:
– The commercial was largely to be set in a supermarket
– Some shots must be filmed in a laundry room with a washing machine.
– The commercial was intended for the Southern European market.
– There was budget for one day of shooting.
‘Shooting in a supermarket is without exception, a super complicated job,’ says PAKT producer Robert Verberne. ‘Supermarkets are almost always open, so the only real option to shoot is on a Sunday evening. All products have to be tight on the shelves and competing products must not be seen on screen. And, once completed, the whole crew has to move to another location, to film the washroom location.
PAKT was still able to realise the commercial thanks to Virtual Production. It works like this: PAKT’s 3D artists create a supermarket in 3D, which is projected onto a large LED screen. In the foreground, PAKT builds two physical shelves, seamlessly connecting the real and virtual worlds.
Producer Robert Verberne: ‘On the set, suddenly everything is achievable. We made the supermarket a little more attractive and more attuned to the Southern European audience. Then we virtually switched to the washroom. Despite the smaller budget, we were still able to meet all the requirements.’
1. The supermarket has a Mediterranean atmosphere without having to travel to Southern Europe.
2. There are no logistical challenges for filming in a supermarket and no CO2 emissions from travelling there.
3. In one day, PAKT can film both locations for the commercial. A smaller budget still delivers high production value.
4. The look of the supermarket is very realistic and nicer than you might achieve in real life.
KITKAT SHINES WITH SPECIAL EFFECTS
IN NEW ‘THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ CAMPAIGN
KitKat – Library
KitKat – Birdwatching
Challenge & Approach
Finally, it’s allowed out into the world. Amazon Prime launched a brand new season of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ at the beginning of September. PAKT created the campaign, featuring eye-catching special effects, in an innovative Virtual Production for sponsor, KitKat.
Nestlé wrote a pitch for KitKat’s campaign. The latest series of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is expected to attract more than 100 million viewers. So the campaign airing during the film could – to put it mildly – use a special effect. PAKT convinced KitKat to harness the power of Virtual Production. CEO Maurice Wenneker: ‘In the pitch, we described how we could use this innovative technique, which has been used in Hollywood for some time, to make the campaign better and bigger than ever. Thanks to Virtual Production, location is no longer an issue. And there’s a natural interaction between the actors and the background, which is built in 3D.’
Who can forget the overwhelming beauty of Middle Earth? Maurice: ‘We worked up a creative translation of the atmosphere of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ for KitKat’s campaign, and then applied this new technique to it. With an EPIC BREAK, KitKat shows consumers a first glimpse of Middle Earth in the new series. Eating a KitKat has never been so magical…’
1. The scene with the KitKat doors opening would usually have been filmed by PAKT in front of a green screen, then add in special effects afterwards. But thanks to Virtual Production, the actor now sees those doors opening on the big LED screen, making the actor’s job a lot easier.
2. Virtual Production helps make the set much better, bigger and much more realistic.
3. The location is built in 3D and the cast and crew don’t have to travel. This saves time and reduces the impact on the climate.
INTERESTED IN HOW WE USE VIRTUAL PRODUCTION?
SEND AN E-MAIL TO ROBERT@WENNEKER.AMSTERDAM
AND WE’LL TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT