- Virtual production is changing the way feature films, TV shows, games, and commercials are shot and edited.
- Avid | Edit On Demand allows an editor based anywhere to create a rough cut of a scene within seconds of it being filmed.
- SRT output from Avid Media Composer enables over-the-shoulder viewing by production staff on any SRT-enabled device, including smart phones, tablets, and PCs.
Virtual production — the ability to insert talent into a CGI background in real time — is quickly becoming a critical part of the director’s toolkit. In July, Microsoft hosted the first Microsoft Production Summit in Burbank, sponsored by NVIDIA and Epic Games, maker of the Unreal Engine 3D creation tool for photorealistic visuals, to showcase how virtual production is rapidly evolving and changing the way feature films, TV shows, games, and even commercials are made. The Avid | Edit On Demand cloud video editing system played a starring role at the two-day event.
Several factors are driving the growth of virtual production, including the desire for more efficient workflows and lower costs, and the increased competition among OTT service providers to deliver high-quality programs to consumers with an insatiable appetite for new content. As a full SaaS-based virtual post-production environment — complete with cloud-optimized Media Composer software and Avid NEXIS storage — Avid | Edit On Demand addresses these needs by allowing content creators, who can be based anywhere with an internet connection, to begin assembling sequences as they’re being produced.
Avid | Edit On Demand’s groundbreaking capabilities were featured in two panel discussions and during the Summit’s opening keynote session, which demonstrated an end-to-end virtual production workflow. Actors were shot in real time against photorealistic virtual sets, created with Unreal Engine software powered by NVIDIA GPUs. Contributors, logged into the cloud environment from locations around the world, were able to modify the lighting and move different aspects of the scene on command to fit the narrative of the story. These scenes were streamed live into Edit On Demand using Avid MediaCentral l Stream IP ingest solution. Each new scene was captured as it happened, with sequences being quickly built in Media Composer and stored on Avid NEXIS storage running in the Microsoft Azure cloud.
The virtual workflow showed how an editor logged in from anywhere can create a rough cut of a scene within seconds of it being filmed. That sequence can then be streamed out of Media Composer via SRT for over-the-shoulder viewing by production staff on any SRT-enabled device, including smart phones, tablets, and PCs. Part of what Avid showed as a tech preview was the ability for team members to collaborate simultaneously in Microsoft Teams to view a high-quality proxy output from Media Composer and provide notes. These capabilities can shorten time to market for any show, providing collaborators the opportunity to provide near-instant feedback and make changes fast, which can help to drive down the cost of location shoots and the need to do costly re-shoots late in the production cycle.
In addition to the keynote session, Avid | Edit On Demand was featured on the panel “Make It Anywhere: The Advantages of Remote Production,” which highlighted the factors driving the adoption of cloud-based media & entertainment technologies.
A second panel went a step further by chronicling the vital role Avid | Edit On Demand played in the making of the feature film “X,” a movie that executive producer Peter Phok said could not have been finished without the cloud. “The beauty of working with Edit On Demand is that our editorial team could be based anywhere,” said Phok, “and that became critical when our editor could not be at his workstation for a period of time but was able to keep working just using his laptop. There was certainly a learning curve dealing with the occasional latency challenges, but once he was up and running and knew how Edit On Demand worked, it was just incredible.”
As virtual production solutions continue to mature, creating content in virtual environments will become more commonplace. The Microsoft Production Summit was the first of its kind to emphasize the many advancements being made with cloud-based production technology, lowering barriers to entry and providing tangible benefits. Avid, through solutions such as Avid | Edit On Demand, is helping the media and entertainment industry achieve these goals.
Epic Games and Unreal Engine are trademarks or registered trademarks of Epic Games, Inc. in the United States of America and elsewhere. Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, and Microsoft Teams are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. NVIDIA is a trademark and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.