Bridging the virtual production skills gap

Client: Disguise

Outlet: Definition Magazine

March 5, 2024

Definition (Def): From your perspective, what are the critical skills and competencies professionals in virtual production need today?


Lauren Rogers/Joanna Alpe (LR/JA): An understanding of virtual production workflows, communications pipelines and key technologies is critical, as well as a willingness to learn and agility to adapt. The key technology pillars are real-time content, camera tracking, LED systems and media servers/playback workflows. While these can be learnt in theory, nothing compares to having hands-on experience within a live and commercially working LED volume. Often, we find a fear factor and lack of understanding might hold a production back from taking full advantage of the benefits virtual production (VP) can bring. This was the driving force behind launching our MARS Academy, to share MARS Volume with professionals thirsty for gaining new critical skills and hands-on experience with the workflows. Endorsed by ScreenSkills, we launched courses such as VFX Artists on Set, LED Systems for Film Professionals – all running out of a commercially working virtual production facility.


Eric Rigney (ER): Firstly, an overview of the overall VP ecosphere. You need an understanding of the different types of virtual production solutions – ICVFX (LED and projection), green screen, AR, XR – as well as their limitations and advantages. Understanding when and which type of VP is appropriate for a given use case, budget and available skill sets is paramount. In some instances, traditional methods might be more appropriate. Gaining hands-on experience or in-service hours is crucial too. There must also be an appreciation of the importance of preparation – especially visualisation – and necessity of including all creatives within this process. An experienced virtual production producer and VP supervisor are crucial players in the success of a VP experience, but are difficult to find. There’s a lot of ‘fake it ’til you make it’.


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