What is Virtual Production?

Traditionally, film-making followed a natural timeline of Pre-production - Production - Post-Production. Individuals or teams stepped in at the right time - from the script writer, to the creatives, then the film crew, followed by the special effects guys.


Virtual Production has blurred those defined lines. Now the film world is created in a digital environment before anyone even steps foot on the physical set. VFX is no longer just an add-on at the end of production, instead it’s integral to the production pipeline. Pre-pandemic, Virtual Production was being heralded as a new era in filmmaking, but the international lockdown accelerated its use exponentially as filmmakers were forced to adapt to survive.


In a nutshell, Virtual Production is the process of mixing live footage and computer graphics simultaneously, to get real-time feedback and to make decisions on set about composition, VFX and animations. Combining the power and affordability of game engines such as Unreal Engine and Unity and the visualization capabilities of VR, virtual production shifts the pipelines and creative workflows of traditional film-making.


Virtual Production allows teams to collaborate in real-time from multiple locations, with directors and filmmakers informed by real-time computer graphics. Thanks to virtual production, teams are not limited by realities or time-zones, so by producing in the virtual world much more is possible. VP also removes the element of guesswork, allowing for production of high-quality visuals from the outset and a reduction in post-production effort.


Coming soon: A collaboration between Target3D and Digital Catapult, the Virtual Production Test Stage has been established to de-mystify Virtual Production for creators, educators, engineers and manufacturers. Read more.