Lightcraft Technology and VES Los Angeles Present Real-Time Virtual Production Event

December 2017 meeting of the Los Angeles Section of the Visual Effects Society attracts over 80 attendees

The December 2017 meeting of the Los Angeles Section of the Visual Effects Society entitled Behind The Screen: New Methods in Real Time Virtual Production provided an in-depth look at on-set techniques that are already impacting physical production for theatrical and television scripted content.  Jointly sponsored by VES and Lightcraft Technology as part of the organization’s ongoing educational outreach series, and held at the NantStudio’s state-of-the-art green screen stage in Culver City,  the event attracted over 80 attendees (in the midst of an historic, wind-driven Southern California firestorm). The evening featured networking, a great buffet catered by My World on A Plate, three product presentations — and a preview demonstration of Halide FX, the successor to Lightcraft’s Emmy award winning Previzion real-time VFX system.

After greetings from Michele Chan Soon-Shiong, President of NantStudio, Anthony Magliocco, VES Board member, introduced the group to Re:Vision, the suite of software tools he represents that allow producers to shoot with “superfish” lenses on digital cinematography cameras and convert the video to LatLong format. This approach promises to be an alternative to pure CGI creation or HDRI capture and stitching as solutions for fast creation of photo-real background replacement in virtual sequences.

Brian Pohl, M&E Solutions Engineer for Epic Games, NA was up next, describing how the Unreal Engine (used by Lightcraft for real time rendering within Halide FX) is a nexus between the gaming world and entertainment content creators. Brian touched on advances in the Unreal Engine (UE4) including eventual support for 4K and 8K video plates; the DataSmith workflow toolbox for importing content from programs (i.e. Autodesk 3ds Max) into Unreal and Sequencer, where layout and editorial decisions can be made in real time.

Eliot Mack, founder and CEO of Lightcraft Technology, followed, describing the history of his work in mechanical engineering and robotics leading up to his invention of Previzion, the predecessor to Halide FX. Eliot emphasized that the technical accomplishments of AR/ER systems like Halide FX are impressive, but their value will emerge as they increasingly enhance the narrative process among content creators.

The evening finished up with a live demonstration of Halide FX. Our actress, Kelly Thomas, in full period costume and makeup, strolled up and down a Victorian Era London street; the background element was a modified asset from the Unreal library; the Arriflex Amira camera (mounted on a Steadicam) followed her, while the whole sequence was tracked, rendered and composited in real-time in Halide FX.

What the guests witnessed @ this event was yet another glimpse into a next-generation production pipeline defined by a unique collaboration of professionals from several disciplines pioneering techniques that are becoming reliable tools of convenience for the creative community.