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Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
@Quendrith I Facebook I


Filmmaking 101: Enter Real-Time Production, an Unreal Engine & Blender

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Get ready for a 20 second knowledge drop to prepare for the likes of Sam Nicholson, ASC, who asks you to rethink everything about filmmaking. “I like to think we came out of the Chemical Era, went into the Digital Era, and now we’re in the Virtual Era of filmmaking.” SamNicholson2020says Nicholson, CEO and Founder of Stargate Studios. “Convergent technologies, he continues. “They are converging, and nobody is really sure where they are going to integrate.”

What is he talking about, you may wonder? Decentralization of production, folks, it’s here.

Oh, plus TPTB (the powers that be) will scan you, actors, it’s inevitable. Imagine the handwringing at SAG?

An actor gets paid for a day and works in perpetuity as a scanned avatar with no Golden Twilight, or Sunset, or cap on working hours. Or conditions, or environments, wow, this could be a good thing. Just have your agent get a quote for the avatar, lolz.

That’s just the fear talking inside the industry right now, where Studios, Agents, Execs are all “deciding when to jump in the pool,” as the other guys along with Sam Nicholson will tell you in about 10 seconds.

First, this comes from Mike Seymour, Co-Founder of fxguide and Director of the Motus Research Lab, better known as ‘the guy with the Australian accent in the video’ who will lead a discussion that will blow the top layer of rendering off your head right now.SeymourEG92020

This deep knowledge dive into Virtual Production: The Transition to Real-Time Filmmaking is Seymour’s glory ride through the mindscapes of Nicholson, Felix Jorge, CEO and Creative Director at Happy Mushroom; and Matt Madden, currently Director of Virtual Production at Epic Games. FelixMushroom2020

As the kids say, ‘this is sick, like super nuts’ as far as understanding emerging technology whereby you can shoot, in fully-pixelated real-time manic pixie dreams, as you decide what to do with your film.

Or, in rational adult language?

Remember when Dorothy walks through the doorframe in the 1939 WIZARD OF OZ, and the frame turns into full-blown, though schmaltzy, full-spectrum technicolor?

MattGamer2020 Today, you get to be Dorothy, opening the wide angle on your brain to absorb the smack-you-in-the-synapses reality that making a film has already changed from the telephone game of Studio Notes, Set Notes, Writer Notes, to an argyle pattern of seamless digital integration of above-and-below the line away from a central authority. Into the aforementioned “Decentralization of Production,” as Sam Nicholson (top photo above), put it. Nicholson has been around since the Dawn of VFX, “the first STAR TREK” to the current fragmented pastiche of tech choices based on massively faster rendering time and super-charged chips.

But why drag on, when the four course-men of the Hollywood apocalypse can school you more precisely on what to expect with the end of the world. 

This is the breakdown of Tinseltown’s hierarchy on set and in the boardrooms, as technologies waft in through the transom like stranger heralds of the new Virtual Production Era.

Four Smart Guys & Their Voluntary Brain Pick for THE PULSE



Meanwhile, back in HardwareLand... oh you thought this was only about software chills? Nope. Nvidia has announced a forehead-slapping sugar-rush-powered new hard candy item that means rendering is going to be so much faster. As the kids say, ‘rendering is just making shit, and you hope not to break shit.’ Breaking things used to be a lot more of an issue before the speed of processing came into the ‘billions’ as you will see with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 second-generation gem here.

Now Hardware Finally Gets Interesting, Huh?



So with this new-found knowledge, which may require a few drinks to accept as the New Normal in film production for Studio Execs, literally anyone can make a piece of real-timed filmed content. How about “Make a Hobbit Hole in 15 Minutes.” Go!

Dude Literally Renders a Hobbit Hole in 15 Minutes, IRL



If you feel at all intimidated by any of this VFX hoo-ha, Alvy Ray Smith  had it figured out eons ago.

Catch up with Alvy Ray Smith, VFX Pioneer & George Dyson, Co-Founder Pixar [EG9]



So we all stand on the shoulders of giants, including Golden Oldies polymath from Leipzig, Leibniz, and UK's Alan Turing (Bletchley Park, Hut 8, 1939); later MIT AI Lab’s Marvin Minsky, George Lucas, and maybe, okay Steve Jobs. Also VFX freak Peter Jackson, guru Joe Letteri, and wizard Dennis Muren. But mostly? Allow this eye-watering tech to penetrate any barriers for you to understand that this is happening, now, in real-time.

Cinema will never be the same: it will be even better, and much worse. ;)

That’s all (or virtually all) folks!

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