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Local filmmakers teaching Mandalorian-style virtual production

Tom Strnad, from Mountain Goat Film Company, will be the instructor of the six-week course offered by the South Georgian Bay Media Association
VIRTUAL PRODUCTION_IMAGE
A virtual production set. | SGBMA Photo

The South Georgian Bay Media Association (SGBMA) is hosting a six-week workshop to introduce local artists to virtual production – an emerging production method with groundbreaking applications in film and theatre. 

The workshop will run from Nov. 3 to Dec. 8, taking place both virtually and at the Craigleith Community Centre. There is space for up to 20 artists to participate.

The program will be taught by local filmmaker Tom Strnad, producer and editor with Mountain Goat Film Company.

Through the use of LED panels, virtual production allows simulated environments to be present during filming, as opposed to the traditional method of using a green screen and adding effects in post-production.

It's the same production technique used to make Disney’s The Mandalorian.

Strnad says there are numerous ways to use virtual production technology.

“It's scalable to kind of anything that you can imagine, and any kind of budget,” he said.

“If you have a 65-inch screen, you can put that outside of windows, you can put that behind people, so there's applications in documentary productions. If you want to have someone in front of some sort of a different background, you can put people in front of an LED panel. So there's really cost-effective ways to do it, or you can [build] a quarter-billion-dollar, massive 50-foot-by-30-foot LED room with a ceiling.”

Rather than simply producing a background, the LED screens in virtual production display fully built, dynamic environments – similar to a video game.

One possible application Strnad discussed was using LED panels on car windows, which would enable a driving scene to be realistically filmed without any actual driving involved.

Virtual production can be more cost-effective than green screen production, and it can make the lighting appear more natural. On top of that, actors and production crews are able to see the environment they are working in prior to post-production.

The six-week program will run artists through visual effects, virtual production techniques, and additional applications – such as photography – for virtually produced environments, among other things.

Strnad said that the SGBMA works to empower rural artists who lack traditional studio space.

“Let's say you have a garage - maybe that's all you need,” he said. “I think in our minds we think we need massive studios.”

“For this workshop, we're hoping everyone who attends it will have an idea of how they can just build their own setups using this technology.”

Interested members of the public can register online at virtualproductionforartists.eventbrite.ca, or by emailing Tracy Strnad at tracey@sgbma.ca.

The workshop is funded by the Ontario Arts Council. There is a $25 for participation.


About the Author: Greg McGrath-Goudie, LJI Reporter

Greg McGrath-Goudie covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands as part of the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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