Sony and Epic Games announced a partnership via a video on the official Sony YouTube channel. During the 4 minutes of promotional material Sony reveals their new endeavor. With support from Epic Games and other industry leaders, Sony Pictures aims to revolutionize virtual production.
One of the tools developed thanks to this partnership is the impressive virtual movie set. A wall of Crystal LED Displays, combined with a Sony VENICE camera, and some images with crazy resolution and pixel count. This is a recipe for a virtual set that could rival the real thing. And in the words of Kim Libreri, Epic Games chief technology officer. This is a way to “make you believe you are looking at a real image, as opposed to something that is a total illusion”.
Such technology was already used on the set of Mandalorian. Over 50% of shots in the first season were done using virtual production techniques. The team responsible for creating the show had a massive room full of LED screens. There they could project anything they wanted onto the screens to serve as backdrops for the show. Combined with props and actors in costumes they came to life as the alien worlds of Mandalorian.
This technology allows creators much more freedom of expression than a traditional move set. Shooting at sunrise or sunset for example. In the past, it was a very time-sensitive and stressful moment. You had a time window in which actors had to perform their best, or risk having to redo it all the next day. But now you simply create a 3D environment and put it on the displays. Or record a perfect sunset and project it onto them.
Bill Baggelaar, the CTO for Sony Pictures Entertainment, said that this is only the begging of the journey. This technology opens doors for video game production. It is also completely applicable to VR and Metaverse. There is a ton of scenarios where you could blend videogames projected on the displays with real-world actors.
Libreri further speculated on the many ways actors, characters and cinematography could be digitized using this technology. Which could lead to a technological revolution in AAA gaming, to deepen the realism seen in some of the biggest games the industry has to offer. This Sony and Epic Games partnership could very well spell some new visually impressive games in the future.