In the last two years, the use of virtual production and In-Camera Virtual Effects (ICVFX) technology has grown very rapidly. Previously there were only a dozen ICVFX stages worldwide in 2020, now there are more than 250 stages.
Studios such as AUX Media in Singapore, V2 in Indonesia, and 3Particle in Malaysia take advantage of Epic Games’ Unreal Engine support with large-scale xR stages and LED screens in their live events, films, and production lines.
Real-time technology with Unreal Engine
In a webinar attended by Alomaki.com on Thursday (19/5), Epic Games mentioned that real-time technologies such as virtual production and ICVFX allow for a more budget-friendly approach than previous workflows that used large studios with multi-million dollar budgets. In addition, this technology drives cutting-edge innovation and creates an immersive ‘otherworldly’ environment.
ICVFX itself combines the use of an LED screen and an xR stage placed in the background in a set. After that, this technology is used to display visual effects that are supported by graphics engines such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.
AUX Media from Singapore relies on the real-time capabilities of Unreal Engine and a platform called Disguise to develop live and interactive visual effects at Mediacorp’s 2022 Star Awards Ceremony . The event utilizes an xR stage with a green screen, which displays celebrities in a virtual environment with real-time visual effects.
This not only creates a stunning end result, but also allows the production team to capture more authentic reactions from the actors. The post-production workflow is also minimized to bring shows to the audience much faster than before. All of these things are not possible with traditional workflows.
Meanwhile, the first xR studio in Indonesia, V2, changed the game for virtual events with real time software. In October 2021, V2 made a breakthrough by venturing into the xR with the hope of adding value to their new offerings for industrial and consumer clients, as well as supporting future immersive hybrid events.
Since then, V2 has started its first xR project with the Indonesian Bethel Church (otherwise known as GBI PRJ), a house of worship located in Jakarta. At GBI PRJ, V2 has built an xR studio with a 17x5m LED, which is supported by a software disguise, and allows the church to accommodate up to 1,000 congregations per worship session.
V2 is also working with one of the biggest Youtubers in Indonesia to build a podcast studio equipped with xR technology. The company hopes that xR can equip art creatives, TV media, advertising agencies, and content creators to further unleash their creativity and produce quality content.
Furthermore, 3Particle from Malaysia leveraged Unreal Engine’s real time technology and xR stage to create futuristic new worlds in music videos such as local bands IMAGI, and MADAM, as well as being part of a world-class virtual show for Alan Walker.
Support studios and creators in ASEAN
Epic Games is committed to empowering studios and creators across ASEAN to support the growing demand for virtual production and ICVFX. To date, Epic Games has supported more than 1,600 creators and teams in 89 countries, through the US$100 million Epic MegaGrants (EMG) program.
“Virtual production is the future of the media and entertainment sector – whether for film and TV production, advertising, broadcasting or live events. It is rapidly shaping the way we create, and the speed and scale for creators to deliver their ideas, and ASEAN is well positioned to capture this demand,” said Dean Reinhard, Evangelist and Technical Account Manager, Southeast Asia, Epic Games.
In Asia, there are currently 47 animation studios such as Streamline Media Group, AeonSparx Interactive Sdn Bhd, and Ammobox Studios in Malaysia that are participating in the Epic MegaGrants (EMG) program. Epic Games also plans to expand its support for ASEAN creators through several schemes and
initiatives to be launched later this year, such as the regional iteration of the Women Creators’ Program and the Unreal Shorts Challenges for Southeast Asia.