Forma Pro Films is planning to launch one of Europe’s largest LED Unit studios in Latvia this summer, Variety has learned. The virtual production facility will utilize the latest state-of-the-art technology in real-time rendering, live camera tracking hardware, and LED screens to enable what the company describes as “a completely new way” of producing films, TV shows and commercials.
Three films and seven commercials are already lined up for production.
The 16,000-square-foot site, set to open in the Latvian capital of Riga this August, will offer a combination of game engine technology and a photorealistic 3D environment to allow for the creation of spatial imagery that the company says goes beyond what is currently possible in film production.
The studio’s background can dynamically update to match camera perspectives in real time, and huge LED panels will generate the ideal lighting to replicate natural settings and reflections, allowing for a real-world feel mapped onto a wide range of LED screens.
“Our engineers were previously developing virtual sets for ‘The Mandalorian’ and we are happy to bring this technology to international film, TV and commercial productions,” said Max Pavlov, the CEO of LED Unit.
“LED Unit will be a custom-built virtual production stage and will become one of the largest European facilities, decked with the latest software and hardware solutions. In-house camera and lighting rental also gives us the opportunity to provide our future partners full-package deals.”
Riga is known for offering some of the lowest production costs in Europe, and the full-service nature of the new studio—from VFX to partnerships with Eastern European vendors—will make it an even more cost-effective option for foreign productions, according to the company.
The all-inclusive LED Unit studio will not only allow producers to cut costs on crew travel but offer full control of daylight seasons and weather conditions, while allowing for multiple shoots in a variety of settings and locations to occur on the same day—a huge upside as the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic. The site will also feature in-house lights and grip rentals, a production office, make up and wardrobe rooms, and other facilities.
Forma Pro Films has over 20 years of experience in scouting and facilitating production services, with credits including “Survive,” starring Sophie Turner; “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler,” starring Academy Award winner Anna Paquin and Marcia Gay Harden; “Paris Song,” with Abbie Cornish; and “The Good Neighbor,” starring Jonathan Rhys Meyer.
Producers Julie Zaytseva and Max Pavlov bring to the table their experience with a range of international productions, working with crews from over 18 countries.