Virtual Production: A Special Report

Virtual Production: Special Report
Cheyne Gateley/VIP

The COVID-19 pandemic could have paralyzed production on film and television. But even though so many shoots had to be suspended over many months, Hollywood was still able to get some boundary-pushing work done.

Thanks to innovations already set in motion in recent years, directors and producers were able to bring teams together and work with ways and means unimpeded by the traditional creative limits of time and space.

As this latest special report from Variety Intelligence Platform details, a set of technologies loosely known as virtual production has enabled incredible changes to how premium video entertainment is captured and enhanced.

While these innovations are still in their infancy, the pandemic accelerated their development to the point where they are having implications for content creators for many years to come.

This report digs into six key implementations:

  • LED Volumes: Walls of high-resolution video screens powered by video-game engines that can serve as backgrounds instead of real locations (as seen in “The Mandalorian” on Disney+)
  • Motion Capture: Recording human or animal physical movements using data to animate onscreen characters
  • Cloud Collaboration: The sharing of production assets on cloud storage sites
  • Chroma Key Compositing: Shooting scenes in front of colored backdrops that can later be replaced with CGI imagery
  • Selfie Shoots: Camera packages sent to actors that can be remotely controlled by technicians
  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning: Algorithms that can automate editorial tasks or generate unique behaviors in CGI imagery


Read on to learn about:


Data showing the breadth of film and TV production shutdowns during the pandemic


In-depth analysis of six key innovations driving the virtual production revolution


Testimony from practitioners in the space on advances in the field