Lucasfilm wants to take a step out of filmmaking: the post production process.
Using new technology from a video game engine, Lucasfilm can use a performance capture stage and have actors or stunt people act out the scene and have it rendered immediately.
At the Technology Strategy Board BAFTA event in London recently, Kim Libreri, the Chief Technology Officer of Lucasfilm, spoke on the new technology that they feel would reduce the time and need of the post production process.
“We think that computer graphics are going to be so realistic in real-time computer graphics that, over the next decade, we’ll start to be able to take the post out of post-production; where you’ll leave a movie set and the shot is pretty much complete.”
The computer graphics in question actually come from the video game engine of the cancelled high profile Star Wars 1313 game. The video game division of Lucasarts was shut down and now it seems that resource has been allocated into the film division that George Lucas built.
There has been a lot of positive and negative feelings about this new technological advance. On one hand, having the technology to have the scene painted, rendered and reflecting the final product could be a boon to directors to make sure the vision in their head matches the newly fully realized end result on the monitor. However, the fear of taking out the post-production process and the jobs that accompanying it is raising the fear of animators and workers in post that may be deemed redundant due to this technology.
The idea works for projects that might look at the budget perspective of avoiding the extra cost or delays of going to a special effects houses to finish the film. However, as with most video game technology that employs this type of motion capture, the delivery has mixed results in performance and emotional weight. The images are pretty aesthetically, but the end result is often lifeless and stunted. The goal of most movies is to bring fantasy to life and this might be a step in the wrong direction in delivering human or emotional depth in the picture.
In the end, this not-so-radical idea will be debated amongst film productions for the next several years. No word on whether the next Star Wars will employ this technique, although it’s likely that we’re still years before we see this technology used in a major motion picture.