Instead of having to produce a massive array of multiple rooftops, which you can typically only use once, maybe twice, and printing a massive 2D static backdrop for the cityscape, which you can most likely also use just once, we were able to limit the physical build down to only a small amount of set pieces. This meant that the amount of wood, paint and metal that normally would be thrown away after a shoot, could be brought down to a minimum.
Behind the Scenes of the RSS promo
Sustainability is one of the key features virtual production can offer in contrast to a more traditional shoot. ReadySet Studios wanted to make this visible and at the same time explore the versatility that our studio can offer. We did this by producing our own promotional video where we made use of the LED volume to put ourselves on a beautiful Amsterdam rooftop. We also shot the whole commercial in the night, but we were in the studio from 9 till 5, a nice break from the long cold nights a crew otherwise had to spend on a windy, unlit rooftop.
Watch the video of how we created the RSS promo below!
As our production designer (and RSS co-founder) Florian Legters put it:
“Normally I have to throw away massive amounts of wood and raw materials because I have to build massive but maybe less detailed sets. now we can focus ourselves on building smaller but more detailed set pieces that can be used more than once.”
Capitalizing on LED vs alternatives
The shoot also prompted some interesting questions from the director and dop. Because of the instant feedback the LED volume gave the director went through a creative process that a backdrop could not bring. For instance the question came up if the lights behind the windows could flicker so it looked like someone was watching tv inside in the background. Because of the real time render engine we were able to make this possible and answer the creative input we got from the director.
All this shows how versatile virtual production/icvfx can be if it is set up correctly and you allow for these creative processes to take place. After the shoot the DOP added:
“Could this have been done without the LED volume? Yes, but we would have had to make some creative compromises. I see the LED volume as a tool in my toolbox for shoots where we want to be in control of a situation where we otherwise wouldn’t be. It allowed me to focus on the creative process instead of worrying about falling off a rooftop or shooting outside the set.”
— Floris van der Lee, DOP
We were very pleased with how the shoot and final results unfolded. Especially because of the short timeframe we had to make everything work together. Within a few days we went from concept to the actual shoot but nevertheless went home with footage that, other than some grading, could be used as final pixel.