Light Cultural Foundation.

The ABC has moved to expand its virtual production capabilities, announcing a partnership with South Australia’s Light Cultural Foundation (Light).

Based in Adelaide’s Light Square, the non-for-profit incorporates a performance space The Lab, as well as a film/TV production studio that specialises in mixed reality and virtual production.

The facility will be used to train ABC staff to deliver virtual production filmmaking techniques, a process that involves replacing physical sets with digital ones, usually displayed on a high-resolution LED wall.

Using game engine technology, these digital sets can respond to camera movements in real-time, looking nearly identical to a real-world location.

Light co-founder Nick Dunstone said the relationship would deliver exciting new possibilities for filmmaking on the international stage and is an opportunity for South Australia to “the lead the charge globally”.

“Light’s partnership with the ABC will support in elevating Australian filmmaking to international creatives and audiences,” he said.

“The partnership is a major win for South Australia and an example of Light’s vision to foster innovation in creative industries.

“Light exists as a beacon for creativity and a means to creating art and exceptional experiences. We are grateful to ABC for their investment in the future of filmmaking and Light’s vision for innovation and change.” 

ABC XR content lead, Nathan Bazley, said the use of virtual production in filmmaking was experiencing a surge in popularity, in part because of COVID.

“When filmmakers were forced to think outside the box during global lockdowns in order to keep cameras rolling, virtual production was one idea that really came into its own,” he said.

“While it’s still early days, virtual production really is the way of the future.

“The level of detail that can be added to digital environments now means they are fast replacing the need for productions to travel or create expensive and wasteful one-off sets.

“VP is also a great way to make our production budgets go further and produce great content that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.”

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