The top media trend of recent years is Virtual Production. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to produce innovative cinematographic, television, photo content, and other types of media content. The usual chroma-key screens have been replaced by circular LED screens. All this significantly improves the overall quality of the visual effects and provides unlimited opportunities for creativity expression.
The supply, installation, and commissioning of the technological base for this project was carried out by the system integrator company called Megapix. The General Director Vadim Yashuvov shared the details of how the process of preparation and filming of the innovative musical show called Fantastica took place, as well as what technologies were used during the creation process.
Who Is Hiding Behind the Avatar
In September 2022, a new musical TV show was released. immediately, this show attracted the attention of the audience thanks to its novelty and unusualness. According to the official rules, 12 digital avatars of real people compete in the project: 6 of them are famous celebrities, and 6 ones are new artists. During every show, the jury chooses the worst contestant. But in order to eliminate the participant, they must recognize who he is. If the judges recognize correctly, the participant gets eliminated, and if they are wrong, then the participant moves on to the next show round.
Filming Preparation Process
The Fantastica show is an adaptation version of the well-known American project called Alter Ego. Before the process of filming could start, a huge amount of work had to be done, which started in September 2021. First of all, it was necessary to think over all the details: what characters will be participating in the show and how they will look.
After reviewing many works of the artists, the team selected approximately 60 options of possible characters. Gradually, some of them were abandoned, due to difficulties in animation, or the characters were not sympathetic.
Scrupulous attention to any tiny detail will help the project to bypass other similar shows in the ratings in the future. In particular, thanks to the best design and graphics of much higher quality. These factors brought the project to the top of the list at the end of 2022, and the show has already received a continuation for the second season in 2023.
According to the Chief Artist of the project, film post-production director Anton Nenashev, approximately 70 specialists, from artists to producers, were involved in the work on the project.
In Real Time: the Creative Process of Filming Show Episodes
In order to animate all the characters in real time MotionCapture (MoCap) technology was used. Thanks to this, the avatar conveys all the movements of the artist in the most natural way, right down to the phalanges of the fingers.
During the filming process, two pavilions were involved at the same time. One pavilion contains the decoration, the audience, the presenter, and the jury. The dancers were performing on the stage, and all the show was filmed by seven cameras. The technical team and the performers themselves were placed in another location. Thanks to this, it was possible to mount the performance in such a way that the viewers had the feeling of the real presence of a digital character in the studio, as they used to see in the traditional singing shows with live artists. One of the essential elements of such a seamless connection was the Camera Tracking technology, which makes all the movements of real cameras in the pavilion well-synchronized with all the movements of virtual cameras filming a computer character. At the same time, not only the movements of the cameras were synchronized, but also the position of the lighting devices. Thanks to such an approach, it was possible to get a feeling of the full reality of a virtual character standing on a real stage.
The Fantastica TV Show — Just the Beginning
On this innovative project, the Megapix team succeeded in working out all the technological algorithms for building Virtual Production Studios. According to Vadim Yashuvov, CEO of the company, during the work on the project they also managed to find alternative solutions and replace the original, more expensive processes with new and more economical ones. We speak about LED screens, Camera Tracking systems, systems for capturing the movement of actors’ bodies and their facial expressions.
Right now, the company keeps on working on technical support for the second season of the Fantastica show. Thanks to well-trained skills and technologies, Megapix can help TV and film studios, TV channels, and post-production companies build similar projects. Up-to-date VR/AR technologies are able to bring the visual of any TV project to a new higher level.