Virtual production is transforming the way movies and TV shows are made. So, what do you need for virtual production?

In this article, I’ll explore the essential elements required for successful virtual production, from pre-production planning to the technology and resources necessary during production and post-production.

Let’s dive into the world of this groundbreaking filmmaking technique.

What is Virtual Production?

Virtual production is a filmmaking technique that seamlessly blends physical sets and actors with computer-generated environments and effects in real time.

It leverages advanced technologies like LED walls, powerful GPUs, and real-time engines to create a dynamic and interactive shooting environment.

This approach offers filmmakers greater creative control, improved collaboration between departments, and a reduced post-production workload.

It allows for immediate visualization of virtual elements on set, making it easier to capture realistic scenes and special effects, ultimately enhancing the overall quality and efficiency of film and television production.

What is Virtual Production?
What is Virtual Production?

>>>Read more: Real time Virtual Production using Unreal Engine

What do You Need for Virtual Production?

To successfully implement virtual production, you’ll need specific tools and resources in each of the three main phases: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.

What You Need in Pre-Production

Pre-production is the phase where you plan and prepare for the virtual production. The primary objectives are to break down the script, create 3D assets, and set up the virtual environment for shooting. Here’s what you need:

  • 3D Modeling Software: This is essential for creating 3D assets, including virtual sets, props, and characters. Popular software options include Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, ZBrush, and Blender.
  • Physics Rendering Engine: A physics rendering engine is crucial for generating realistic physical interactions within the virtual environment, like lighting, shadows, and object movements.
  • VR Headset or High-Performance Computer: These are used for pre-visualization and reviewing virtual locations. VR headsets offer an immersive experience, while a powerful computer is necessary for running the real-time engine during pre-visualization.
  • (Optional) 3D Artwork Versioning Control Software: This can help manage and track changes in 3D assets, ensuring that everyone works with the latest versions.

During pre-production, you’ll be focused on asset creation, and the ability to visualize the virtual environment in 3D helps the team get a more accurate sense of how the final product will look. This is a significant advantage compared to traditional storyboarding.

>>>Read more: How Virtual Production Revolutionizes the Entertainment Industry

What You Need in Production

What You Need in Production
What You Need in Production

The production phase involves capturing the live action with the virtual environment using the LED wall as the backdrop. The key component in this phase is the LED wall and the real-time engine that powers it. Here’s what you need:

  • LED Wall or Volume: The LED wall serves as the background for the action, replacing the need for a green screen. It offers actors a visual reference and allows the production team to see the final shot in real-time.
  • PC with Powerful GPU: The real-time engine responsible for rendering the virtual environment on the LED wall requires a robust GPU. It constantly updates the virtual scene to provide a seamless experience.
  • LED Wall Processor(s): These processors handle tasks like multi-screen processing, resolution format changes, signal switching, and image quality improvement. They ensure the LED wall displays the virtual environment accurately.
  • Pixel Mapping: Pixel mapping helps map the virtual environment to the LED wall, ensuring that the graphics align with the physical set and camera movements.
  • Tracker and Sensors for Camera: To achieve parallax, a camera tracker is essential. It helps the real-time engine adjust the virtual scene based on the camera’s movement.

The real-time engine and the LED wall are at the heart of the production phase. This technology allows for dynamic lighting, realistic parallax, and precise framing, making it a significant advancement over traditional green screen setups.

What You Need in Post-Production

What You Need in Post-Production
What You Need in Post-Production

Post-production in virtual production differs from traditional post-production in several ways. Much of the VFX work is completed during pre-production and production, reducing the post-production workload. Here’s what you need:

  • Standard Editing Software: Traditional editing software is sufficient for post-production. Since most VFX decisions have already been made, editors work with the final shots, not green screen backgrounds.

The post-production phase is more about fine-tuning and refining the already established visual elements. Editors have a clearer understanding of their work, and the process becomes more iterative and efficient.

Why is Virtual Production Popular?

Virtual production has gained popularity for several compelling reasons. First, it offers filmmakers greater creative control and flexibility.

With real-time visualization on LED walls, they can instantly see how the final scene will look, allowing for immediate adjustments and improvements.

Second, virtual production streamlines the production process. It reduces the need for extensive post-production work, such as removing green screens or adding digital effects, saving both time and money.

Moreover, it enhances collaboration among various departments like cinematography, art, and VFX. The technology fosters real-time communication and decision-making, resulting in a more cohesive and efficient production team.

The ability to work with physical sets and props alongside digital elements enhances the realism of scenes. This technology also allows for dynamic lighting and realistic parallax, improving the overall quality of the visuals.

What to Consider When Using Virtual Production?

When using virtual production, there are some important things to think about:

  • Technology and Equipment: You need the right tools like powerful computers, LED walls, and cameras that work well with virtual production.
  • Planning: Before you start, plan how you’ll use virtual production in your project. Create the 3D stuff you need ahead of time.
  • Budget: Make sure you have enough money for the technology and equipment you need. 
  • Teamwork: Get your different teams, like art and special effects, to work together. Good communication and collaboration are important.
  • Training: Make sure your crew knows how to use the virtual production tools.
  • Looks and Style: Pay attention to how the virtual stuff looks. It should match the real stuff in your movie.
  • Finishing Touches: Think about how the virtual stuff will fit in your final movie. You want it to look smooth and natural.

By considering these things, you can make the most of virtual production while making your movie-making process better and more efficient.

Future of Virtual Production

The future of virtual production looks really exciting. Here’s what to expect:

  • Easier Access: Virtual production tech will become easier for smaller studios and independent filmmakers to use.
  • More Realistic: The virtual worlds created will look even more real and immersive.
  • AI Assistance: Artificial intelligence will help with various tasks, making things faster and better.
  • Remote Work: People from different places can work together more easily, saving time and money.
  • Interactive Stories: Viewers might get to interact with the story, like in a video game.
  • Eco-Friendly: Virtual production can be good for the environment because it reduces the need for physical sets and travel.

The future of virtual production is all about making things better, more accessible, and kinder to our planet, while also making stories more interactive and exciting.


Above is my answer to the question “What do you need for virtual production?”. I’ve covered the must-haves, from planning before you shoot to the gear during filming and the finishing touches after.

With these tools and know-how, you can really up your filmmaking game and have a blast doing it!