The metaverse and virtual production as sources of opportunity for traditional filmmakers were among the hot topics at this year’s Geneva Digital Market (GDM).
The 10th edition of the Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) industrial platform took place from November 7 to 11 in the form of a hybrid event with its conference program staged for the first time in studio 4 of the headquarters of the Swiss television channel RTS.
GIFF Artistic Director Anais Emery presented the GDM panel “Gamefiction of Cinema: How to shoot your next movie in the metaverse” to describe “the concrete opportunities the metaverse can bring to the creative industries”. She warned filmmakers, cinematographers, producers and technicians that the purpose of the session “is not to say that the metaverse is a new Eden for audiovisual but really to bring deeper knowledge on what and how you can collaborate and maybe how you can be inspired by this possibility.”
Laura Olin, COO and partner of ZOAN in Finland, Europe’s leading metaverse studio founded by creative tech pioneer Miikka Rosendahl, warmed up to creatives by quickly admitting she’s not a tech person. users can buy land and build photorealistic headquarters and housing on a virtual island. NFTs, public participation and cryptocurrencies and ways to engage people and get them to create are on the agenda.
“We have already discussed with some film festivals the possibility of having virtual cinemas in this metaverse,” Olin said.
She predicted the rise of metaverse-based talent, the same way Instagram and TikTok have created their own stars and communities over the past 10 years.
“Coming soon, we have the ‘Generation One’ avatars later this year,” Olin said. “Hopefully we can begin to create the next steps for the future of the film industry within Cornerstone,” Olin said. “We dream of a film being edited and shot in Cornerstone country.”
Fellow Fin Mikko Kodisoja, founder and CEO of Fireframe Studios, a virtual production (VP) company with an in-camera visual effects scene (ICVFX) in Helsinki, detailed his transition from games to cinema. Kodisoja founded Supercell, the maker of the mobile game clash of clans and Europe’s first decacorn (a business worth over $10 billion). Kodisoja says video game engines can fundamentally impact feature film workflows.
When American filmmaker and actor Cinqué Lee arrived at Fireframe Studios in Helsinki to discuss the production of his mountain cable car thriller set in Norway A Rare Grand Alignment, Kodisoja knew that the control, safety and speed of shooting on the ICVFX stage made production sense. The Fireframe team worked the entire script into a game machine program, filmed in Norway with VR capture, then spent 18 days in the ICVFX studio.
“Cinema is increasingly integrating these technologies,” Kodisoja said. “The biggest difference I always see between movies and games is that in games you’re an active observer, and in movies you want to be the passive observer. You want to enjoy the story told by someone else.
As part of a series of sessions under the ‘VP Toolkit for film professional’ banner produced by content consultant GDM and Sten-Kristian Saluveer, head of Cannes NEXT and Marche du Film and Accelerate, GDM attendees also received the latest insights from virtual production gurus including award-winning Norwegian director and cinematographer Jannicke Mikkelsen.
Mikkelsen cautioned that virtual production is not for all projects.
“If the answer to the questions ‘can I get to the desired location?’ and ‘is the location easily recognizable?’ is both no, then virtual production is the answer,” said Mikkelsen, whose recent credits include augenschein and XYZ Film’s sci-fi thriller Stowaway, starring Anna Kendrick and directed by Joe Penna. Mikkelsen’s title on the film is “virtual cinematographer”, a reflection of the emergent role created when virtual production meets traditional filmmaking.
Patrick Morris, director and co-founder of the Paris and Barcelona-based agency Appia, a specialist in filming LED screens and VP manager, noted that Netflix had drawn up “guidelines and best practices to make production work Virtual”.
Nordisk Film Shortcut Danish VFX veteran Martin Madsen, whose credits include Only God forgives, built a state-of-the-art LED studio in Copenhagen. To avoid the pitfalls [of VP] , you must have someone who is knowledgeable and knowledgeable. A DP may not realize there is anything wrong with changing shutter speed or changing some settings, but for virtual production it may have an implication,” Madsen noted.
British Louisa Bremner, consultant and supervisor of the Lux Machina company, whose credits include films and television projects such as Dragon House, Matrix 4 and Death on the Nile believes VP will help democratize filmmaking “High-end VP software creation is available online for free. You can start very quickly,” she said.
Saluveer noted that VP is a profitable line to put into a budget. European VP studios cost between €8,000 and €15,000 per day to rent, compared to up to €100,000 for large-scale installations for studio-level productions.
“Putting a budget line for LED studio rentals in Europe is a prudent contingency if filming goes bad,” he said.
The GDM is overseen by Head of Digital Paola Gazzani Marinelli; The GIFF will close on November 13.
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