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Virtual Production at DNEG w/ Philipp Wolf

My guest is Philipp Wolf, a producer and cooperate strategist at DNEG. Together we talk about his unique role as a futurist at DNEG, the future of filmmaking with Virtual Productions and about burnout.

Virtual Production

A Virtual Production is filmmaking using computer-generated imagery (CGI), augmented reality, motion capture, and other technologies to create realistic environments and effects on a virtual set. This allows the filmmaker to add digital environments, create previsualizations on set and track actor or camera movements for a simpler post production.

  • Camera Motion Capture: Tracking real time camera movement to apply them on a digital camera for a realistic feel.

  • Actor Motion Capture: Tracking the movements of an actor during or outside of the shot for a realistic performance.

  • Augmented Reality: Blend digital backgrounds for previsualization (combined with Camera Tracking).

  • LED Stage: LED screens project a recorded or generated environment as a background in a specific lighting situation.

ILM Stagecraft
ILM Stagecraft

🟢 Benefits

  • No or less location changes

    • Instant background adjustments

  • In-camera results (less or no rotoscoping needed)

  • Green, blue and any color for keying

  • Infinite light situations and time (sunrise, sunset, sunny, cloudy, ...)

    • Realistic reflections (Mandalorian armor)

  • Improved actor performance with visible environments (vs green screen)

🔴 Downsides

  • Costly

  • More real time technology

  • More technical processes

  • Less real (LED vs location)

A famous example for an advanced Virtual Production set is the enormous Stagecraft by Industrial Light and Magic for the series The Mandalorian. Besides the flexibility and in-camera results the correct reflections were vital to bring the armor of the Mandalorian to life.


Replacing the environment in a heart beat while tweaking the light to perfection sounds like a dream for any filmmaker. Virtual Productions are not for everyone but everyone could benefit from them. This even includes independent filmmaker who can use DIY virtual production elements to bring their visions to live with a fraction of the costs. In the end it comes down to a simple calculation: Is it worth financially, quality and organizationally to go with a Virtual Production?

Interested to be a part of a Virtual Production? Become a Technical Director to work on cinematic films and Virtual Production sets.

Thanks for reading,


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About author
About author

I'm Alexander, an Award-Winning Technical Director & Coach in Visual Effects, Animation and Games. My skills are solving technical problems, simplifying workflows and mentoring career goals.

For more check out our exciting TD Bootcamp, 21 Artist Show Podcast and YouTube channel.


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