News 22.02.21

MELBOURNE LIGHTING THE WAY IN VIRTUAL PRODUCTION



Considering virtual production for your next project? Australia’s tech and creative capital, Melbourne is at the forefront of this innovative shift in filmmaking, with recent productions leading the way in this space.

The Liam Neeson thriller, Blacklight, is one of the productions that harnessed the many benefits this new technology offers while shooting complex action scenes in Melbourne in late 2020.

By using lightwall LED projection and the Unreal Engine software, writer, director and producer Mark Williams (co-creator/executive producer of Ozark and director of The Honest Thief and The Accountant) was able to dream up his most ambitious sequences ever for the film’s intense car chase scenes.

Photo by Ben King

“Mark and our second unit action director, Guy Norris, came up with a multi-part sequence involving a rampaging garbage truck that was being pursued by Liam’s character’s prized possession, his Dodge Challenger,” said Paul Currie, producer of Blacklight.

“We also wanted to have some dialogue between Liam and our other lead character, but as soon as you start combining dangerous action with dialogue, you’re adding enormous complexity to the shooting requirements. Virtual production meant we could safely get the great shots we needed to create entertaining character-driven action scenes”.

Paul Currie, Producer, Blacklight

Shooting these scenes using virtual production technology at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre also had many other benefits, including solving scheduling constraints over the festive holiday period, allowing more focus on both the performances and the stunts, and enabling the production to minimise the movements of their crew during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Photo by Ben King

“Using the lightwall LED projection we were able to film a lot of Liam’s key shoots in his last couple of days on our interior set. We then moved on location to film the big action sequence with Liam’s stunt double, removing the need for Liam to travel,” said Paul.

“The technology also allows for both a more authentic actor performance and more exciting and memorable action scenes too. Knowing we had already shot Liam’s key dialogue and performance meant that we could totally focus on the action of the sequence when we were on location”.

Paul Currie, Producer, Blacklight

“Additionally, given everyone was working in such a controlled environment, virtual production greatly helped us with implementing our COVID-19 production safety protocols,” he said.

Photo by Ben King

Paul shared that he believes virtual production is going to be another storytelling tool that more and more filmmakers use and that it is extremely exciting for production in Victoria.

“If you are disciplined and prepared, it’s a remarkably effective way of working. We learnt a lot on Blacklight and we’re excited to refine our preproduction and previsualisation systems to further push the boundaries of technology to help tell stories in new and exciting ways,” said Paul. 

Film Victoria assisted Blacklight with location and production services and supported the production to film in Victoria through the Victorian Screen Incentive.

Photo by Paul Currie

To find out more about making your next project in Victoria, contact:
Joe Brinkmann
Manager – Production Attraction & Support
[email protected]