Virtual-Production Funding Project 'BaViPro' Successfully Concludes with Pilot Shoot

Thu 3rd Aug, 2023

Photo Copyright by MartinJhenne - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0Munich's Bavaria Studios in Geiselgasteig witnessed the successful culmination of the two-year-long research and development initiative, the "BaViPro" funding project. The project was marked by a pilot shoot on July 27th and 28th, 2023. Dr. Hans Michael Strepp, the Chief Officer at the Bavarian State Ministry of Digital Affairs, visited the set, engaging with partners ARRI, Bavaria Studios, Eyeline Studios, and the creative minds from Rat Pack Filmproduktion to explore the technological advancements achieved.

The heart of the "BaViPro" project - an acronym for Bavarian Virtual Production - involved the creation of an LED stage for virtual film productions within Bavaria Studios. Collaborative efforts from three Bavarian companies - ARRI, Bavaria Studios, and Eyeline Studios - pooled their expertise and development capabilities to enhance the film production process through innovative digital technologies.

The Bavarian State Ministry of Digital Affairs backed the project with a funding of EUR2.7 million, contributing towards the overall cost of over EUR5 million. Judith Gerlach, the Bavarian State Minister for Digital Affairs, noted, "New technologies offer entirely fresh and innovative approaches to creative work. They are, therefore, groundbreaking for Bavarian film production and the endeavors of filmmakers in our state. 'BaViPro' represents a continued investment in making the film industry in Bavaria even more appealing, confidently standing up to international comparisons."

The Bavaria Studios focused on building a forward-looking fiber-optic-based studio infrastructure and seamlessly integrating real set construction with virtual 3D elements, aiming to enhance realism. The studio also developed production-ready workflows and practical guidelines for content creation in virtual production environments. ARRI advanced the integration of its globally acclaimed camera and lighting systems into modern data networks, enabling digital control and management of involved components. Tools facilitating precise coordination among camera, lens, set lighting, and LED wall were developed, ensuring flexibility and quality in the virtual studio's operation. Eyeline Studios introduced the Stage-Control software, a networked system gathering digital information from all production devices on set, streamlining workflows efficiently.

Through the "BaViPro" virtual production project, Bavaria Studios expanded its modern media hub in Geiselgasteig. Dr. Christian Franckenstein, CEO of Bavaria Film, remarked, "For more than a century, Bavaria Film's studio location in southern Munich has consistently been a center for cinematic technological innovations. The Virtual-Production project follows this tradition. After two intense years of research, our studios are now home to the technology and know-how for virtual productions. We extend a warm welcome to those interested in discussing their production projects. We express our gratitude to the Free State of Bavaria for supporting this forward-looking research project, and to our partners ARRI and Eyeline Studios for their excellent and consistently focused collaboration."

ARRI, through its new business segment ARRI Solutions, proactively forges ahead into networked production formats with virtual and integrative components. Kevin Schwutke, Senior Vice President & Head of Business Unit Solutions at ARRI, highlighted, "With ARRI Solutions, we address the globally growing demand for virtual production and workflow solutions for studio operators and content producers. The technologies developed within 'BaViPro' will now be consistently applied across all our projects."

Stephan Trojansky, President of Eyeline Studios, stressed, "Optimizing digital production workflows is a prerequisite for realizing productions efficiently, agilely, and with the highest quality. We thank our globally operating Bavarian partners ARRI and Bavaria Studios for the excellent collaboration and the Free State of Bavaria for supporting this innovative and cross-disciplinary research."

Rat Pack Filmproduktion joined the consortium as an enthusiastic pioneer for evaluation. During the two-day pilot production at Studio 12 of Bavaria Studios, director Sebastian Niemann and cinematographer Gerhard Schirlo, along with their team, tested the technologies developed within the "BaViPro" framework. These technologies may find application in the adaptation of Markus Heitz's novel series "The Dwarves." The film material produced during the pilot will be presented by the project partners and Rat Pack later in the year.

Director Sebastian Niemann commented, "Working in the LED stage is an invaluable tool, especially for elaborate fantasy narratives like Markus Heitz's 'The Dwarves.' It allows me to create fantastic and intricate worlds with even greater credibility, resulting in shots with significant VFX components. This is particularly helpful in working with actors who can move freely within the digital set, having a concrete visualization of the world before them, unlike the classic blue or greenscreen. Another major advantage of the LED stage is the interaction between real elements and virtual imagery, often lending a more believable and harmonious integration."

Photo Copyright by MartinJhenne - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


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