Dancing With The Stars
Scripps needed an innovative way to film their TV Upfronts - the primary TV media sales event in the USA. With Covid shut-downs and inaccessible sets, the network needed a solution to film four locations in one day.
This was the first-ever use of virtual production for TV Upfronts. With practical foreground sets and photoreal 3D background environments running in Unreal Engine, many viewers didn’t even realize they were watching a virtual production.
The project was part of the Final Pixel’s mission to create virtual production solutions for clients who don’t have blockbuster budgets. There were a number of technical firsts: using two cameras with two frustums in a commercial, using a fully-tracked zoom lens, inserting video into TV screens in the environment, tracking green screen elements on the LED wall, and to cap it all, the incredible feat of shooting 18 pages of dialogue in a day.
The four scenes included a studio apartment, a night-time alleyway exterior, a beauty salon and a suburban living room. After several rounds of mood boards and sketches, the client approved direction for the four different environments. Our Virtual Art Department then created 3D models of the scenes in Unreal Engine, all prepared for run-time presentation in 3D on our LED wall. We then involved the DoP and director in the lighting of the models, and we were able to give the clients in New York a “flythrough” of the models over Zoom. Clients could see exactly how the scene would look in-camera, with no unpleasant surprises. This is a key benefit of virtual production.