When I left a 10 years long career as a camera operator, hailing from the set of Harry Potter to turn to visual effects I thought I was decisively stepping into the future of filmmaking. Today, another decade later I realise that VFX will only be remembered as a very transient, hybrid and fugitive moment in the history of the film industry. That’s because the future of filmmaking is in fact fully virtual. Soon, and before anyone notices – since no one will be able to tell thedifference – the first virtual ‘live-action’ will be released. Until this eventually happens, there’s one last technological frontier to be conquered, the digital human. An extreme degree of realism is necessary to defeat the so called uncanny valley, or in other word that ambiguous existential discomfort felt by human beings when exposed to a nearly similar but not good enough replica of our species. Once digital humans manage to seamlessly confound real humans, filmmaking as we know it – sets, actors, crews, lights and cameras – will be as relevant as folded paper maps in the age of satnav.
Check out the Virtual Production Field Guide by Unreal Engine / Epic Game.