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Virtual Films from Hollywood to Austria

Report on the c-tv Conference 2022

Virtual Films from Hollywood to Austria
Copyright: Marlies Riepl

This year's c-tv Conference at the St. Pölten UAS was dedicated to the topic of virtual production. At the conference, international experts presented the latest trends in the area of moving image production, reported on the technology's entry into Hollywood, and on the hurdles and opportunities of the new film production methods in Austria.

Virtual production, a still quite young and rapidly developing area of the film and TV sector, has the potential to change the industry. This year's c-tv Conference at the St. Pölten UAS shed light on the current trends and what is necessary to make virtual productions successful.

The Status Quo in Virtual Production

Rosa von Suess, head of the campus educational TV station c-tv and organiser of the c-tv Conference, is satisfied with the outcome of the conference: “With the conference, we were able to take a more detailed look at virtual production and find out that there are some innovations coming our way, both for the domestic industry and for media universities. It is our aim to incorporate those into our curricula even more.”

According to von Suess, in the future not only car commercials or music videos will be created using virtual production, but also series and documentaries. “At the moment, the film and TV production industry is experiencing high demand and skilled workers in traditional and new film professions are scarce. Educational institutions face two types of challenges: On the one hand, it is necessary to take over the training of the professions formerly taught on set, and on the other hand, it is also necessary to train students in those areas that have not even fully arrived in the industry”, says von Suess.

International Speakers

At the conference, international experts spoke on the topic. Sven Bliedung von der Heide, CEO of the production company Volucap, reported on the use of his volumetric studio for the current production of “Matrix 4” and the development of a catalogue of high-quality 3D scans of various, freely selectable characters for virtual 3D spaces. Bliedung von der Heide believes that European companies are technologically equipped to keep up with U.S. production, but that political motivation must be created to bring major productions to Europe.

Writer, director and producer Alex Martin presented a production method that spreads costs across multiple countries. His series “Capello Code” uses the potential of virtual production to make costly shoots in hard-to-reach locations available for multiple broadcast and language areas. Thus, several regional editions can share the enormous costs of a production.

Lisa Gray, award-winning executive producer and VP producer at MARS Volume, reported that the virtual production market in the UK is growing very rapidly and that there are currently not enough professionals. Against this background, both virtual and conventional film production will be in demand in the future.

Virtual Production in Austria

In Austria, the level of interest in virtual production is also very high. For Andreas Göltl from the production company Media Apparat, it seems essential to create sufficient incentives so that virtual production can also take place in Austria and the know-how built up does not migrate with the productions.

This is a demand that the WKO Film- und Musikwirtschaft NÖ (WKO film and music industry Lower Austria), one of the supporters of the conference, makes continuously, even outside of virtual production.

According to the lecturers of the conference, the connection of a virtual studio to film schools would be a good way to integrate the rather new production style into education, and many areas of the technology still have the potential to be explored.

Student Projects Presented

In a pitching session, students from the St. Pölten UAS presented format ideas for TV, over-the-top content (OTT), and mobile. The latest student films were presented in a five-hour showcase programme of short feature films and short documentaries.

In cooperation with the WKO Film- und Musikwirtschaft NÖ, masterclasses were held at the conference: The focus was on relevant industry topics and students of the master degree programme Digital Media Technologies exchanged ideas with industry experts. Finally, there was a get-together with a DJ line-up.

The c-tv team recorded the conference and ORF III from the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast the entire ctv conference.

You want to know more? Feel free to ask!
FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. von Suess Rosa

FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Rosa von Suess

Lecturer Deputy Academic Director Media Technology (BA) Course Leader Film, TV and Media - Creation and Distribution (MA) Department of Media and Digital Technologies Head of c-tv