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Home > News > Industry News > Pump up the volume: Australia reveals world’s biggest virtual production studio

Pump up the volume: Australia reveals world’s biggest virtual production studio

The Sydney Morning Herald 2023-03-21 08:28:06

Australia has become home to the world’s largest virtual production filmmaking facility, with the unveiling today of a 40-foot (12.19-metre) high, 6000-screen facility that its builder claims is double the size of its nearest rival.

“It comfortably breaks the current Guinness World Record,” says Gary Marshall, vice-president of virtual production for NantStudios, which has built and will manage the facility at Docklands Studios Melbourne. “It’s twice as big. It’s the world’s largest stage for virtual production that exists.”

Virtual production has revolutionised film and television making in the few short years since The Mandalorian first introduced the concept.

At the heart of the new technology is what is known as the LED volume, a vast array of interconnected LED screens, connected to powerful computers and driven by gaming software, that allows pre-shot footage and digital “assets” to be integrated in the background while actors perform in the foreground.

“It’s the next generation of screen production,” says Matt Vitins, chief operating officer of Matchbox Pictures, who was a driving force in bringing the facility to Australia. “Not many other places can do it.”

Because the technology is so new, Australia was not at a competitive disadvantage in trying to grab a share of the action. And because Victoria has a thriving games industry and an established ability to support large-scale international TV productions such as Shantaram and Clickbait, Vitins says the opportunity and incentive to move quickly was great.

Nant has in fact built two volumes at Docklands, both of which integrate state-of-the-art articulated ceiling panels that allow for close to 360-degree filming.

The smaller facility is 10,000 square feet (the industry generally uses imperial measurements), which is a little larger than the one Industrial Light and Magic built for season one of The Mandalorian. The larger facility is 25,000 square feet, and incorporates a large water tank, allowing for seascape shots.