WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND — Weta Digital, Streamliner and Avalon Studios have introduced a new LED-stage virtual production service that’s based in Wellington. The service brings together live stage expertise and expert screen production capability to offer a new production methodology. The recent growth in realtime visual effects capabilities, along with the health and safety benefits of working in New Zealand, prompted the three companies to put together a ready-to-use package for productions of all sizes.
Weta Digital is known for its VFX work, including performance-driven, animated characters such as Gollum, Kong, Neytiri and Caesar. Streamliner is an all-in-one technical production company based in Wellington. And Avalon Film & Television Studios is an independent, privately-owned and operated film and television studio.
“Adding LED stage capabilities to Wellington’s Avalon Studios adds yet another compelling reason for productions to consider shooting in New Zealand,” explains Weta Digital executive producer, David Conley. “LED stages are the latest technique to take advantage of game-engine technology to provide virtual production workflows that can greatly expand what is possible on set. Being able to shoot final VFX imagery at the same time as principle photography adds another level of creative control for producers and filmmakers.”
The new workflow features large, easily-configurable LED panels that are able to display imagery well beyond 8K as a way to augment practical sets and often replace greenscreen shots for backgrounds and exteriors. It also lends itself to easily combining footage from multiple stages, making it well suited for keeping crew sizes smaller.
“We’re all focused on providing the safest work environment possible as productions look to ramp back up,” adds Gary Watkins, CEO, Avalon Studios. “This new setup allows producers to think very strategically about what they shoot and limit the number of actors and on-set crew required – changing post production requirements. Avalon has four main stages of varying sizes and dedicated spaces to house additional departments, making it a perfect hub for local and international productions.”
Streamliner general manager Richard Manu adds, “Our crew combines decades of live-event experience with an in-depth knowledge of high-end video systems and we’re well adept working on high-profile, time-critical projects. Although we were early adopters in LED screen technology, having that alone just isn’t enough. We have the established infrastructure to make this a plug and play pipeline rather than a science experiment. Our investment in several LED screen types; large format laser projection and world leading media server platforms will give productions confidence we have it all covered.”
The LED stage service is flexible and is built to scale for any size project.