The Virtual Production Glossary helping to establish common vocabulary
January 19, 2022

The Virtual Production Glossary helping to establish common vocabulary

LOS ANGELES — The Virtual Production Glossary ( is a new resource that’s designed to help establish a common vocabulary for professionals working in virtual production. The database was established through a collaboration between the Visual Effects Society (VES), the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), and a range of industry experts, with support from Epic Games and Netflix. Given the evolving nature of virtual production, the glossary is intended to be a dynamic, industry-propelled effort rather than a static document. Suggestions for new terms and updates to existing terms are encouraged via its website and the Virtual Production Glossary Discord community.

The multidisciplinary nature of virtual production requires a common language between departments whose work has traditionally been siloed across phases of production. As defined in the glossary, virtual production “uses technology to join the digital world with the physical world in realtime. It enables filmmakers to interact with the digital process in the same ways they interact with live-action production.” 

Virtual production processes — whether in the art department, visualization, cinematography, in-camera visual effects, remote collaboration, or realtime compositing — are empowering teams to work together in new ways. contributor Ben Grossmann, co-founder of Magnopus explains, “Virtual production unites two different worlds in film production that have been running separately for the last couple decades. Physical and digital production can now happen together, creating a better experience for the filmmakers. Similarly, The Virtual Production Glossary brings the terminology of those two worlds together, shines a light on the meanings and clarifies the differences with context, so that the physical and digital crews can work together seamlessly on the same stage."
Three-time Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Rob Legato, ASC, also contributed to the Glossary. 

“The pandemic has sped up the demand to work together while not under the same roof,” says Legato. “Simple creative questions can be answered easily and visually using shared screens via video conference, and the interactivity that virtual production can afford speeds up the creative decision-making process. Having the Virtual Production Glossary as a resource will help minimize miscommunications associated with the terms that define many of these newly emerging processes and technologies.”

Christina Caspers is the managing director of Dark Bay, a virtual production stage based at Studio Babelsberg in Germany. The studio recently wrapped shooting the upcoming Netflix series 1899, and Caspers says the team there is looking forward to this new resource. 

"Virtual Production enhances workflows and responsibilities and therefore all kinds of communication between departments across a production - from prep, to principal photography to post,” says Caspers. “It’s a form of production and not a technical tool. That’s why creatives can use virtual production to expand their imaginary worlds and storytelling processes. This glossary helps us all speak the same language when working in virtual production.”