How Virtual Production Changes the Advertising Landscape
Behind the scenes view shooting on Volume stage with a large John Deere tractor in the background and many crew member silhouetted in the foreground.

How Virtual Production is Revolutionizing Advertising Production

Portrait of Lauren LangfittWritten by Signal Theory Executive Producer, Lauren Langfitt 

Imagine stepping onto a set where any background; from a New York cityscape to a Martian landscape is just a click away. Sound impossible?

Well, the future of advertising production is here and it’s virtual. No, I’m not talking about the virtual oversight that happened during COVID-19 or about motion design or CGI. I’m talking about a real game-changer that’s transforming how we create stunning videos – all in a fraction of the time and without breaking the bank. That’s right, I’m talking about Virtual Productions that take place on a 360° LED volume stage.

Once reserved for movie studios, this technology has taken leaps forward in both capabilities and accessibility, making it ready for prime time advertising production. 

I first discovered this technology when our team was faced with a creative concept that seemed impossible to pull off through traditional means. Multiple scenes, multiple locations and a tight budget? It felt like a producer’s nightmare. But then I learned about Virtual Production and suddenly the impossible became possible.

Three different locations created on the same Volume Stage

Three different locations from a John Deere spot – all created on a single volume stage.

The benefits of Virtual Production are “unreal.” 

With Virtual Production, the creative possibilities are literally endless. You want to set your ad on Mars? Done. You want to have your talent floating among whales? Sure. The only limit is your imagination. 

And the best part? You can previsualize everything before the shoot even starts. With Virtual Art reviews during preproduction, you can see your ad come to life weeks in advance, make tweaks, get approvals and hit the ground running on shoot day.

There are also lots of practical benefits. No more location scouting, no more paying for extras, less set building and a potentially smaller carbon footprint. It’s a win-win situation.

Embrace the possibilities but be aware of the limitations.

As with any new technology, there’s a learning curve. That’s why I want to share some tips I’ve learned along the way.

First, take the time to really understand the technology. Visit a volume stage, learn about the LED walls, the camera tracking systems and the rendering engines. It’ll help you make informed decisions and communicate better with your team.

Two views of an LED volume stage in use with different set-ups and many crew members working away.

Second, plan your shots carefully and previsualize everything. The more prepared you are going into the shoot, the smoother it will go.

Third, work with experienced professionals who know Virtual Production inside and out. A skilled cinematographer and a collaborative production team are key to bringing your vision to life.

Virtual Production is part of the future of advertising production. It’s allowing us to create spots that we never could have dreamed of before in less time and with less money. And the role of the producer is more important than ever in navigating this new landscape.

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