UK-China networking funding success

I’m really happy to report that our colleague Associate Professor Xiaosong Yang has been funded to develop a network to explore links between the UK and China in Cloud Based Virtual Film Production. The project commences during February, and we look forward to working with industry and academic partners in developing this essential network.

Virtual Production defines a set of new production practices where practitioners work in and interact directly with a virtual set. VP reduces the need to move crews and equipment to location and enables remote working in Virtual Reality, reducing CVD-19 risks, the environmental footprint, production costs and upends the traditional production process by blurring the lines between production departments. The logical next step in the evolution of the discipline is to transition production in film, TV and broadcast media practices from those that are mainly facilities-bound to working environments that are cloud based remotely collaborative.

Global Virtual Production Market is expected to reach £2.2b by 2026, rising at a rate of 14.3%. UK studios and core technology providers are global leaders in this space, leading to the Digital Catapult and Screenskills to identify this as a critical growth area. As of November 2020, there were 150 Virtual Production studios in the world, and 70 new stages have been designated for construction across UK until 2023. The UK is well positioned to provide technology leadership in this.

Virtual production has also showed great potential in China with its record-high box office income and first-class artificial intelligence innovations and industry (speakers at Shanghai International Film Festival). It bridges western technologies and Chinese culture and stories. In the past one year China Film industry has made enormous investment in building up virtual production studios and organized the Shanghai International Virtual production Summit at June 2021 with over 10000 attendees and key speakers from all around the world. China Film Virtual Stage (CFVS), the first virtual production stage in China, recently opened a brand new 800 sq meter green screen stage to offer Chinese clients the most advanced virtual set shooting services for both movie and TV episodic shows.

The aim of this project is to explore and analyse how research and innovation collaboration between the UK and China in the film production industry currently works, how it works best, and how it could work in future. The main focus is targeted at investigating the challenges and potential solutions for the next generation technology – Cloud based Virtual Film Production.

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