Unleash your imagination…

And save time, money and the planet by doing it!

Virtual Set is trending and it’s no surprise.
Virtual Set is an invaluable production tool offering camera tracking, keying and live compositing of computer-generated environments with live action green screen contents for a fraction of the time, cost, and environmental impact of “practical” sets. We put together this quick guide to help inspire and educate everyone who might be interested in exploring this useful and simple-to-use technology. So without further ado…

Here’s a five-part breakdown of what happens when you take advantage of Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot on a project:

Phase 1: Unleash your imagination.
Practical set building usually limits creativity because your budget and real-life parameters dictate what can and can’t be done. On the contrary, with Virtual Sets you can shoot a scene in any environment you can imagine. Recently, a client came to us with a challenge… They needed to shoot an actor in a massive, spotlessly-clean warehouse, and as we all know, “pristine warehouse” is an oxymoron! Very few productions have the budget to build such an impractical set. With Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot, the challenge was easily met. This impractical, nonexistent space could be created virtually—for less money than feeding your crew bagels on location. Even better, instead of lighting an entire 300-foot deep, 100-foot tall warehouse, they only had to light the live action talent—a major time saver. With Virtual Sets, you’re finally free to create without limits. If you can dream it, you can have it.

Phase 2: Design your environment.
Now that Virtual Set technology is ubiquitous in Hollywood and popular worldwide, there’s no shortage of great 3D artists who can create or customize environments for any concept you can dream. Unbound by traditional budgetary or logistical concerns, we will point you towards a range of trusted CGI providers who can create beautiful and efficient 3D solutions for you.

Phase 3: Combine your “practical” set elements into your CG.
Say you plan to shoot in a virtual log cabin where people are sitting around a table. While the whole “world” of your production can be CG, you’ll want the table and chairs to be “practical” set pieces, so your cast is sitting on real chairs—at a real table. It’s always a good idea, whenever possible, to have your talent connect with live props. Also, grounding your actors to a practical floor saves time with matte cleanups and shadow restoration. Now, you’re ready to roll!

Phase 4: Shoot in your Virtual Set.
Like a practical set, you and your cast can walk through your 3D world and see your composite IN REAL TIME. With real-time compositing, actors, directors, and DPs experience the seamless merge of both worlds. This is such an extraordinary time-saver! It’s also one of many ways that Virtual Sets can make your life easier and more productive. Instead of struggling to try to fit your story into a budget challenged 2-wall set, why not have an entire villa/ castle/ Mars/ or the Moon??… to tell your story?

Phase 5: Post-Production Work
When you use our Virtual Backlot, we supply three deliverables in addition to camera footage: 1. camera move metadata 2. a rough composite to edit offline 3. a matte to combine with your source footage. The move metadata is used to marry your source footage with the CG environment, and the matte we supply facilitates the composite. With the rough composite, you can edit offline, and then, proceed to color correction for matching your hi-res CG renders to your green screen elements. Lastly, take your footage online for final compositing and finishing! That’s a total of two extra digital steps to substantially save you on the time, money, and environmental impact of traditional set building!

Set yourself free!! 
Let’s talk about elevating your next project with Cobalt’s Virtual Backlot.