Cobalt Produces Multiple Episodes for Global Brand Using Virtual Production: A Case Study

We recently wrapped an incredible project for an international brand (you’ve definitely heard of them), and would love to take a minute to talk about it. Of course, we understand how secrets work, so we’re taking a ride on the vague train! Not to worry, we’ll cautiously break it down for you as we’re highly aware of what can and cannot be shared 😉

That said, we think it’s important to discuss the process and how we created two white-label episodes in record time… for a fraction of the budget. 

In turn, our production client was able to impress their global client.  Meaning, everyone benefited from our Virtual Production methodology

Let’s take a minute to look at the challenges presented at the top, the solution we developed, and the key takeaways at the end.

Project Overview

In this recent case, an enterprise business approached us needing two episodes for in-house training that they produce several times a year. These episodes play on their in-house channel for their branded network. They are shown to over 100,000 employees worldwide, and are used to leverage critical security protocols (among other things).  

Each program highlights a form of data security and best practices. It typically involves some type of hacker, doing something, that eventually compromises different types of data. Basically, the hacker is after your data, so what are you going to do to combat it?

In this project, Kara & Alex took the reins, co-directing and producing both episodes. This was only after they thoroughly listened to the key problems, discussed challenges, and brainstormed the best solution. And all of this because? Cobalt Stages is a production company first—that just so happens to offer amazing turnkey soundstages

Initial Challenges

So, what were the main problems this client faced?

The main issues were timing and budget. In the past, these episodes were shot on location, mostly within the United States. More than 30 programs had already been produced, but the episodic lacked global context and relevance that reflected the brand’s expansion.

Thus, the client wanted to shoot in four global cities (capturing the nuances, their tones and textures without the prohibitive cost of international globetrotting). They also considered subtitles and dubbing for universal appeal. The client expressed that they understood the reach, but they really needed to hit one out of the park, and they were hoping we were just the team to make it happen.

This truly was the greatest challenge: 

  • What is the smartest production modality for the best production value?
  • How can an international shoot be accomplished with limited funds? 
  • How can we depict a myriad of global cities without stepping foot outside of the US? 

We rolled up our sleeves, sly smiles painted on our faces. We had JUST the solution!

Working Solution

In order to offer our client a high production value, with infinitely lower costs, we suggested the use of Virtual Production. This gave them the ability to appear as if they were shooting in several different cities and scenes, all without leaving the Woodstock soundstage.

Planning and Storyboard

We needed to recreate several scenes, both interior and exterior, with extras and dialogue. The first scene was a clean and organized control room monitored at the company’s HQ. It had to contain lots of screens, monitors, and details. The other scene was a grungy and dark hacker’s lair, that required a lot of texture.

Methodology and Technology

After careful planning, we were able to do a 4K live composite using our Virtual Mo-Sys technology. We created CG environments, coupled with small, practical sets, which gave actors the ability to relate to and touch the equipment. This enabled us to output live, 4K resolution composites of the CG environment paired with performance live-action.

In both scenes, we had video screens composited all over the place. This enabled us to recreate rich depth, like moving cars in the background of the hacker’s lair or extras walking in Chicago’s Millennium Park, their images reflecting perfectly off the famous Bean. 

Virtual Production also gave us the power to change the time of day or even the season, with the simple click of a button. How’s that for saving time and money?

Crews and Resources

Cobalt prioritizes production, and we collaborate with a wide range of networks to get the job done. In this case, we used a mix of local and city crews to save money and facilitate the entire workflow. 

We possess a huge roster of local talent, so if you’re coming from out of town, that’s one less thing to worry about. We also offer an array of opportunities in case you want to bring your own people (deep discounts for food and lodging, anyone?).

Key Takeaway

At the end of the day, the project was a huge success. The client came out and shot two ambitious episodes that took them around the world in just three days!

Even better, they were able to impress their own client. They demonstrated that the same level of quality, production value, and depth from past award-winning episodes, could be recreated at a percentage of the price. 

How much would it have cost to ship this crew across the world for several different shoots, over weeks of time? What would it cost to build each set and hire local talent in four different locations?

The answer is simple. Virtual Production is leading the forefront of AI-enhanced production. It’s a technology that can save a global brand thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and priceless business relationships.

Ready to slash your budget and save time on your next production? We’re ready to brainstorm.

Let’s Talk.

Want to learn about Virtual Production and how to use it?

Cobalt’s got you covered. As the first company to offer Virtual Sets on the East Coast, we have the experience to guide you. Let’s have some fun.


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