Lucasfilm Shows Off the Future of Filmmaking?


My social network circles have been abuzz about this video clip showing a Star Wars demo that combines motion capture with real-time rendering that rivals the best videogame cutscenes – I only say “videogame” quality because the clip is a camera capture of video presentation so it’s kind of hard to judge the finer details without seeing the original clip.

Lucasfilm shows off the future of filmmaking? Scenes get rendered out in real time, removing the need for post-production


Thanks for the link.

Nice video. It was certainly great quality, bit also absolutely videogame quality (which is still fantastic).

However, I don’t think it is really the future, it is actually more like the present.
You can do almost all of that right now in CryEngine.
Certainly the rendering part. The mocap is really nice,
and seems very stable, but that isn’t revolutionary either.

The time of day changing is a common feature in nearly every videogame sandbox editor, especially in CryEngine.

Again, thanks for posting it though!


I recommend to read this article.


In fact, it’s not the furture nor the present, it’s the past! Tintin, Avatar etc used such technologies.


Definitely not a way to bypass post-production. I think the main uses are so that the director has a better idea of what something will look like as they are doing motion capture, and if they integrate with something like a VR headset it could give actors a better idea of what their character is doing.


I saw a feature on avatar and it was done very similar way with only difference being that the models were at much worse quality.
Give or take 5-10 years and we should have the computing power to go real time CG movie making in my opinion.



Move along, nothing to see here.

(why can’t I have 10 exclamation marks in my post?)


I highly doubt it. Currently, even simple tv productions are FAR from realtime…
Yes, some things in gaming is approaching film quality, but the bar for vfx is constanly being pushed as well. I doubt rendering will go from 10-20 hours per frame to suddenly rendering 24 frames per second within 5-10 years.
Would be nice though. And certainly wouldn’t eliminate post production. It would just elimate the time wasted on waiting for the render to come through :slight_smile:


Cool link , but in fact it looks like an ordinary shooting day at WETA digital … in the end ! :slight_smile:

Let’s hope they will put as much love in the Script and in Actor Direction , than in all the technological stuff this time !




Well the render is pretty good, for being in real time, thats true, but it works becouse there is few interaction of actors with environment, they are pretty static, aside a few steps on the scene, as you can see those few boxes falling lack completely of reality, think what happens when the actors has to run, roll or jump on the scene? or when a flight ship guns soil and huts genrating lots of debris and dust, thats postproduction for I think.

Maybe what they are showing could work for a theme park, but in a big production today you need much more, still regreting the closing of LucasArt by the way


That is really cool.


Meh nothing new really… physics were horrible btw


I think that, you know, this may be just a start of what the real goal is, that is to say, things will get way more efficient over the years. Its great that ILM is studying this, and i also think new Star Wars movies will use and push these technologies alot. So yes, it may be the case that post producton will be reduced a lot over the years.


It’s not gonna reduce anything, it’s gonna shift workload from one job to another. What very likely will happen it that old jobs die out and new jobs appear.

Ten years ago movies where shot on actual film stock(and still is, not just in that amount anymore), than came that transition to digital, where suddenly jobs popped up like dustbusting film scans before DI(I had this job for about a year) and then disappeared because now everything(with exceptions) is shot digitally so you don’t have scratches and dust from camera gates in stock footage.
But it also resulted in people shooting more in general and shooting more footage per production(hard disk space is cheap opposed to film stock, hell yeah, let’s do 15 takes instead of 4 and let post deal with it). Shooting digital created jobs like Digital Image Technician, Data Wranglers, DI operators who do what now more and more disappearing material assistants and film lab employees did before.

Postproduction (which is a way bigger field than only bling bling VFX eye candy) will not disappear because you cannot produce a movie that’s completely like the end result from the start, so there will be always a tremendous amount of work which has to be done by people who know what they do. That demo was impressing but not flawless, so someone will be needed to correct that flaws.

And another thing. There might will be realtime CG in 5 years IF(big if, f***ing big if) the distribution technology around it won’t evolve meaning 4K being the end of it which is not gonna happen.

We’ve seen TV going from SD to HD and now ultra HD and it’s not gonna stop there.
It’s a market and once it’s saturated there’s gonna be need for a new market by those who deliver. We don’t need HD, crappy TV is gonna be crappy TV regardless to resolution and it’s not gonna get less crappy in the soon to be come UltraMegaBazinga HD**+ ultra, but hey, evereybody is totally gonna need new stuff.

Which will lead to new technologies, new workflows, new software, new jobs.

If you search this forum there will be endless threads of “will new software make may job obsolete since now everybody can do 3d” which are bollocks, there’s pencils around and paper for almost free yet we still don’t see 6 billion Da Vincis walking around.

There will always be work to do and staff that get’s it done. The question is where that work is gonna happen and who’s gonna do it.


i agree that this is not the end of postproduction, but this is a process that tries to start from previsualization, to production, to final product without too much reworking/ adjustments.
For example: for Avatar, Cameron did similar things, but with quite low poly models, to have a previsualization of many scenes.
Then, WETA picked up that material, as well as camera for face expressions and acting from the actors, replaced the low res models with detailed meshes, retargeted animation and facial expression, re did the lighting, texturing, fx and more to produce the final shots.

Now this proces seems to go towards a high quality level of previz, where more things get automated, where director sees an even more complete version of the scene, so that it is more similar to final shots we will see on the movie.

It’s clear that a live action movie is very complex , so you can have real actors on real environments (And this will require editing, color correction and more)
real actors on sets with green screens for set extensions or other reasons
or CGI elements added to real environment, and so on, and that the bar will be raised for sure in time, so its not like post pro is going to disappear, but seems to me it will get reduced.


I think we are going to the opposite pole, there is more post production than ever.


I hate that phrase “the future of filmmaking”. Its quite possibly A future, but definitely not THE future of filmmaking. Its just another tool in the filmmakers toolbox.

That said, there is nothing really revolutionary about this technology, it seems to be a polished version to a similar system they used on Avatar.

Regardless of being the future or not, or being new or not, it looks really cool!


Wow. I don’t see any reason that eventually the quality couldn’t rise to CG levels. The stormtroopers looked great, the Trandoshan was definitely game-level though.

Also, one of the clips on that page is “Justin Bieber gets hit by grenade”.


That’s ironic, since several monitors clearly show the Unreal Engine (the interface looks like UE3 but it could be UE4). And although I agree that most of the technology already exists, the tech is not the most important part in such circumstances. I prefer the Unreal Engine over the CryEngine because of its tools such as the material editor and Cascade which can do more than the CryEngine equivalent. But of course that’s my own opinion. Still, it’s remarkable they use the Unreal Engine.


the question is, as someone allready mentioned- how does it cope in a real movie scene situation…
These presentation which are tailored for optimum efficiancy are often misleading…

non the lest i was very impressed with the quality and creative implications…
though i was just as impressed with rin-tin-tin…