Modern Love Amsterdam, episode 3 'The Big Questions' is a great example of how virtual production with the use of LED backgrounds can solve multiple productional challenges in one sweep. Shot at ReadySet Studios Amsterdam, in-camera VFX were used extensively to create a virtual outdoor environment in winter with mist and bespoke Christmas decorations.
The production's schedule was set for a shoot in summer. In fact: on and around the longest day of the year, scenes were planned that would ideally require the longest night. Apart from that, the director and creative crew sought a specific look and feel in atmosphere in which mist would be ever present throughout the exterior scenes. Together with outspoken production design, requiring control to create more subtle, understating Christmas decorations, all seemed to point to shooting in a controllable environment that virtual production (or ICVFX) could provide.
Set in the picturesque village of Marken, occupying a peninsula on a lake (and therefore has a lighthouse), also has characteristic wooden houses that adds to the dreamy atmosphere of the episode.
To allow the crew control over the necessary factors mentioned before, the decision was made to create a virtual version of the village's centre. Having a responsive, real-time Unreal scene of the actual location, meant the dop could still make dynamic (hand-held) shots and last-minute adjustments to light and other elements that define the final result in-camera.
Photogrammetry is the art and science of extracting 3D information from photographs. The process involves taking overlapping photographs of an object, structure, or space, and converting them into 2D or 3D digital models.
Next to advanced virtual 3D scenes, Modern Love Amsterdam 'The Big Questions' also required scenes taking place inside a bus. One of the challenges was getting the full size city bus into the studio and in front of the LED-wall to play back pre-shot plate footage of an early morning sunset.
In-camera reflections and light interactions are preferred over chroma-key solutions whenever possible and realistic occurrences such as fogged windows to enhance the wintery setting are complex and time-consuming to achieve with VFX techniques.