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How Movies Will Be Directed In The Future

Everything you see is fake, except the person holding a camera. (Though the camera is also fake.)

How Movies Will Be Directed In The Future
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What is a camera? For a century of filmmaking, it was a mechanical apparatus used to capture light on film. But more and more, the camera is really just someone’s mouse in post production software, dragging, dropping, and changing the angle on a computer-generated 3D scene. So a big-budget film like The Avengers, with so much algorithmically smoothed compositing and pixelated invention, looks totally different than a perfectly flawed film like The Godfather, shot by a camera aimed by a human being.

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But is there a way we could get the best of both worlds? Maybe. A new project called Make it Film! by the art director MuRo, featured on Prosthetic Knowledge, allows someone to direct a computer generated movie inside virtual reality. The scene is loaded in Unity–a major game and real-time animation engine–and its actors move about as they’ve been preprogrammed. Then, using the Oculus motion controllers and VR headset, MuRo moves his way through a space as the film’s director, and shoots it at 1:1 scale–just like if he was filming real actors.

Perhaps this all sounds like a gimmick, but one look at the footage he’s shot will leave you feeling otherwise. In one clip, he walks his way toward two, low-resolution models talking at a table. But because of this bipedal movement, the natural shake of the camera, and I think, the sheer empathetic responsiveness of any good camera operator framing a live performer, the scene is suddenly infused with emotion. For lack of a better term, it looks cinematic.

As for whether or not MuRo plans to market the software as anything more than an experiment, he has yet to decide. But I hope he does. Because The Godfather is a much better film than The Avengers.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach

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