The Chennai-based film technology company, Qube Cinema, which transformed the film industry by introducing state-of-the-art digital projectors in cinemas and aided the move towards digital cinema, has teamed up with actor Akkineni Nagarjuna’s Annapurna Studios to launch full-service virtual production stage in Hyderabad. The facility will be ready for use from October 1.
Senthil Kumar, Co-founder, Qube Cinema, told The Hindu that the production facility has been built at a cost of around ₹21 crore and will feature a 20-foot tall and 60-foot wide curved high brightness LED screen, which can be used by filmmakers to render complex photorealistic virtual locations in real-time.
Mr. Senthil said that he hopes that this technology will eventually result in filmmakers making less use of “green screens” used extensively to create visual effects except in complicated cases since it would reduce the cost of visual effects, on-location production costs and save on time by enabling the creative team to see close-to-final shots on camera, in real-time on the live-action set.
Asked why the company seems to have pivoted towards technology related to film production instead of exhibition, Mr. Senthil said: “While we are known for introducing latest technology in exhibition, we have a lot of experience in production side of things. We introduced AVID: editing films on a computer, digital sound technology and post-production technology. We want to work on transformational technology in entertainment,” he said.
This technology has been adopted widely in Hollywood and European film industries due to constraints imposed on film productions because of COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns. “In Hollywood alone, mainly in Los Angeles, around 50-60 virtual production stage has propped up. The shots will be easier to shoot and cheaper. Only when the complexity of the scene is very high, one might need to use green screens for the visual effects. The technology is such that when the camera moves the background will change, making the shot realistic,” he said.
Mr. Senthil said the company was looking for a similar partner to set up a similar facility in Chennai.