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Virtual Production

Virtual production system design

Designing for production use cases

The cost of virtual production systems.

Virtual Production is a catch all phrase for using game engines, realtime rendering and creative tools to produce digital content in real-time. Virtual production has become the action of ‘doing’ real-time production where human users, AI actors and creators can all come together and see what they are making in real-time. Add real-time capture and recording functionality and you have a real-time production system.

But looking beyond the catch all phrase of virtual production towards VP system design, it helps if system developers think about virtual production as real-time in-camera VFX, augmented or mixed reality and fully virtual production.  With these 3 core concepts, VP system designers can effectively build system around a use-case.

Average hardware investment for virtual production systems by use-case:

LED for virtual production
In-camera Realtime VFX

LED wall stages, real-time reflections and dynamic real-time lighting.


Average system cost.

Ncam Reality
Augmented Production

Real-time compositing live actors with augmented reality sets and digital VFX.


Average system cost.

Virtual Production

VR scouting, mo-cap body and facial capture, virtual worlds, real-time animation.


Average system cost.

The virtual production spectrum

Design systems based on the use case.

As you can see the virtual production use case also dictates the equipment and the cost of investment in virtual production systems, and it is also no coincidence that the more real people and equipment you require on-set the higher the cost is. Whereas, when you look at the lowest cost and most accessible use cases for virtual production, fully virtual productions systems are accessible, at a fraction of the cost of in-camera virtual production systems.

The above costs represent the average investment in virtual production technologies given the use case of the systems design. They also indicate where early adopters in virtual production technology have originated from.

In-camera VFX requires LED and dynamic lighting where the final pixel is light, CG light is captured on the cinema camera sensor, where as augmented reality production is used within the TV Graphics and Broadcast industry mainly for virtual studio sports and news content, placing presenters in virtual sets.

Today fully virtual production using VR hardware and high powered render engines is finding its way into the hands of independent virtual storytellers. Where in-camera virtual production is expensive, real-time virtual production, shootying fully synthetic is affordable for everyone.

The virtual production spectrum if fluid, you can move back and forth for functionality, and uses are not limited to the above use cases cases in any strict way. As well as investing in large scale in-camera VFX stages, film studios are using widely available fully virtual reality systems to engage their teams in real-time fully immersive production methods, such as VR virtual scouting, VR pre-visualisations and real-time performance capture.

Let’s look at virtual production system design.

OSF design virtual production systems for all use cases and scenarios. Given the above as a guide, we advise our clients on the best virtual production system designs based on their specific use case and budget. If you’d like to discuss your virtual production system and use case we offer a 1 hour free consultation to discuss your technology needs and costs. To book your free no obligation consultation please email

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