The last couple of years has been a weird double-edged sword for the film industry. On one hand, the global pandemic means that the demand for movies and shows is at an all-time high. On the other hand, production to meet this demand is increasingly more difficult, what with travel restrictions, mask-mandates, and social distancing…If it couldn’t be done in-house, it wasn’t getting done.
Then “The Mandalorian” made virtual production a hit phenomenon. Thousands of studios began building LED walls and even after the pandemic had started to loosen its grip, the AR/XR hype train keeps accelerating. And why shouldn’t it? It was a stroke of genius! By using LED walls, the whole film crew is able to work as if on-site right from the comfort of the studio with the added bonus of there being a real visual set and not blank green walls waiting to be fixed in post.
But there’s a bottleneck in set production. The need for everything from photorealistic jungles, to high-rise board rooms, and dragon-infested canyons far exceeds the supply of trained creators.
If only there was an industry that has been generating interactive 3d sets for decades…Oh, wait…the video game industry! By creating some adaptive tools to integrate with the engines and assets being pumped out en-mass by game devs, it should be no problem to meet demand.
Enter Soma SoftWorks, a sister company to Soma Games, a veteran and prolific game development company operating since 2008. They’ve built hundreds of websites, mobile apps, and custom software solutions for discerning users like Intel, MGM, Four Seasons, and more. Located in Newberg, Oregon, they’re primed and ready to lead the charge to bring the worlds of video game development and media services together in the new and exciting world of virtual production.
Accompanied by Colours and Shapes, from Vancouver, BC, and ARWall in Burbank, CA – Soma SoftWorks first foray into this business was doing a series of “photo-surreal” sets for a Marriott Inn and Suites Commercial just last year.
“One of Soma’s defining values is “beauty for beauty’s sake’’ says Chris Skaggs, founder, and COO of Soma Games. “And to us, environmental backdrops are kind of the purest form of this. It’s not the focus, but the context. And yeah, you could easily phone it in, especially if the field of view is just going to blur it all out anyway. But we’d rather it be a shame to blur it out, not a necessity to hide a slack job.”
According to Chris, this new boom in virtual sets is “reminiscent of the early days in mobile games…There is a massive shift to this new technology and there just isn’t enough production to meet demand…” That said, Soma SoftWorks intends to be there and do its part to meet that demand. So if you are looking for a virtual set specialist check them out at SoftWorks.