The Future of Television Production

Posted by telemedia_admin

The Future of Television Production

6th Apr 2021

Have you played a video game on the new Sony PlayStation 5? Realistic isn’t it? The images are produced by a system called Epic Unreal Engine 5 (Epic is owned by Tencent, which in turn is owned by Naspers). Watched the latest Hollywood action movie? Most of the backgrounds are produced by the same Epic engine (using either green screen, or 8K video wall).

Epic are the leaders in video game graphics, and are so successful at creating realistic images, that the movie industry has turned to them for realistic movie graphics. But this is only the beginning. Epic are about to release their latest bit of software, MetaHuman Creator. Designed to create realistic human characters seamlessly and quickly for video games, the implications for movies and television are immediately obvious.

You can pay Jeremy Maggs to read the nightly news bulletin, or you could create a version of him in Epic, and have it read the news for you. No salary, wardrobe, or HR issues. No days off, or sick days. It doesn’t even age (but it can if you want it too).

Imagine you download the latest James Bond movie onto your PlayStation, but you always preferred Sean Connery as Bond. No problem. One of the options will be to replace the lead characters with others. Just choose Sean and he will seamlessly replace Daniel. What if you could be Bond? Five minutes in front of the Epic camera connected to the PlayStation and wham, you are Bond! And your other half can be the Bond Girl!

This sounds like science fiction, but it is not far off. Certainly, television series using Epic and MetaHumans only, will be with us shortly. Producers and directors will be creating, and completing, drama series on their computer at home, without the need for cast, crew, or locations. Viewers will not be able to tell the difference, except that the Epic created shows will look better. The implications for the industry are seismic.

Obviously not all television production lends itself to this approach. Reality, sport, nature documentaries and authentic news production are some examples. There are also some serious ethical issues. Already the phenomenon known as Deep Fake is with us on social media. Once you can replace the face in a video with any other face, human nature dictates that some idiot will, for fun, money, or revenge.

Concerns aside, Epic, or their equivalent, is soon going to be the dominant force in television and movie production. The good news is that, like the DaVinci Resolve editing software, Epic Unreal Engine is free to download. Better get cracking!

Rob Brown
March 2021