Sagi Sree Hari Varma, of Visakhapatnam, who has successfully completed the prestigious Oscar Gold Program from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Mentor-Protege Initiative, under the mentorship of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ted Melfi, now dreams of making his first full-length feature film using the virtual production technology.
The young man from the city has already directed short films and commercials for the FIFA World Cup, United Nations, and a fictional short film ‘The Fool’, shot at Warner Bros Studios. He had studied film making in USC Cinematic Arts, California, and the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Russia.
“During the Oscar Gold Program, I was exposed to the biggest studios and productions in Hollywood and learnt about various aspects of film making. It was during the Gold Program that I was exposed to the innovative technology of ‘virtual production’, which was being developed at Disney Studios, at that time (2019)” Sree Hari Varma, told The Hindu during his recent visit to Visakhapatnam.
“My film revolves around Indian mythology, science fiction and the metaphysics. I am planning to shoot this film with at least 60 to 70 % of the content filmed using virtual production. The technique, which started in the West a few years ago, is still at a nascent stage in India. I have written the story of my film in such a way that it offers immense scope for the adoption of the new technology,” he says.
“About half-a-dozen such virtual production facilities are available in India, including one at Annapurna Studios in Hyderabad. A few films have utilised the technology to shoot a few songs or scenes. I, and my visual effects supervisor M. Seshuvardhan, have made a 5-minute ‘proof of concept’ video to convince producers of the new technology, and the impact it can make on audiences. The voice over for this is done by Shilpi Arora for the English version and by Kersti Ilves for the Russian version,” he says.
“The new technology uses 20 by 60-foot LED screens as the backdrop for the shooting. The live visuals all around would make the actors feel as though they are in a natural environment and they react as though they are in the same environment. This is the next biggest revolution happening in cinema,” says Sree Hari Varma.
“The biggest advantage in this technology is that the visual effects are rendered and captured real-time on camera during the filming instead of integrating them later during post- production,” he adds.
Anyone interested in reaching out to Sree Hari Varma and his team can email at firstname.lastname@example.org