Lucasfilm knows a thing or two about making movies, and executives at the company are convinced that video game engines will play a huge role in film production within the next decade. Chief technology strategy officer Kim Libreri laid out the company's vision at BAFTA in London this week. Libreri says that computer graphics will eventually evolve to a point that allows video game assets to be inserted in scenes in realtime — drastically lessening the burden of post-production for filmmakers. "Everyone has seen what we can do in movies, and I think most people will agree the video game industry is catching up quite quickly, especially in the next generation of console title," Libreri said.
"You'll leave a movie set and the shot is pretty much complete."
"I'm pretty sure within the next decade, we're going to see a convergence in terms of traditional visual effects capabilities." He mentioned "realistic fire, creatures, and environments" as some of the video game graphics that could make their way into film production, all working "completely interactively" according to Libreri. "We think that computer graphics are going to be so realistic in real time computer graphics that, over the next decade, we'll start to be able to take the post out of post-production; where you'll leave a movie set and the shot is pretty much complete," Libreri said.
Lucasfilm and its effects company Industrial Light & Magic have already put the theory to practice; they developed a prototype film built with a gaming engine as a "vision statement" ILM's future pursuits. They've also used 1313, a Star Wars video game abandoned after Disney's takeover of Lucasfilm, as a proof of concept for realtime motion capture. (We visited the same stage where this demo was captured last year.) "If you combine video games with film-making techniques, you can start to have these real deep, multi-user experiences," Libreri said. "Being able to animate, edit and compose live is going to change the way we work and it's really going to bring back the creative experience in digital effects." You'll see some of Lucasfilm's magic in the video from The Inquirer below.