Can you introduce yourself?
Parth Shah is a Motion Capture Supervisor and Virtual Production Specialist at Green Rain Studios and Visual Effects Society’ Secretary for India Chapter. Before joining Green Rain, Parth was instrumental in setting up Centroid India’s Mumbai studio and supervised the studios’ performance capture, virtual production, and previs services. Parth has a passionate understanding of Performance Capture, In-Camera VFX (LED and Realtime Compositing on Green Screen), Photogrammetry, VR Scouting, real-time AR, Visualization (Pitchvis, Previs, Stuntvis, Techvis, and Postvis), Volumetric Capture, Simulcam, and Projection. He has gained a wealth of experience working across Film VFX, Games and television, and already has an impressive list of credits to his name.
What inspired you to step into the VFX/ Animation Industry?
My passion for 3D Animation and Drawing at the age of 15 inspired me to get into this industry. I used to draw a lot of characters and flipbook animation. My Art teacher introduced me to 3D Animation and since the age of 15 I tried gettings my hand on to applications like Maya, 3D Max, Flash, ToonBoom, etc.
challenges and experiences in your early years, and would you like to share some of your memories? faced?
The challenge was to get the right hardware for my R&D in Markerless Motion Capture. A lot of these items were only available in the States and not India. Another challenge I had was to get the right training in this industry. I mean all of the things I got to learn about VP from 2010 were learning on my own. But that too was a great experience in bringing old learned techniques with the current new software.
What are your greatest achievements in the VFX Industry?
I am grateful for all my projects but to name one, it was Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior because of the amazing crew involved starting from the Director Mr. Om Raut and VFX Supervisor Mr. Prasad Sutar.
who is your inspiration in the VFX industry why?
No specific person because I think all are doing inspiring work at their respective field.
Tell more about how you get into the Virtual production industry?
I have always been passionate about Animation and Rigging. I started my journey in Motion Capture (a part of Virtual Production) in 2014 while I was working on a Markerless Motion Capture. After that, I got an opportunity to work along with a MoCap Studio called Centroid in the United Kingdom. After which, I came down to India to set up and run Centroid in India. During my course, I helped developed few pipelines in Performance Capture. Later I also acted as VP Supervisor on India’s 1 Virtual Production Pop-up lab which included LED wall + MoCap + Realtime Compositing + Virtual Scouting all on one stage.
Can you explain what Virtual production is for those who are new to the VFX/media industry?
Virtual Production is a pipeline process where your Digital and Physical work together in Real-time. Virtual Production has been around for more than a decade. Virtual Production is a broader term that consists of various other pipelines like Motion Capture, Visualization (Previs, StuntVis, TechVis), Realtime AR, Virtual Scouting, In-Camera VFX (Against LED or Realtime-compositing against Chroma Stage), Photogrammetry and Volumetric Capture. So even if you are doing Previs using Virtual Camera or MoCap, that too is Virtual Production and not just shooting against the LED wall which a lot of people have been confused about in recent times.
What VFX Studios Need for Virtual Production?
A team that knows to work with Realtime Software from Game Engines (Unreal Engine) to DCC Tools (Houdini, Blender, Maya, Motion Builder, etc). You can start with basic infrastructure like HTC Vive tracker, Perception Neuron, Vanishing Point right up to the expensive infrastructure with LED Wall, Optical Motion Capture Volume, depending on the initial investment.
What made you get into Virtual production and what were the challenges you faced in the process?
It was my passion to learn “What’s next?” in the field of Animation and Rigging. Thereafter which I started digging into MoCap. During this learning process, there were definitely challenges like lack of hardware and training centers.
Tell us about Green Rain Studios?
Green rain is a Real-Time Technology studio. Their mission is to use Epic’s Unreal Engine and Real-Time workflows to educate and empower India’s creative artists, technologists, and programmers across media & entertainment, enterprise applications, and immersive experiences. Green Rain’s offerings are Virtual Production, Visualization services, Real-time Animation workflows, creation of immersive experiences, and training of Unreal Engine. Green Rain has over 40 years of cumulative Unreal engine experience that spans programming in C++ to rendering final pixels.
Your company has been heavily involved in Virtual production, can you share some of your experience or some of the projects you worked on?
Due to NDA with clients and Green Rain’s inception in 2019, there are many amazing high-budget projects that are yet to release in the coming years and therefore cannot share many details on that side. But I can definitely speak about the Pop-Up Lab that we set up last year in collaboration with Cineom, Liminal VR, Famous Studios, and Centroid India. This was India’s first Virtual Production Lab featuring all the components under the roof. We had the best hardware and team working together day and night for a month. From this, we had plenty of learning experience as well as developed some useful pipelines.
How are filmmakers benefiting from Virtual production?
Virtual Production from the start i.e. Virtual Scouting and Visualization (Previs) is very useful for the core department of a film (Director, DOP, Production Designer, and Action Director). As they can now visualize and plan something which does not exist in the real world at the 1/10th of their Production expense. Virtual Production with perfect visualization can yield production to be less time-consuming, well planned, and cost-effective.
13. How is Virtual production different from traditional filmmaking?
In Virtual Production you deal with a lot of real-time CGI onset compared to Traditional Film-making. Also, Virtual Production has a different workflow compared to traditional film-making which follows the order of Pre-Production, Production, and Production. In Virtual Productions, your Pre-Production, Production, and Post Productions work hand-in-hand. Also, you need to be ready with all your final CG assets much before compared to Traditional Film-Making. One big change I observed in VP, is that all the teams are now more involved with each other during decision making, and everyone plans together compared to the traditional process.
How can one reach out to you or your company?
plans for the future?
Currently, we are doing Virtual Production for some of the amazing projects coming in this year and next year. (which I am sure the company is very excited to talk about once given permission).
Any advice for artists and production?
Virtual Production is only an additional tool for your existing pipeline and will not plan what you are currently doing. In fact, for a lot of Virtual Production components, we still need an artist who makes assets in the DCC tool; the same goes for Rigging and other departments. For those who are planning to get into Virtual Production, you can start by deciding which component of VP would you like to focus on, that is MoCap, VR Scouting, AR, In-Camera VFX, Photogrammetry or Volumetric Capture. Then start learning about it from online resources. For people who wish to learn Game Engines, Unreal Engine provides great resources online on their website or you can take the training course from Green Rain Studios.
India’s 1st Virtual Production Pop-up Lab LED based In-camera VFX
India’s First Virtual Production R&D Pop-Up Lab that happened a year ago during the months of June to October. Cineom Partnered with Centroid India, Green Rain, Liminal, and Famous Studios to demonstrate the entire eco-system of Virtual Production. This video incorporates 5 different environments along with behind the scenes footage. We thank every one of our accomplices for working together, testing, and exhibiting different parts of Virtual Production on a single stage – this incorporates Performance Capture, LED-based In-Camera VFX, Realtime Compositing, Realtime AR, and VR Scouting. It was a month-long exercise to comprehend the pipeline, become familiar with the pros and cons of virtual production across an assortment of certifiable use cases.
Ritto prabu – Thank you Parth Shah for sharing your journey with us our best wishes to success lot
Parth Shah – Thank you ritto for inviting me