Pilot shoot successfully concludes virtual production research project “BaViPro”

  • ARRI, Bavaria Studios, and Eyeline Studios successfully complete virtual production research project funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs
  • For the Rat Pack film production “Die Zwerge” (“The Dwarfs”), an adaptation of the successful series of novels by Markus Heitz, director Sebastian Niemann and cinematographer Gerhard Schirlo test the technologies developed within the framework of “BaViPro”
  • Set visit from Dr. Hans Michael Strepp, Ministerial Director at the Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs

July 31, 2023; Munich – After two years of intensive research and development, the “BaViPro” funded project comes to a successful conclusion with a pilot shoot on July 27 and 28, 2023, at Bavaria Studios in Geiselgasteig near Munich, Germany. During a set visit, Dr. Hans Michael Strepp, Ministerial Director at the Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs, learned about the technologies developed from the participating partners ARRI, Bavaria Studios, and Eyeline Studios, as well as from the creative team at Rat Pack Filmproduktion.

The core of the “BaViPro” project—the abbreviation stands for Bavarian Virtual Production—was the construction of a so-called LED stage for virtual film productions at Bavaria Studios. The three Bavarian companies ARRI, Bavaria Studios, and Eyeline Studios each contributed their know-how and development skills to improve the film production process as a whole through innovative digital technologies.

The Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs supported the project, which cost a total of more than five million euros, with a grant of 2.7 million euros.

Judith Gerlach, Bavarian Minister of State for Digital Affairs, explains: “New technologies offer completely new and innovative approaches to creative work. They are, therefore, trendsetting for Bavarian film production and the work of filmmakers in the Free State of Bavaria. With ‘BaViPro,’ we are investing further in the attractiveness of Bavaria as a film location, which need not fear international comparison.”

The development focus on the part of Bavaria Studios was on the future-oriented, fiber-optic-based studio infrastructure and the photorealistic and operational integration of real set construction with the virtual 3D elements. Another focus was on the development of production-ready and practical workflows and work instructions for the production of media content in virtual production studios.

ARRI drove the integration of its world-renowned camera and lighting systems into the modern data networks, facilitating digital control and management of the components involved. Various tools for color-accurate and precisely timed interaction between camera, lens, set lighting, and LED wall now enable a flexible and practical way of working in the virtual studio with the highest demands on the image quality of the generated content.

Eyeline Studios created Stage Control software, a networked software system that collects digital information from all production equipment on set and coordinates it so that workflows can be organized much more efficiently.

Bavaria Studios has further expanded its modern media location in Geiselgasteig with this virtual production project.

Dr. Christian Franckenstein, CEO Bavaria Film: “Bavaria Film’s studio location in the south of Munich has always been a place of film technology innovations in its more than one-hundred-year history. The virtual production project is part of this tradition. After two intensive years of research, the technology and technological know-how for virtual productions now have a home with us. We welcome interested parties to exchange ideas about production projects. We thank the Free State of Bavaria for funding this future-oriented research project, and we thank our partners ARRI and Eyeline Studios for their excellent and always goal-oriented cooperation.”

ARRI is proactively moving into networked production formats with virtual and integrative components by establishing the new ARRI Solutions division.

Kevin Schwutke, Senior Vice President & Head of Business Unit Solutions at ARRI, emphasizes: “With ARRI Solutions, we are serving the growing global demand for virtual production and workflow solutions for studio operators and content producers. The technologies developed in ‘BaViPro’ are now consistently applied in all our projects.”

Stephan Trojansky, President Eyeline Studios: “The optimization of digital production processes is the prerequisite for being able to realize productions efficiently, agilely, and with the highest quality. We thank our globally active Bavarian partners ARRI and Bavaria Studios for the good cooperation and the Free State of Bavaria for supporting this innovative and cross-network/cross-trade research.”

The consortium has found an enthusiastic pioneer in Rat Pack Filmproduktion for the evaluation of the project. During the two-day pilot production in Studio 12 at Bavaria Studios, director Sebastian Niemann and cinematographer Gerhard Schirlo, together with their team, tested the technologies developed as part of “BaViPro.” These innovations could come to good use in the filming of the “The Dwarfs,” a series of novels by Markus Heitz.

Director Sebastian Niemann: “Working in the LED stage is a great tool for me, especially with such elaborate fantasy material as ‘The Dwarfs’ by Markus Heitz. It opens up the possibility for me to credibly create fantastic and complex worlds in an even wider range for such a project and to work very closely on the final image already during the shoot—even though the shots have large VFX parts. This helps especially when working with the actors, who can move very freely on the digital set and, unlike with classic blue or green screen, already have a concrete picture of the world in front of their eyes. Another big plus of the LED stage is the light interaction between real image elements and the virtual image parts. This often makes their integration much more credible and coherent.”

Christian Becker, Producer and Managing Director of Rat Pack Filmproduktion: “We are very pleased to be able to work with these great partners, with whom we already broke new ground with ‘Wickie auf großer Fahrt’ (‘Wickie on a Great Journey’) and realized the first German-language Real 3D production, now again for a large-scale production, already in the development stage, to try out different possibilities together and do pioneering work.”

The footage created during the pilot production will be presented by the project partners and the initiators from Rat Pack later in the year.

Images (© 2023 BaViPro/Bojan Ritan):

The group picture shows the “BaViPro” project partners at the virtual production shoot at Bavaria Studios (l. to r.): David Bermbach (ARRI), Friedhelm Bixschlag (Bavaria Studios), Timo Schumacher (Eyeline Studios), Janne Birck (costume designer), Kevin Schwutke (ARRI), Gerhard Schirlo (cinematographer), Sebastian Niemann (director), Dr. Hans Michael Strepp (Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs), Christian Becker (Rat Pack), Christina Stangl, Daniel Curio (both Bavarian State Ministry for Digital Affairs), Dr. Johannes Steurer (ARRI), Dr. Christian Franckenstein (Bavaria Film) and Andreas Steffenhagen (Bavaria Studios).

2023-2-bavipro-shoot-arri-bavaria-studios-eyeline-bts.jpg and 2023-3-bavipro-shoot-arri-bavaria-studios-eyeline-bts.jpg

BTS images from the pilot shoot at Bavaria Studios in Geiselgasteig near Munich. This marks the successful conclusion of the virtual production support project “BaViPro.”

Contact ARRI:

Heiko Meyer
Senior Corporate Communications Manager / Spokesperson ARRI
+49 89 3809 1364

Contact Bavaria Film:

Dr. Sebastian Feuß
Company Spokesperson / Head of Communication Bavaria Film
+49 89 6499 3900

Contact Eyeline Studios:

Stefanie Stalf
Project supervision BaViPro