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Special effects house Chaos offers a look at Project Arena virtual set

The special effects artists at Chaos demonstrate their virtual set, Project Arena.
Chaos

In 2019, The Mandalorian offered fans a look at the future of virtual sets with Lucasfilm, ILM, and Epic Games’ StageCraft. By using Epic’s Unreal Engine and state-of-the-art LED walls in a set called The Volume, StageCraft was able to create convincing CGI backdrops in-camera, which was a revolutionary step forward. However, those companies aren’t the only ones pushing virtual sets to their limits and beyond.

Behind The Scenes | Project Arena

Chaos is a software developer based in Germany that was founded in 1997. Since that time, Chaos has established itself as a player in the visual effects landscape. As seen in the video above, Chaos is working on its own virtual set technology, Project Arena. The key difference between Project Arena and StageCraft is that Chaos is attempting to pull off the same lifelike backdrops without using a game engine. Instead, Project Arena is meant to utilize real-time rendering and ray tracing when creating its virtual worlds, which could make it an easier-to-use alternative.

Project Arena is not yet advanced enough to compete fully against StageCraft. As explained in the video above by Head of Innovation Vladimir “Vlado” Koylazov and Chief Technology Officer Mihail Sergeev, Project Arena still has some technical issues that must be overcome. Although those problems have not yet been solved, the technology could eventually be more viable for smaller productions than the more expensive StageCraft, which has not yet been widely adapted beyond a handful of projects, including The Batman and nearly every Star Wars series on Disney+.

For now, Chaos is looking for partners to help it finish Project Arena, and it is also planning to work on a short to help the team identify any other issues that come up while testing the technology during an actual production. Whatever happens, it’s a bold step into the future of filmmaking and is sure to change how stories are told on large and small screens worldwide.

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