Butcher Bird Studios innovates live, multi-camera green screen virtual production
The creative studio is leading a new era of live virtual production (VP) through collaborations with Pixotope and Blackmagic Design to create VP shows at more affordable budget levels.
Butcher Bird has created a technical demonstration that features a dynamic VP solution with green screen rather than LED walls. This workflow allows independent studios, brands, and platforms to create live, professional multi-camera VP shows while avoiding the substantial costs of major stage and infrastructure upgrades.
Butcher Bird’s showcase project demonstrates a range of diverse creative scenarios in Unreal Engine under time and budget constraints that can only be overcome with virtual production on green screen.
Producer Emily Kerrigan explains their inspiration: “Shows likeThe Mandalorian have wowed everyone with stunning big budget virtual production, but there’s a world of possibility for independent studios and emerging platforms who want to take a more modest approach.”
Effective VP requires applying technology at the right level. Andy Smith of Pixotope described the collaborative goal for this project: “Pixotope is known for spectacular AR and XR productions, but we’ve been impressed with the Butcher Bird approach to making technology more accessible to a wider range of clients. This 100% aligns with our own mission to make virtual production available to all media creators.”
Butcher Bird also turned to Blackmagic Design’s Dave Hoffman for integration of the latest Ultimatte model into the workflow for compositing. “I’m blown away with the real-time keying this team accomplished with the Ultimatte 12. They’re achieving a look that would have only been possible on broadcast budgets just a few years ago — and they’re doing it for a livestream workflow.”
This virtual production approach is well-suited to Butcher Bird. Director Steven Calcote notes: “With the integration of real-time game engines and green screen, now we can broadcast from anywhere or any-when for all our clients. That’s why we pushed for this technical demonstration to take us across so many different worlds, from the ravaged landscape of King Lear’s storm speech to a sci-fi museum filled with space vehicles.”
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Deploying real-time VFX also streamlines client approval. Travis Stevens, cinematographer for the project, explains: “Working with final pixels ensures that I’m preserving fidelity and artistic intent from initial filming through the ultimate audience view.”
Having already used virtual production on multi-camera live streaming projects like “Geeked Week” for Netflix, Butcher Bird plans to continue democratizing the technology and refining it for the demands of live multi-camera streaming on today’s most popular platforms for a new generation of content makers.
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