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How the COVID Pandemic Has Shifted Technology and Innovation for Cinema and Video Production

The Time Capsule Has Been Opened!

One of the biggest things that jumped out to me at the NAB Show (National Association of Broadcasters Show) this year, is how during the pandemic, most hardware innovations came to a screeching halt. It’s like they placed all the technology from 2019 into a time capsule that we got to open for the first time in three years. For example, much of the hardware that was announced at NAB 2019 was just now on display for all of us to see and start playing with at this year’s NAB…the first conference of its kind since the pandemic.

Does that mean that the film industry has not been innovating since 2019? Not exactly…in the past two years, we have seen a major shift of focus on software-based solutions, and honestly…this makes a lot of sense, as programmers and software engineers have been able to work from home the whole time.

One example of this is the fact that we went to NAB with the plan to buy a new hardware-based green screen chroma key system for our new virtual production (VP for short) studio. To our surprise, there have been no innovations in this sector for over five years! However, the NAB showroom floor was littered with brand new software-based chroma key solutions that rivaled, and even beat, the waning hardware-based equipment.

In the last two years, we have also seen major advancements in video game engines…most notably, the work being done in the Unreal Engine, which powers nearly every virtual production set in the world.

One could make the argument that without the pandemic, VP would be nowhere near as mature a technology as it is right now. It forced us to find new ways to tell stories without having to leave the studio; but also without having to sacrifice the quality that used to plague typical “green screen” shoots.

The long and short of it is, the last two years didn’t just give us new options, it refined and improved the technology to such a point that now virtual production is often the “preferred method” to conquer numerous types of productions.

Should every project now be done virtually? Heck no! But that’s okay…

Virtual production is a tool that when used correctly can save time, money, and increase the production value of many types of projects.

Is VP right for your next project? Maybe! Let’s sit down and talk about your specific goals, and how virtual production might just bring your project that “special sauce” to make it stand out from the crowd.

The future is now, and we’re excited to be on the cutting edge of this revolutionary industry.

Jordan Price

Jordan Price


A gifted and natural storyteller, Jordan is an award-winning cinematographer and post production editor. He leads Grassfire’s in-house production studio and is a master at connecting brands to audience emotions.

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