Spotlight on Dark Matters and its partnership with The Yard

  • 2023-10-10
The partnership Dark Matters x The Yard is in the Press ! Learn more about the integrated film studio complex and the various topics the two companies are exploring.

Dark Matters is an integrated film studio complex, located near Paris, France, with a strong focus on virtual production and motion capture. Fully operational in January 2023, the complex spans 15,000 square meters and features 6 stages, LED walls, and motion capture capabilities.

3DVF, the French professional website specializing in computer graphics, recently interviewed Dark Matters’s co-founder Romain Cheminade. They discussed Dark Matters’s latest projects, their perspective on virtual production market, their R&D efforts, motion capture activities, as well as the partnership with French VFX studio The Yard.

A year full of projects

Since operations started, Dark Matters has hosted multiple local or Western Europe projects spanning films and advertising. Luc Besson’s new feature film, « Dogman »was one of the most notable productions, involving 200 people and a hundred dogs.

On the advertising side, Romain Cheminade mentioned the campaign for Handicap International, Travis Scott’s music video for « Modern Jam, » directed by Gaspar Noé, and the latest commercial of Paco Rabanne’s Phantom perfume.

He mentioned that clients often prefer replicating captured environments and using live compositing in 2.5D, which aligns with their familiarity with these approaches.

Some of the projects hosted at Dark Matters :

An evolving perception of Virtual Production

Romain Cheminade highlighted the increasing interest and collaboration between different departments in virtual production projects. First assistant directors have even become valuable collaborators. According to him, virtual production technology is becoming more accessible, with increased training and awareness. In the advertising sector, clients now instinctively consider virtual production, driven by scheduling constraints and the flexibility it offers, such as avoiding weather-related issues.

Some virtual production specialists expressed fatigue with repetitive tasks like sequences involving people inside cars with a moving backdrop. However, these tasks are essential for teams new to virtual production, especially for in-car dialogue and stunt scenes. Romain Cheminade emphasized the importance of using virtual production for car stunts, which aligns with France’s tradition in this area.

In our current projects, the exchanges with the art department, DIT (Digital Imaging Technician), DOP (Director of Photography), and the production management teams are really enriching. My feeling is that the more ambitious the project, the quicker the cohesion develops.

Romain CheminadeCo-founder of Dark Matters

Strong R&D partnerships, including The Yard

Romain Cheminade discussed multiple R&D projects, emphasizing Dark Matters’s commitment to environmental sustainability. They are working on an R&D project expected to save 20% of electricity by mid to late 2024. They are also optimizing rigging and structure systems to streamline assembly/disassembly, further reducing the carbon footprint.

Additionally, Dark Matters is striving to improve framerates for true motion blur, targeting rates of up to 96 frames per second or even 128. They are also developing internal solutions for media playback to enhance their workflow.

Romain Cheminade also mentioned their positive relationship with Epic Games and the reduced need for support due to recent developments in Unreal Engine. He stressed the importance of taking Unreal Engine seriously as a complex tool within the industry.

We know Laurens Ehrmann very well; he’s a friend, and we share similar values.

Romain CheminadeCo-founder of Dark Matters

The interview concluded with details about the partnership between Dark Matters and The Yard. Their main goal is to gain expertise and share findings with the community, focusing on optimizing data ingestion of CGI environments provided by VFX studios. They aim to address challenges like volumetric databases with a high number of particles and to implement data wrangling processes to ensure relevant data is sent to VFX studios, including camera data and distortion grids obtained through automatic color calibration.

Read the full article on 3DVF website by clicking here.


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