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American Society of Cinematographers

American Society of Cinematographers


The terms previs and postvis have long been well known among cinematographers, and now a new term is entering the lexicon: “ProVis.”

At a recent dinner meeting at the ASC Clubhouse, members were introduced to ViewScreen, an app that uses a patented suite of augmented reality visualization tools to simultaneously integrate VFX and live action in real time. This production visualization mode is the latest way to achieve a higher level of accuracy in the practice of this technology.

A digital Ted was set up in the clubhouse via ViewScreen. (Photo: Stephen Pizzello)

Developed by Fuzzy Door Tech (a division of the multifaceted Seth MacFarlanes production company), the ViewScreens family of products simplifies the tedious and time-consuming aspects of working on feature films and television shows by enabling filmmakers to visualize and animate entire scenes, including digital assets across multiple cameras.

Until now, working with digitally generated characters and objects required a great deal of imagination and guesswork to deduce what should play into the blank spaces in a shot. ViewScreen Studio and ViewScreen Scout make the invisible visible, allowing directors, cinematographers and camera operators to see the entire scene as it happens on set, enabling instant feedback and extensive image control.

The Studio version is built for professional productions and can be used any time during filming to visualize props, characters and environments on set or on location. Synchronized by time code across any number of cameras, you can precisely position elements while witnessing the scene through your viewfinder – no additional equipment required. By eliminating the guesswork, the app expands your creativity and gives you confidence during production that the right shots are being shot in the right way.

ViewScreen Scout, a real-time scouting app for iPhone and iPad, is essentially similar, recording how digital assets will look on location or on a soundstage. Working together in a shared room, crew members can pre-visualize scenes, virtually walk around the set, block moves, and visualize lighting before filming begins. Actors can even move digital characters around while the filmmaker observes on their device. For example, while an assistant director is scouting a location, a cinematographer can remotely join a shared room and adjust the lighting on location with all connected parties witnessing simultaneously. The ability to visualize and animate digital assets and VFX on the fly, reacting directly to what they see on their iPhone or iPad, means you can get the shot you want in fewer takes.

Through his work on the feature and streaming series Ted, MacFarlane is used to working with digitally generated characters. He's also familiar with the challenges that come with such an endeavor. ViewScreen takes the guesswork out of the directing process, he claims on the Fuzzy Door website. It lets you see VFX elements in real time as you're shooting. That's a real advantage in every aspect of filmmaking, speeding up all the work. It speeds up decision-making, speeds up visualization, provides a clear framework for post-production, and ensures that the work is done right. [that] The director's vision is achieved precisely.

ViewScreen products are already paying off, transforming and accelerating MacFarlane's production process. The Scout version was essential to planning and blocking the shuttle landing as part of Hulu's The Orville: New Horizons. ViewScreen Studio allowed MacFarlane to direct and animate Ted's facial and body movements while shooting the series, allowing the extended team to evaluate shots in real time.

Faith Sedlin, president of Fuzzy Door Tech, agreed with McFarlanes' assessment on their website: “At the end of the day, the ViewScreen suite of tools is focused on production visualization, or ProVis for short. ProVis is the ability to visualize digital assets in real-time in a live scene at any time during production. ViewScreen allows you to evaluate, animate and fine-tune every aspect of your production to get the perfect shot faster and more efficiently.”

After the Clubhouse dinner demo, ASC member Dave Perkal said he was very impressed with the presentations and the technology on display. The Fuzzy Doors ViewScreen app is an essential new tool for every creative in production. This innovative technology delivers real-time visualization of VFX assets within a non-destructive workflow, giving you the creative freedom and flexibility to guide the process. Assets can also be composited into the camera operator's eyepiece, allowing for precise framing of the action. Gone are the days of waiting for previs only to be able to reblock on the day.

ViewScreen Studio runs on off-the-shelf consumer hardware and is compatible with the latest macOS (Sonoma) and Windows 11. It can be used with any cinema camera, no matter where your production is based. ViewScreen Scout runs on any iOS device, including iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max and newer, or iPad Pro M1 and newer.

Both apps are currently available for film and TV productions in the U.S. and Canada. ViewScreen Scout is included in ViewScreen Studio or can be purchased separately. Pricing for ViewScreen varies depending on the requirements and complexity of your production.




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