What does the metaverse mean to filmmakers?

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Does the metaverse mean filmmakers will be out of work?

Filmmakers need to consider whether they will be needed when we all live in the Metaverse. Will the unstoppable force of change mean talented film professionals will be replaced by the data and dynamics of a computer game? Will DPs passively watch a game engine paint images of a world beyond the reach of traditional film sets?

I do not think so. People who create and capture images will be in greater demand than ever. If there’s a threat, it’s from the AI, not the Metaverse in particular.
There may come a time when we upload ourselves to the metaverse. When “consciousness” becomes another cloud service. If that happens, I think we won’t need cameras anymore. But even in my own wild and untamed imagination, it’s a long way off.

Before going much further, it is essential to understand why some things that seem unlikely will happen sooner than we think, and some will take much longer (where “longer” could mean “hardly ever”).

Exponential progress

We’re all used to the idea of ​​accelerating technology. It often does this exponentially, meaning it becomes faster or more powerful in a way that is more accurately predicted by multiplication than by addition. It’s the difference between accelerating and just growing. In other words: it is about the rate of change and not just the change itself.

Very often we can see where technological trends are leading. When these trends cross significant thresholds or converge in a meaningful way, it suddenly becomes possible to do things that seemed way out of reach before. Anyone who remembers the early days of video streaming should, on second thought, be amazed at how easily we regularly watch 4K streaming movies on a 65-inch screen in our living rooms. We can only do this because of exponential progress. This is what allowed Apple in 2007 to manufacture a smartphone years ahead of its competitors.

But some things, like achieving general intelligence at the human level or uploading our conscious selves to cloud storage, seem a distant possibility, even with the current rate of progress. It’s easy to see why: we don’t know how; we really don’t.
General intelligence at the human level is probably going to require some sort of awareness. But we don’t know how to make awareness. It’s hard enough to define it.

So, for a while into the future, while the Metaverse is likely to be an impressive technological tour de force, it will mostly be based on technology that we now understand. And that means someone has to create the images, because they won’t come directly from someone’s mind – at least, not yet.

The metaverse is about people

Modern computer games are visually impressive. While I’m not a huge fan of gaming as an activity, I’m incredibly impressed with the technology, which is now creeping into film production. You might think that if so, we’re at the start of a slippery slope, the thin end of a wedge, or whatever alarming metaphor you think is appropriate here. But there are plenty of reasons for filmmakers to be optimistic. So let’s see a few here.

While a game engine can create a lot of scenery, items, and action, the Metaverse will still require high-quality human-led content to be satisfying and accessible. For example, the enormous amount of work required to generate high quality digital worlds will require the creative talents of filmmakers, even if they are not making films. Many of these skills are transferable. For example, when large ad companies want to create mind-blowing metaverse experiences, who do they turn to first? Filmmakers. This is already happening. Basically, for Metaverse experiences to look real, they have to be based on real things.

And if you want to base your metaverse programming on a cinematic metaphor, you’ll need filmmaking skills like lighting, editing, and directing. The full range of talents will be crucial in making the Metaverse believable and enjoyable. If we stop filming live we’re going to miss out on those beautiful, unexpected moments that nobody anticipates, which are only captured on film because there is a live capture (as opposed to making or synthesizing) going on. .

You can forgive laymen for having only a basic idea of ​​the Metaverse. It’s technical and very abstract. Most people quote what they read in newspapers – so what could go wrong?

The metaverse is poorly characterized

It is widely believed that we will reach a stage where we simply enter the metaverse, never to be seen again. It is a complete denaturation of the nature of the metaverse. What is much more likely is that we will move freely between reality and the metaverse in gradual, tiny steps, and still be in our conventional, familiar reality most of the time. We will always watch TV and we will probably go to the movies. We will not “live inside” the metaverse any more than we will live inside our televisions. Sometimes we can find Metaverse experiences more immersive than watching a movie, but so is bungee jumping.

Meanwhile, most of the Metaverse’s business will take place outside of the entertainment arena – in retail, commerce, medicine, engineering, scientific research, manufacturing, and sports analysis.

Finally, every screen – even an old-school 4K OLED TV – is a window to the metaverse. So if we’re going to watch movies in the new interconnected 3D universe, we’re probably going to watch them on a virtual screen, in 2D.

What goes around comes around.


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