27 JAN 2022

Malta Film Week Day 4: The visual and virtual effects took the stage

Stargate Studios executives explained how visual effects work in the filming industry and how they help directors and producers to recreate visual ilusions in diverses scenes.


Malta Film Week Day 4


During the Malta Film Week in Malta, local VFX producers Matthew Pullicino and James Spiteri from Stargate Studios described Malta’s creative sector. They discussed the intriguing process of creating visual effects for small and big screens. Pullicino, Manager Director of Malta Studios and executive producer, explained the difference between visual effects and special effects. "Visual effects are what we do digitally to add value to the pictures, and we use them mostly in the post-production stage. We work with many brands and studios; we are on the phone with fascinating clients, such as Netflix TVE, HBO, and the BBC, and they look to us for solutions".
James Spiteri spoke about the virtual production, VFX productions, the VFX studio, and the supervision of the set and showed the visual effects in "Leonardo" series from LUX Vide. "We have an excellent team working here; the visual effect is a collaboration between people working in different stages."

Spiteri also showed another title distributed by Sky and NBC. "It’s a working title shot in Malta with Rob Lowe as the main actor." Spiteri also mentioned that they use a raft of elements to create visual effects like the green screen, which is a fabric used to separate the actors from the background, and the company also used photographic elements to simulate situations in the films like quadruplication, that is adding people digitally in a scene.”

In another masterclass, Stargate Studios CEO and member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), Sam Nicholson, spoke about the evolution of visual effects in the modern-day film industry and affirmed that many of the green screen elements used in virtual effects it can be done in real-time. "Virtual production is about what we can do in real-time and looks much more like a theatrical live experience, and it can include a 3D or 2D background," he said. "The challenge of the virtual production is not to replace visual effects, it is about the live scenario, and we have to do the virtual production in the pre-production; we can fix it in the post-production stage," he affirmed.

Leaders in gaming and film discuss the synergy between these two industries in a world where virtual production and immersive technology are on the rise. Sam Nicholson said that games give more photoreal, and films are getting faster and moving to real-time. "Films and visual effects in films use real-time productions, and games evolve in real-time, and they are getting photoreal. The idea is to work with both real-time, photoreal tools and visual effects. Filmmakers can use these technologies to create new narratives. It's a fascinating time, and we are just at the beginning". "Malta can be a nexus between people that work remotely because it has all the necessary, the talents, the gaming industry, the technology," he added.

Olly Nicholson, the Senior Solutions Engineer at Unity Technologies, stated that video games are more and more involved in the narratives and film storylines and are part of the tools that filmmakers use to create film scenes.

The American animator and film director Kyle Balda spoke about his own experiences adapting video games to animated films. The first step is to identify characters that the audience can connect with, and another important thing is to have a definitive point of view. "We have to find how to relate with the audience."

By Romina Rodrìguez from Señal News