Distortion Studios Opens Virtual Production Facility in Bristol, England, Catering for Series, Independent Films (EXCLUSIVE)

Distortion Studios, launched by the team behind long-running production company Studio Giggle, has opened a virtual production facility in Bristol, South-West England. The 200m² studios will enable producers to create original IP utilizing virtual production technology, driven by real-time 3D content creation tool Unreal Engine.

The initiative, supported with funding from Creative UK and in partnership with iMAG Displays, will see the first permanent virtual production studio in Bristol, the current UNESCO City of Film, and the South West of England.

More from Variety

Distortion Studios are decked out with state-of-the art equipment including 11x4m curved LED Volume, ROE Black Pearl 2 V2 LED panels, 2x2x3m wild wall mobile led panels, 2x Stype RedSpy tracking system, Stage Precision, Pixera Media Servers and Brompton processing. Studio manager Pete Martin will oversee daily operations.

Distortion Studios
Distortion Studios utilizes virtual production technology.

Distortion Studios will open its doors to delegates attending the Creative Cities Convention, taking place in Bristol April 23-24, offering hands-on demonstrations and explanatory talks to small groups.

Jonathan Brigden, managing director of Distortion Studios, tells Variety that although most of the media focus has been on the virtual production shoots for big budget movies and series, such as “The Mandalorian,” the technology is equally effective for smaller shoots. “We are seeing a lot of the work is coming much smaller – as in smaller studios, smaller walls. You don’t need to have this enormous, expensive, expanse of space. What you need is the right technology, in the right place, operated by the right people.”

For producers, virtual production offers clear advantages, vis à vis a physical set. “I think, in many ways, it’s about being able to create environments that you can’t often film in easily,” Brigden says. “If, for example, you’ve got a production that is in many, many different environments, and is quite fantastical or sci-fi, that kind of thing, it can be very expensive to do post production on that.”

Distortion Studios
Distortion Studios will open its doors to delegates attending the Creative Cities Convention, taking place in Bristol April 23-24.

Another example is filming “in places that you can’t really easily get to. For example, airside at an airport, such as a scene at passport control,” he says.

A third example, is “being able to shoot in places that are expensive to get to, in terms of flying people all over the world to go on location shoots.” It is also a greener way to shoot.

Finally, he says, “It is just the ease of shooting. You can go in in the morning and get set up to shoot in an amazing location or world and then be wrapped by six.”

The environments are created by inhouse Unreal artists, and because the software was developed by Epic Games for the video games industry there is the potential for crossover with games.

One area of opportunity is the recently announced 40% tax credit for U.K. film productions with a budget up to £15 million ($19 million). “Our big priority at the moment is trying to work out how to make this technology more accessible for the independent filmmaking community,” Brigden says.

Jonathan Brigden
Jonathan Brigden

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.