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Sony Expands Focus on Virtual Production Business Amid Exceptional Growth

Tokyo: Sony Group is intensifying its commitment to the rapidly growing virtual production industry, leveraging its technological prowess, according to a company executive. This move is bolstered by the Japanese entertainment conglomerate’s advanced technology.

The virtual production business involves providing filmmakers and broadcasters with cutting-edge facilities. These facilities employ a wall of LED panels that display various images, such as futuristic landscapes or bustling cityscapes, which seamlessly integrate into the scenes being filmed.

This technology offers an alternative to green screens, where digital effects are added during post-production. Its advantages include more realistic reflections generated by the LED panels’ light and an enhanced sense of immersion for actors on set.

Sony’s strength in hardware, ranging from image sensors for cameras to large-scale LED video walls, sets it apart in this field. Additionally, Sony boasts extensive expertise in moviemaking, establishing it as a major player in Hollywood.

Yasuharu Nomura, Sony’s Head of Virtual Production, explained, “It’s our hardware capabilities that enable us to recreate entire virtual worlds.”

In recent years, Sony has strategically shifted its focus from struggling electronics divisions to concentrate on gaming, movies, and music. Nonetheless, the company continues to excel in hardware, including movie cameras. Sony is also an investor in Epic Games, whose Unreal Engine is renowned for creating digital environments.

Sony’s virtual production business is experiencing remarkable growth, with an annual increase of approximately 35%, surpassing the industry average. The company anticipates a growing portion of its revenue will come from services rather than hardware.

Sony is actively introducing enhanced LED panels, cameras, and service offerings. They are also delving into “volumetric capture,” a technique that captures performances from multiple angles, enhancing the virtual reality viewing experience.

Virtual production technology garnered significant attention following its use in the popular science-fiction series “The Mandalorian” by Walt Disney, which employed the in-house visual effects expertise of Industrial Light & Magic.

Kota Ezawa, an analyst at Citigroup, remarked, “The virtual production market is still in its nascent stages, leaving ample room for Sony to expand.”

Source: Reuters

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