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Method Studios Is Looking to Build a Better Previs Workflow

Company President Marc Weigert Says Current Workflows Result in Wasted Assets

Method Studios President Marc Weigert said his company is working with Autodesk on a new initiative that could dramatically reduce the cost of previsualization for an entire feature film.

Weigert, a production and VFX veteran who was named president of Method Studios in July, cited a price tag of around $2 million as the cheapest going rate for a full feature-film previs. He said he hopes that can be reduced to roughly half a million dollars — a price point that he called "the Holy Grail" for previs. 

The initiative is part of a new working group called Method Next that plans to develop new applications and workflows for virtual reality, gaming and other emerging technologies. He said he saw an early opportunity to work on previs, which he said could be made "faster, bettter and cheaper."

At a press briefing, Weigert described a feature workflow that would start with high-quality previs assets that wouldn't be discarded. They could also be used to build a visual set for production that would, in turn, be represented in 2D and 3D dailies. The 3D dailies would be stereo FBX files that could be used to "semi-automatically" generate postvis elements that could be forwarded to VFX for use as an explicit jumping-off point for creating shots.

In response to an audience question, Weigert said any specific previs workflow devised through Method Next would be proprietary to Method Studios, but said the tools would be built around Autodesk Maya and would eventually be available for general use. Pressed for a timeframe, he suggested but didn't commit to an early 2015 launch.

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