Versatile Media Building LED Film Stages in Vancouver

(ANIMATION MAGAZINE) — Versatile Media Ltd. has confirmed the location of its new Vancouver, Canada film studio, which will include multiple soundstages, both traditional and LED, totaling 43,000 square feet purpose-built for live-action filming. The film complex in South Burnaby near Marine Way will house Versatile’s first permanent virtual production LED volume in Canada, which promises to be one of the largest feature-rich LED stages in North America. Versatile will take occupancy of the building in December 2022.

The location will provide a traditional soundstage as well as coinciding amenities including paint and sawmill, dedicated costume areas, general offices space and parking to accommodate a full production. The new building will complete the full-cycle virtual production pipeline service that Versatile Media has been developing over the past five years.

In 2021, Versatile opened its Canadian headquarters on Pandora Street offering performance capture and visualization stages embracing the industry’s drive towards real-time production. Services offered include virtual location scouting, previz, techviz and stuntviz, enabling full editorial of sequences and camera blocking for principle photography. The Burnaby location will complete their services, offering an end-to-end virtual production and LED stage workflow to the global industry.

“Filmmakers are embracing Virtual production to better serve the creative process. We want to empower filmmakers and expand the limits of what is possible with our technology,” explained Steve Read, VP and Head of Studio for Versatile Media Ltd, Canada. “Our ultimate goal is to accelerate and nurture great storytelling and allow film production to catch up to the tremendous changes of distribution demanded by its appetite for global content.”

This journey to the cutting edge began when Versatile Media founder & CEO Leo Lee completed his first feature film as a director, and started developing solutions for filmmakers to release the creative process from any technical limitations. The company began to invest heavily in technology that would augment the filmmaking process — at first, for internal use, but now for the wider industry.

Not Just Another LED Stage

Versatile’s Vancouver LED volume will comprise 12,000 LED panelscreating a 270-degree cylindrical volume spanning nearly 90 ft (27.5 meters) diameter with a connected flat ceiling at 30 ft (9 meters) and will integrate Epic’s Unreal Engine and powered by NVIDIA GPU technology (learn more about this collaboration at Versatile’s NAB Conference presentations). The research and development team have worked tirelessly to fully resolve the moiré effect, allowing the Versatile LED panels to befilmed from any angle while in focus and up to 6 ft (2 meters) proximity of the panels.

Other core cinematography features include zero latency camera tracking, filming up to 8k resolution at 120 fps, integrated virtual and physicalDMX lighting console for creative lighting and color management as well as integrated camera focus pull, allowing DPs to adjust focal length as part of the brain-bar system.

“After we developed the technology, we realized how it could empower filmmakers everywhere,” said Lee. “Film is a collaborative art. Going global is about making it possible for the best talent everywhere to work together to create better end products. We are breaking down the barriers between animation and live action workflows so that talented artists from both industries can cross over and participate, to create more potential for storytelling. I look forward to seeing exciting creative work produced in our Vancouver studios and seeing our global industry embrace new filmmaking techniques.”

The building complex is being developed by Beedie, Western Canada’s largest private industrial developer and property manager, to be completed by late 2022 and ready for productions by early 2023. Founded in 1954, Beedie has traditionally specialized in the development of state-of-the-art industrial business parks and build-to-suit facilities having customized space for both national and international companies to meet its clients’ present and future building requirements.

“Versatile Media’s LED sound stage center represents the first purpose-built LED film stages in Beedie’s portfolio. With the continued growth of film in BC, we’re very excited to welcome Versatile and look forward to supporting their continued growth,” said Blake Asselstine, Vice President, Asset Management with Beedie.

BTS filming on The Versatile Stage

Going Global

In addition to the Vancouver stages, Versatile’s global initiatives will also see the construction of a 12 acre film base in Hangzhou where, among other installations, five LED volumes will be built — in addition to their two existing LED stages, as well as capture and visualization stages.

As a filmmaker who has worked in the entertainment & advertising industry for over 30 years, CEO/Founder Lee has served in many capacities, from CG artist to cameraman, director and screenwriter, and thus brought his varied experience into the design of Versatile’s technology. Today, the company’s goals are to contribute to the technological transformation taking place, empower filmmakers everywhere and to bring audiences completely new experiences.

BTS filming on The Versatile Stage


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