Is virtual production the key to sustainable filmmaking?

May 23 2024

In an era where sustainability is becoming a crucial aspect of every industry, virtual production is emerging as a game-changer in filmmaking. Virtual production involves creating lifelike scenes in a studio using advanced digital technology, significantly reducing the environmental impact associated with traditional shoots. By leveraging the talents of virtual art departments, virtual production offers a real-time rendering experience that makes scenes look incredibly realistic.  

Image from Distortion Studio launch event (

The shift to virtual production 

There are many benefits to virtual production studios such as a reduced cost and less environmental impact. Yet one of the most important factors is how you can embrace creativity and bring ideas to life in a virtual studio. Most of these factors have led production companies towards embracing virtual production as a commitment to sustainability. 

McDonald’s commercial was filmed entirely using a virtual production studio, as the camera moves, the interactive parallax and depth in the background looks like shooting in a real environment.

How virtual production studios are embracing sustainability 

Virtual production studios are at the forefront of sustainable practices, employing a range of strategies to minimise the environmental impact of shoots: 

Image: FrameStore, All of it Now, XR Stage.
  • Reducing set builds 

By creating digital environments, virtual studios eliminate the need for physical sets, thereby significantly reducing material waste generated during production. 

  • Reusable assets 

Digital assets created for one project can be repurposed for future campaigns, maximising resource efficiency and minimising the need for constant new creations. 

  • Reducing travel emissions 

With virtual studios, any location can be created therefore actors and crew members do not need to fly or travel far for locations. Moreover, by consolidating multiple locations into one, you effectively streamline shipping logistics to a single destination. 

  • Green infrastructure/ Energy efficiency 

Virtual studios can be designed with energy efficiency in mind, utilising renewable energy sources and resource usage to further reduce the negative environmental impact of trying to heat a big studio. 

Is virtual production killing or embracing creativity?  

Virtual productions offer filmmakers an expansive canvas unrestricted by the constraints of physical reality, granting creatives the freedom to explore and push boundaries, opening up a world of possibilities. 

As brands and agencies continue to embrace this technology, we can expect to see a wave of innovative and environmentally conscious campaigns that inspire audiences while leaving a positive impact on the planet. 

Ezo Yildiz

Ezo is a Digital Marketing Assistant at Skylark Media.