Pioneering Turkish virtual production house, MGX Studio, recently completed a ground-breaking cinematic project by delivering the country’s first film with car chase action scenes, enabled by a next-generation LED stage powered by industry-leading Brompton Technology processing.
Owned by MGX Film and based in Istanbul, MGX Studio is Turkey’s first virtual production (VP) studio and, since its inception in 2021, has already delivered a number of high-profile productions, including projects with Netflix and award-winning Turkish production company, Autonomy. The studio set up comprises a 9600×1536 pixels resolution 100m2 curved LED wall, along with 125m2 of LED ceiling panels, which are used for lighting and reflections. This configuration is powered using three Brompton Tessera SX40 processors and five Tessera XD 10G data distribution units to provide a 10-bit colour depth image.
Entitled ANKA, the new film’s plot concerns the rising career of a racing car driver. Investor and owner of MGX Film, Müşvik Guluzade, was a pivotal figure in the realisation of the ground-breaking project, which was fundamental to his ambition to establish MGX Studio as one of the largest VP studios in the world. His commitment to the project even included personal involvement at ground level in driving training of the actors and staging action and special effects scenes.
“We were very proud last year when MGX completed a feature film project called ‘A Better Tomorrow’, where 85% of material was shot using virtual production. The fact that this technology has led to Turkey’s first action car chase film has roused great excitement,” explains Guluzade. “MGX’s virtual production technology enables directors and filmmakers to create enriched interactive environments for a wealth of film and TV projects. It’s a huge leap forward for the Turkish film industry, which, thanks to MGX Studio, is making a valid contribution to global cinema.”
Director, Süleyman Mert Özdemir, together with production designer and original scriptwriter, Ozan Akbaba, were involved at the concept stage of the project, working together on Akbaba’s script and fine-tuning it to ensure the plot and the characters were suitable for Turkey’s first action car-chase movie. Once meticulously edited, executive producer, Buket Akbaba, had the colossal task of ensuring the seamless integration of the VP technology and live action elements.
“It was challenging but very rewarding to juggle all of the different aspects, especially the VP elements, of ANKA. It was my responsibility to oversee the completion of this innovative and unique film project by controlling every single parameter in the process, from the preliminary planning and projecting to the completion of shooting,” explains Buket Akbaba.
Experienced action director, Marc Schölermann, was invited to the project, conscious of the challenges this concept brought and the technical details that had to be met. The cinematography team was able to visit the site locations surrounding the vehicles to plan shooting angles, and Director Süleyman Mert Özdemir with cinematographers Mehmet Başbaran and Eyüp Boz chose to map video plates of location shot footage onto the studio’s LED screen and film the stationary car interiors in the studio to obtain a higher quality cinematic experience.
Using Brompton Technology’s ShutterSync and 14Way CC features, the ANKA production team was able to manage both colour consistency and control, as well as the FPS value of the camera and the refresh rate of the LED screens, offering a reliable foundation for the virtual production.
“The Tessera SX40 has offered the team reliability, as well as outstanding performance when it comes to image and colour quality,” says Mete Mümtaz, MGX’s Virtual Production Specialist. “By placing the car in the right position and mapping the video content to the LED screen, we got the perspective required, as well as consistent and accurate colour.”
The flexible and reliable colour management tools provided by Brompton, meant the MGX team was able to manipulate colours very easily, and also obtain the images reflected on the vehicle’s windows and reflective surfaces. “Thanks to Tessera’s Ultra Low Latency feature, the cameras and the LED wall are in perfect sync every time. This allows us to create more reactive and truly lifelike backgrounds,” adds Mümtaz.
MGX Film and Studio are planning to launch more film and TV series projects in the near future, all of which will encompass virtual production techniques.
“Film and TV production is well developed in Turkey, with VP technology developing day by day on a global scale, and we are proud to be a part of this changing and developing sector with top-quality VP set-up, including Brompton LED processing,” concludes MGX Studio manager, Fatih Eke. “VP provides huge benefits for the production team, including efficient and shortened production time compared to traditional filming techniques, as well as the actors, who can better interact with the environment. In fact, we received positive feedback from the ANKA film crew as a whole, and the project was a huge success.”
Image credit: MGX Studio