When The Inquirer starts talking about using game engines to replace movie post production in the future the first thing that might spring to your mind could be a trilogy of movies already years old. WETA used Massive to render the huge battle scenes in Lord of the Rings, a rendering engine which has already been used in several games including the recent Total War games. That example approaches the issue from the opposite direction, instead of an improved CryEngine being used in a movie it is rendering software intended for TV and movies being used in a game.
It highlights the misunderstanding movie executives have about real time rendering. At heart there is no difference between a scene rendered in a game as opposed to one rendered in a movie, post-production or real time. Post production would not be necessary or could at least be significantly reduced if you have the hardware to render your CGI in real time. The software its self is more or less ready but at the moment there is not much money to be made by improving the Unreal Engine to the point where it is photo-realistic since the hardware requirements to run it would be orders of magnitude higher than what is currently available on the retail market.
This will change and it seems that those with jobs in post production for movies had better start specializing in real effects or think about branching into another field. It is likely to cause a great hue and cry from the movie industry in the coming years as they attempt to convince the public that video games are not art in the same way as movies are art even though they are made with the exact same tools. Image the Steam Big Picture mode of the future!
"Last year, when we reported that LucasFilm, the California production company responsible for the Star Wars franchise, proclaimed that video game engines would be responsible for the decline of the movie post-production process in the next 10 years, our readers scoffed."
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