VR Has Big Impact On Queensland Film Industry

VR Has Big Impact On Queensland Film Industry
February 5, 2017

Drones and virtual reality are leading the way forward for film and TV production in Queensland, as the state remains on track for its best year yet.


Screen Queensland chief executive Tracey Vieira said the 2016/17 financial year was set to be "the pinnacle in the history of the organisation, in terms of outcomes for local filmmakers".


Ms Vieira said drones and VR were having a dramatic impact on the industry and establishing a "fairly significant role in terms of filming. Every big international production we've had here in recent years has been using drones for both shooting and lighting," she said.


Being relatively quiet and manoeuvrable, drones are particularly useful for lighting sets during night filming and Ms Vieira believes having such advanced technology readily available was changing the way films are being made.


In the 2015/16 financial year, Australia's first television series in VR was made, produced by Queenslanders.


Untold Australia Season 2 chose three Queensland teams to develop, produce and market VR short-form documentaries exploring the diversity of Australia's people, their cultures and lifestyles.


"It's a real shift in how we are working with the broadcaster, how the stories are told," Ms Vieira said.


"The empathy that sort of storytelling can create for a viewer is beyond anything you can see on the screen, because you are there and in the middle of whatever is happening."


Other significant areas of focus for 2017 were increasing female involvement in the industry as well as continued support for Indigenous productions.


Mentorships, attachments and planning sessions were being held, specifically focusing on changing the legacy of the industry to become more female-friendly.


Ms Vieira said cameras used to be very heavy pieces of equipment and typically big men were responsible for them, creating a very male-dominated environment.


But now equipment is much lighter, yet it is still mostly men behind the cameras, which Ms Vieira said needed to change.


One significant success so far is writer and producer Megan Doneman being awarded the inaugural Greg Coote Scholarship, allowing her to complete a 12-week placement on US television show NCIS: Los Angeles, where she is still working today.


Ms Vieira also believes that in many ways the stories of Indigenous Queenslanders haven't been told and it is an area of exciting growth.


A highlight includes the production of Blue Water Empire, a three-part dramatised documentary series on the culture and history of the Torres Strait Islands.


"We've seen this incredible growth and we are making sure we are being very targeted to support that and to ensure that doorways are open for (Indigenous) people to keep coming in," Ms Vieira said.


The focus for Screen Queensland in 2017 is to keep the momentum going. Already a record amount of work has been produced in the 2016/17 financial year and with six months still to go, Ms Vieira is excited for the year ahead.

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