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The future of British filmmaking may have its roots in British myth. Rebellion, the company behind properties such as Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper, has unveiled Percival. It was made using developing virtual production techniques, for which there’s been growing interest as the technology continues to evolve.
Rooted in the classic Arthurian story, Percival was written by Toby Venables and Felicity Evans and directed by Hasraf Dulull (2036 Origin Unknown). It features Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley in the title role.
The short was created by Rebellion in partnership with MBS, Universal Pixel, Satore Studios, Arri and Epic; the shoot — on the Capitol stage at Rebellion’s studio in Oxfordshire — used the Unreal Engine to render its environments in real time, with cinematographer Eben Bolter providing lighting. The shoot took place during the U.K.’s COVID-19 shutdown, with production crew and performers following social distancing guidelines.
“It was thrilling to work in the collision of creativity and cutting-edge technology. This has immense potential to enable grand scale productions with controlled costs,” Kingsley said, in a statement about the project. “It was important for me as CEO of Rebellion to fully immerse myself in the technology and production process to better understand the thrilling new opportunities ahead. The only thing missing for me was horses, but maybe they will come later.”
“As a cinematographer this environment opens up all kinds of new creative possibilities with lighting, composition and atmosphere,” added Bolter. “I have been able to move the sun, pull out walls instantaneously and make final frame decisions on set with the director. The change from seeing an ambitious high concept picture finish in front of your eyes instead of after six months of post production is not simply profound but a huge game changer for the industry.”
Percival acts as proof of concept for two projects on Rebellion’s development slate: Judge Dredd: Mega-City One, the television series based on the iconic comic strip, and Rogue Trooper, Duncan Jones’ adaptation of the long-running 2000 AD character.
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