EXCLUSIVE: CBS Digital, a division whose effects work has appeared in shows ranging from Netflix’s G.L.O.W. and Orange in the New Black to NBC’s This is Us and CBS’ Hawaii 5-0 and All Rise, has rebranded as CBS VFX.
Along with the new name and logo, the unit is also unveiling new capabilities and plans to move from CBS Television Center at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly in LA to the CBS Studios facility in Studio City. The move, scheduled for November, will help CBS VFX meet rising demand for its production technology tools amid an overall surge in series production spurred by the streaming boom, the company said.
Executive Creative Director Craig Weiss and Executive Producer George Bloom will continue to steer the operation.
One key offering by CBS VFX is a proprietary virtual production system called Parallax. It gives three-dimensional virtual locations the same physics and detail as real-world locations, enabling a director to change angles and settings without traveling to a physical location.
“The enormous demand for series content, led by the growth of streaming services, has reached an inflection point where the cost of shooting on location is a budgetary concern,” Weiss said. “The use of virtual locations offers an enormously creative way to save time and money with an end result that is indistinguishable to the viewer yet transformative for cast and crew.”
Beyond soundstages, the CBS VFX system is portable and can be used in an office or a private home.
CBS VFX has also continued to stock its virtual library with digital sets and locations. “Volumetric locations are more than a temporary commodity, they are permanent tools that can be used over and over, easily adapted and changed,” Bloom said.
Bloom described a recent production that required five separate and distinct locations. Once these real-world locations were digitally captured in three dimensions, they were all shot on a single production day while the cast and crew never left a single soundstage used to replicate all of the locations.
In addition to virtual production, CBS VFX has had notable achievements in other areas. It recently created visual effects for series like Showtime’s Black Monday and ABC’s Modern Family; developed software used by multiple productions; and produced an Emmy-nominated Stranger Things virtual reality experience.