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Experts at Xposure 2024 showcase next era of technical screen marvels on how we make, see films

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SHARJAH, 3rd March, 2024 (WAM) — This weekend, the Xposure International Photography Festival hosted an exciting panel discussion themed “The Unreal Future of Film”, where leading film industry figures delved into the realm of virtual production, Extended Reality (XR), and the innovative Unreal Engine, the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.

The session offered a unique glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies shaping the future of storytelling and content creation. The filmmakers and industry executives on the panel, each with a wealth of experience and insights, included Olivier Geyhsen, a filmmaker and XR artist known for his pioneering work integrating technology into storytelling; Siraj Jhaveri, a director with over three decades of experience, known for his dynamic visual style; Bartosz Jankowski, an experienced producer and screenwriter specialising in audiovisual event production and Virtual Production technology; and Bora Batur, a production designer with nearly two decades of experience in visual storytelling and set design.

The session kicked off with an exploration of virtual production, with Jhaveri providing insights into merging the physical and digital worlds. Discussing the process, he highlighted the ability to create immersive environments where the physical meets the digital seamlessly. “Virtual elements are added to existing footage, allowing for changes in not only specific objects, but settings, backgrounds and locations,” Jhaveri said.

Geyhsen highlighted the opportunities presented by virtual production, letting filmmakers transport audiences to previously unimaginable worlds. “Virtual production enables ‘shooting’ in locations that don’t exist in real life. Places that are difficult to access can be reconstructed in 3D. This opens possibilities for ‘shooting’ in multiple venues within a short timeframe,” he said.

Jankowski shed light on the technical aspects of virtual production, particularly the importance of meticulous planning and efficient execution. Virtual production can be cost-effective but needs thorough pre-production, he said. “Pre-production is crucial in determining the feasibility of shooting in virtual production. While it is possible to shoot most things using VP, the level of pre-production planning varies depending on the project’s requirements,” he noted.

Batur highlighted how virtual production is redefining the traditional filmmaking pipeline. The art department must be involved early in the process – rather than at the post-production stage – to ensure seamless integration between the physical and virtual elements. “Decisions that used to be made at the end of production are now happening earlier, requiring changes in workflow and personnel. Seamless collaboration between departments is crucial for success,” Batur said.

Jhaveri pointed out that “many shots involve computer-generated (CG) elements, requiring extensive pre-production to ensure everything runs smoothly during the shoot. This additional pre-production time is essential for successful virtual production. There is also a latency period as new technologies emerge, so we are playing a catch-up game here – as soon as we have one technology we are using on stage, there is another one being released.”

All four filmmakers agreed on collaboration and communication in virtual production, particularly the need for a standardised pre-visualisation process and the growing potential of AI technology in streamlining production workflows. “AI could become a standard tool in virtual production workflows, streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency,” Jankowski said.

But despite technological advancements, storytelling remains the focus, Batur pointed out.

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Shah Rukh Khan roots for KKR with his ‘Pathaan’ director Siddharth Anand during RR clash

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], April 16 (ANI): Baadshah of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan, is here to cheer for his IPL team, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

Donning a casual look, SRK opted for a white t-shirt that he teamed up with jeans and a pair of sunglasses.

The social media handle of KKR dropped a video from the match in which SRK can be seen making an entry in style and rooting for the boys.

Sharing the video, they wrote, “KKR’s lucky charm has arrived at Eden.”KKR’s social media team added ‘Baadshah O Baadshah’ track to the video to make it more captivating.

SRK was accompanied by ‘Pathaan’ director Siddharth Anand.

Talking about the match, table-toppers Rajasthan Royals (RR) is locking horns with second-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Tuesday. Rajasthan Royals are currently at top of the IPL 2024 standings with 10 points and a net run rate of 0.767. The Royals have won five matches and lost one.

RR won toss and opted to field first.

Rajasthan Royals (Playing XI): Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (w/c), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Kuldeep Sen, Yuzvendra ChahalKolkata Knight Riders (Playing XI): Philip Salt (w), Sunil Narine, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Varun Chakaravarthy, Harshit Rana.

On the work front, SRK returned to the silver screen with Siddharth Anand’s ‘Pathaan’ in January 2023.

The film in which SRK donned an awe-evoking action avatar broke several records at the box office and managed to grab a name in the list of one of the highest-grossing films in the Indian film industry.

The film also marked SRK’s first hit after his sabbatical of four years after a series of flicks such as ‘Zero’ and ‘Jab Harry Met Sejal’. After ‘Pathaan’, King Khan returned to theatres in September with ‘Jawan’.

The film once again saw SRK in an action avatar. The film collected over Rs 1000 crore . at the worldwide box office. Needless to say, SRK, who has had a phenomenal run, did not stop here.

In December, he came up with ‘Dunki’, which also did decent business at the box office.

Helmed by RajKumar Hirani, ‘Dunki’ focuses on the issue of immigration. Its title is taken from the term “donkey journey,” which refers to the long, winding, and often dangerous routes that people across the world take to reach the places they want to immigrate to. He has not announced his next project yet.

However, if reports are to be believed, he will be seen sharing screen space with Salman Khan in ‘Tiger vs Pathaan’. The film will reportedly have Tiger (Salman) locking horns with Pathaan, played by Shah Rukh Khan. It will mark their full-fledged collaboration after ‘Karan Arjun’. The official announcement regarding the project is still awaited. (ANI)

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In first public appearance since firing incident, Salman ushers CM Shinde into his Mumbai residence

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 16 (ANI): In his first public appearance since the firing incident outside his upscale Bandra residence, superstar Salman Khan stepped out to welcome Chief Minister Eknath Shinde as he arrived to meet at the Galaxy Apartments on Tuesday.

In a video clip of the visit that was widely circulated across social media platforms, Salman was seen ushering CM Shinde into his residence.

Salman’s father and popular screenplay and dialogue writer from yesteryear, Salim Khan, politician Baba Siddique and his son Zeeshan Siddique were also inside the actor’s apartment as CM Shinde came calling.

In the clip, CM Shinde was seen having a discussion with the superstar, with the others seated around them.

The chief minister assured Salman and his family members of their safety, adding that they were being provided with increased security cover in light of the firing incident.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident on Sunday, last week, CM Shinde spoke to Salman over the phone and provided him with additional security cover. Shinde also brought up the firing incident with the Mumbai Police Commissioner and suggested increasing the superstar’s security.

He assured Salman that the government was with him and he need not worry.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Kutch Police arrested the two accused persons and handed them to the Mumbai Crime Branch. Later, a city court sent the two accused to the custody of the Mumbai Crime Branch until April 25 in connection with the firing incident.

The accused, identified as Vicky Gupta (24) and Sagar Pal (21) from Bihar, were presented before the court after a medical examination.

The two men, who came on a motorbike, fired four rounds outside the Galaxy Apartments, where the actor resides, around 5 am on Sunday morning and fled.

CCTV footage showed that both accused sported caps and carried backpacks. The clip also showed them firing in the direction of the actor’s home.

After the arrest of the accused, Kutch DSP AR Zankant said preliminary investigations revealed that the accused were in contact with the Lawrence Bishnoi gang.

“Mumbai Police is investigating the case of firing outside the residence of actor Salman Khan. We informed the Kutch Police that the two accused had fled to the Gujarat district. Different teams were formed to catch the accused. They were eventually arrested by the Kutch Police and handed over to the Mumbai Police. During primary interrogation of the accused, we learned that they were in contact with the Lawrence Bishnoi gang,” DSP Zankant said.

Notably, since November 2022, Salman’s security level has been elevated to Y-Plus after threats from gangsters Lawrence Bishnoi and Goldy Brar. The actor was also authorised top carry a personal firearm and has also acquired a new armoured vehicle for added protection.

On Monday, Salman’s brother Arbaaz Khan issued a statement on the family’s behalf, saying they all have been affected due to the ‘disturbing’ firing incident.

“The recent incident of firing by two unidentified person in a motorcycle at Galaxy apartment the residence of the Salim Khan family is very disturbing and unnerving. Our family has been taken aback by this shocking incident that took place. Unfortunately, some people claiming to be close to our family and pretending to be the spokesperson have been making loose statements to the media saying it’s all a publicity stunt and the family remains unaffected which is not true and these views should not be taken seriously,” the statement read.

He also shared that the family was fully cooperating with the Mumbai Police in the ongoing probe into the incident.

“No member of the Salim Khan family has made any statement regarding this incident to the media. At this time, the family is helping and cooperating with the police in the investigation of this untoward incident. We have faith in the Mumbai police and we have been assured they will do everything in their capacity to protect and secure our family. Thank you everyone for your love and support,” Arbaaz added in his statement. (ANI)

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Keanu Reeves will voice Shadow in ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’

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Washington [US], April 16 (ANI): ‘John Wick’ star Keanu Reeves will be voicing ‘Shadow’ in the upcoming action-adventure comedy film ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 3’, according to Variety.

He joins a cast that includes Ben Schwartz as Sonic, as well as Jim Carrey as the villainous Dr Robotnik, the sources have confirmed.

‘Shadow’ first appeared in 2001’s ‘Sonic Adventure 2’, and he has since become one of the franchise’s most famous characters as an edgy antihero. He’s also often an antagonist to Sonic.

Reeves’ filmography includes ‘Speed’, ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, ‘My Own Private Idaho’, and the ‘Matrix’ trilogy. He will next star in the ‘John Wick’ spinoff, ‘Ballerina’, opposite Ana de Armas (his character’s unveiling in a new teaser released last week at CinemaCon drew enormous acclaim from the gathering of movie theatre executives, demonstrating the actor’s box office success). Reeves will also co-star in ‘Good Fortune’ with Aziz Ansari, Seth Rogen, Keke Palmer, and Sandra Oh.

Jeff Fowler, who oversaw the first two ‘Sonic’ movies, is returning as the director of the latest sequel. Neal H Moritz, Toby Ascher, Toru Nakahara and Hitoshi Okuno will produce ‘Sonic 3’, which will open in theatres on Dec. 20, 2024.

The franchise is one of Paramount’s most successful, with the combined global box office for “Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” standing at 725.2 million dollars. The studio is also making a spin-off series, “Knuckles,'” that will premiere on Paramount, reported Variety. (ANI)

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