Digital Day 2022

Digital Day 2022 Live: 20 Years of New Ways to Dream

August 27, 2022 A Special Projects Committee Event

Since 2003, the DGA has hosted Digital Day events dedicated to providing members with exclusive knowledge and hands-on access to innovations designed to enhance and improve productions. On Saturday, August 27, DGA members and guests returned to the Guild’s Los Angeles headquarters for Digital Day 2022: 20 Years of New Ways to Dream, a live and in-person event that featured the latest in Virtual Production, VFX and Cutting-Edge Production Tools.

Co-hosted by DGA Special Projects Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chairs Randal Kleiser, Susan Zwerman and Michael Goi, DGA Digital Day 2022 welcomed more than 450 attendees to a day of presentations, panels, exhibits and hands-on demos.

Digital Day 2022Welcome & Co-Hosts

The day began with a welcome from Special Projects Committee Chair Jeremy Kagan and opening remarks by Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chair Randal Kleiser. Kleiser and his fellow Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chairs, Susan Zwerman and Michael Goi, each participated as moderator for several of the panels and presentations throughout the day.

Digital Day 2022Keynote Address: James Cameron

Live via video from New Zealand, visionary Director James Cameron shared his experiences bringing the sequel to his DGA Award-nominated feature Avatar, Avatar: The Way of Water to the big screen.

During a conversation moderated by Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chair Randal Kleiser, Cameron spoke about working with virtual cameras on the project.

The virtual camera sees not the actor, but it sees the character in the world,” said Cameron. “I use that in real time when I’m working with the actors to kind of frame the shot. I can zoom in. I can move around through a world space with the various controls on the system. But I also use it after the fact when the actors have gone on to another movie or gone home to do the actual final shot. We can see the actors. We can see their facial performances. We can see the world. We can play with the lighting. It’s a very creative process.

Digital Day 2022Pulling Off Everything Everywhere All On A Small Budget

Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as "Daniels," discussed how a limited budget resulted in a creative use of special and visual effects for their comedic sci-fi action feature, Everything Everywhere All at Once.

During the presentation, the Daniels explained how their collaboration and details from their previous projects informed the filmmaking techniques they utilized in the making of their most recent film.

Digital Day 2022Discovering Virtual Production: Best Practices from Prep to Shoot

In this panel presented by the Western AD/UPM Council VFX/Digital Technology Committee, attendees were able to explore the latest Virtual Production workflows with Warner Bros VP of Virtual Production Ryan Beagan, Lux Machina Director of Physical Production Dani Bellar Pilukas, and The Book of Boba Fett’s 1st AD Heather Wagner and DP David Klein in a conversation co-moderated by Committee Chair Susan Zwerman and The Third Floor’s CEO & Co-Founder Chris Edwards.

During the conversation, the panelists spoke about the prep that goes into shooting in an LED volume stage, collaborating with the director and other departments to streamline each day of shooting and the tools used to help creative teams prepare for virtual production.

Digital Day 2022Raising the Volume: TV Directors Utilizing Virtual Production

In this panel, Directors Bert & Bertie (Our Flag Means Death), Dan Liu (Star Trek: Strange New Worlds) and Greg Yaitanes (House of the Dragon) shared their experiences of adapting to shooting on virtual production stages in a conversation moderated by Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chair Michael Goi (Avatar: The Last Airbender).

During the conversation, the panelists discussed their first encounters with virtual production, the experience of working in the volume as a guest Director and how flexible they found working with the technology given the pressures of a television shooting schedule.

Digital Day 2022Exhibits & Hands-On Demos:

Digital Day 2022: 20 Years of New Ways to Dream also featured Exhibits & Hands-On Demos including:

  • An interactive exhibit featuring a VR and telepresence presentation by The Car Stage
  • A look at how to manage film & television workflows with an all-in-one app featuring SAG-AFTRA approved digital background vouchers by Cinapse
  • A demonstration of how to create kinetic camera moves with the ZeeGee to stabilize footsteps and reduce operator fatigue and locate dynamic floor to ceiling movement and lightning fast setups with the AntigravityCam by Cinema Devices
  • A way to immerse yourself in a creative studio and projection based XR stage specializing in virtual productions featuring augmented and real-time in camera VFX, content creation and projection mapping by Create This
  • A look at how the power of artificial intelligence is inventing the tools of tomorrow to accelerate workflows, transform production, and embolden creativity by DGene AI Technology
  • A demonstration of how to be tech savvy and familiarize yourself with tools to take with you on set and improve your work productivity by Digital Day Programming Committee
  • A way to interact with custom virtual production workflows that provide Directors and ADs hardware and software solutions for their next feature film or broadcast live event by Fuse Technical Group
  • A method to capture live action performances in full 3D at Metastage’s state-of-the-art studio, which offers specialized production, metaverse consultation, volumetric capture, digital twins, location scanning, motion capture & more by Metastage
  • A demonstration of how to access ultra-precise camera tracking and robotic cinematic heads through virtual productions innovations by Mo-Sys Near Time Technology
  • A way to digitize live actors and objects into the virtual world using the 3D Hologram Camera by NLight
  • A method of pushing the boundaries of virtual production using cutting-edge VP tools and stages for pre-production and production by Orbital Studios
  • A demonstration of how to place yourself in a state-of-the-art mobile virtual production environment allowing to seamlessly pull focus from real objects, through the LED wall, to focus on virtual objects whilst tracking and organizing all footage based on pre-production goals and post-production needs by PRG
  • A demonstration of how to teleport yourself with the first device that lets people beam themselves to a location thousands of miles away and interact with people there by Proto Hologram
  • A look at a new visual medium leveraging industry-leading high-speed vision sensor technology to enable a glasses-free, high-resolution 3D modelling, and visualization experience by Sony
  • A method to visualize and conceptualize sets in the design, review, and early build process in The Third Floor's Chimera using Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality (AR) glasses by The Third Floor

See video from this event in the gallery below.

About the Panelists:

Keynote Address: James Cameron

James CameronJames Cameron
Cameron is an acclaimed Filmmaker, Explorer and Environmental Advocate. Over the last 20 years, he has developed cutting edge 3D camera systems and was at the vanguard of the 3D renaissance that has transformed the movie industry. As Director, Writer and Producer, Cameron is responsible for some of the most memorable films, including The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and True Lies; as well as 12 documentaries such as Secrets of the Whales and Game Changers. For his 1997 film Titanic — which garnered a record 14 Academy Award nominations and took home a record 11 Oscars — Cameron received the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for and was nominated in the same category for his 2009 feature Avatar. He has now completed principal capture and photography on three of four Avatar sequels. Cameron joined the DGA in 1985.


Randal KleiserDGA Special Projects Digital Day Subcommittee Chair Randal Kleiser
Internationally known since his first feature, Grease, Kleiser’s other credits include The Blue Lagoon, Flight of the Navigator, Big Top Peewee, North Shore, It’s My Party and White Fang. Always involved in cutting-edge technology, he worked in 70mm 3D for “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” for the Disney theme parks and developed a virtual reality simulator to train American soldiers encountering IEDs in the Middle East. In 2019, he released the 12-part virtual reality series Defrost, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and was shown at Cannes. Experimenting with Paramount and Intel Studios, he reimagined the song “You’re the One That I Want” using 20 dancers captured with volumetric technology. Kleiser currently serves as Co-Chair of the DGA’s annual Digital Day and is Chairman of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council. He is currently the Senior Creative Advisor for Occidental Entertainment. Kleiser joined the DGA in 1974.



Pulling Off Everything Everywhere All On A Small Budget

The DanielsDaniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
In addition to their comedic sci-fi action feature, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Kwan and Scheinert’s other directorial credits include the feature film Swiss Army Man; episodes of Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens and Childrens Hospital and numerous music videos. Scheinert joined the DGA in 2010 and Kwan joined the DGA in 2013.


Discovering Virtual Production: Best Practices from Prep to Shoot

Heather Wagner1st AD Heather Wagner
A graduate of the Assistant Director Training Program, Wagner joined the DGA in 2016. Her resume includes projects such as Steven Spielberg’s feature, The Fabelmans and Todd Holland’s movie for television, Charlie Foxtrot; and episodes of series such as The Book of Boba Fett, The Mandalorian, The Goldbergs, Breaking Bad, Animal Kingdom and Silicon Valley, including Mike Judge’s DGA Award-nominated episode, “Server Error.”  


David KleinDP David Klein, ASC
Klein started his career working with Director Kevin Smith on such films as Chasing Amy, Zack and Miri Make a Porno and Red State. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and for the past decade has been working in television on series including Pushing Daisies, True Blood, Homeland, The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. 

Ryan BeaganWarner Bros VP of Virtual Production Ryan Beagan
Beagan started 14 years ago in the motion capture industry. While working on Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, the breakthrough to use game engines on set solidified his belief that virtual production was the future. His work on features such as Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, Chris Sanders’s The Call of the Wild and Robert Zemeckis’s The Witches continued the evolution of what real time workflow can mean for the filmmaking process. After joining Warner in 2020, the first project Beagan led was the build of a state-of-the-art LED virtual production stage, for the first show to use the stage, HBO’s House of the Dragon.

Dani Bellar PilukasLux Machina Director of Physical Production Dani Bellar Pilukas
Pilukas has worked with companies such as Cirque du Soleil, Tait and Walt Disney Imagineering, where she has been a strategic leader, mentor and visionary in reworking the way technology feeds creativity. As an Imagineer, she was intimately involved in the creation and storytelling of immersive experiences such as “Pandora - The World of Avatar,” “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction. In her most recent role as the Director of Physical Production with Lux Machina Consulting, she is leading technical and creative teams to support Virtual Production and In-Camera VFX LED Volume work across the globe.

Susan ZwermanDGA Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chair Susan Zwerman (Co-Moderator)
Zwerman has worked as the Studio Executive Producer for Exceptional Minds where she provided young artists on the autism spectrum career opportunities in digital animation and visual effects on feature films such as Black Widow, Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Avengers: Endgame, Captain Marvel, Green Book and Black Panther. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, and the Visual Effects Society. She is also the editor — with Jeffrey Okun — of The VES Handbook of Visual Effects. A DGA member since 1979, Zwerman received the 2013 Frank Capra Achievement Award in recognition of career achievement and service to the industry and to the Guild. Zwerman is a member of the Special Projects Committee, Co-Chair of its Digital Day Subcommittee and serves as Chair of the DGA Western AD/UPM Council VFX/Digital Technology Committee.

Chris EdwardsThe Third Floor’s CEO & Co-Founder Chris Edwards (Co-Moderator)
Edwards has been promoting the evolution and use of visualization for leading entertainment content and experiences including Game of Thrones, movies in the Marvel and Lucasfilm cinematic franchises and themed attractions worldwide. The Third Floor’s visualization work continues to make an impact on the current and future production of feature film, television and immersive media. In 2009, Edwards co-founded The Previsualization Society, a non- profit trade association for previs professionals, and in 2014, he co-founded VRC: The Virtual Reality Company. He is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, BAFTA LA, Television Academy, Themed Entertainment Association and the Visual Effects Society.


Raising the Volume: TV Directors Utilizing Virtual Production

Bert And BertieBert & Bertie
Bert & Bertie are a writing-directing duo with their own unique style of storytelling and magical realism. After meeting in 2005, they joined forces to write and direct several short films including Phobias, The Taxidermist and Worm, and directed their debut feature film Dance Camp in 2015. Their other directorial credits include the feature Troop Zero; and episodes of Kidding, The Great, Hawkeye, Our Flag Means Death and Apple’s new sci-fi series, Wool. Bert & Bertie joined the DGA in 2017.

Dan LiuDan Liu
Liu’s directorial credits include episodes of The Walking Dead and its spin-offs, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond; as well as episodes of For All Mankind, Shadow and Bone, Kung Fu, NCIS: Los Angeles, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. He has been a DGA member since 2017.

Greg YaitanesGreg Yaitanes
Yaitanes produced and directed the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. His other directorial credits include episodes of The Old Man, Snowfall, Castle Rock, The Twilight ZoneManhunt: Unabomber, Quarry and Banshee. He won an Emmy Award in 2008 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his work on House, M.D.; and led his team to 29 Emmy Award nominations and six wins, including the first Emmy Award nomination for content aired exclusively online for the Fox series, Drive. Yaitanes joined the DGA in 1997.


Michael GoiDGA Digital Day Subcommittee Co-Chair Michael Goi (moderator)
A DGA member since 2015, Goi currently serves as a member of the DGA Special Projects Committee and is Co-Chair of its Digital Day Subcommittee. He also currently serves as a Co-Chair of the DGA Television Diversity Task Force and as an Alternate to both the DGA National Board and Western Directors Council. He also previously served a co-chair of the DGA’s Asian American Committee. Goi’s directing credits include the feature films Megan Is Missing and Voyeur; the pilot of Avatar: The Last Airbender; and episodes of the television series Big Sky, Sexy Urban Legends, Pretty Little Liars, and American Horror Story. He is also known as an acclaimed cinematographer with over 70 narrative credits and earned Emmy nominations for his cinematography work on Glee, American Horror Story and My Name Is Earl.


About the Special Projects Committee

Special Projects is the educational and cultural arm of the Directors Guild of America, providing its members opportunities for creative exchange to advance their craft and celebrate the achievements of directors and their teams. The Committee is chaired by Director Jeremy Kagan. The Digital Day Subcommittee is chaired by Randal Kleiser with co-chairs Michael Goi and Susan Zwerman; and the Digital Day Subcommittee members are: Brian Frankish, Scott Rindenow, Oz Scott, Arthur Allan Seidelman and Jay Torres.

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