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LED Volume Wall Makes Regina the Latest Movie-Making Destination

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A groundbreaking $12 million LED volume wall in Regina has made the Saskatchewan capital city a surprise hotbed of movie and TV production.

LED volume walls are linked LED panels used to display video footage. The virtual production technology combines digital cinematography, LED volumes, game engines, and processing platforms to create visual backgrounds that can resemble any location.

The wall was built for $12 million by Volume Global and unveiled in mid-March. Co-founder Michael Wright, who was born in Montreal and lived in Los Angeles for 35 years, said the facility represents the future of filmmaking.

“It’s the smartest way to shoot. The shift from regular film to digital camera—it’s that level of change for the film and TV industry,” Mr. Wright told The Epoch Times in front of the LED wall.

“It’s much faster. It’s cheaper. It’s also the ability to get faster to market because you don’t have to do visual effects and post. It’s all done in pre-production. So when the actors are acting on set here, they actually can react to what’s in the screen.”

The volume wall is a 295-degree circle of 1,800 LED panels measuring 26 metres in diameter and nine metres tall. It was unveiled at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage and is already in high demand.

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Actress Aimee Stolte of "Hostile Takeover" in front of the LED volume wall at the John Hopkins Soundstage in Regina on May 28, 2024. (Lee Harding for The Epoch Times)
Actress Aimee Stolte of “Hostile Takeover” in front of the LED volume wall at the John Hopkins Soundstage in Regina on May 28, 2024. (Lee Harding for The Epoch Times)

“There’s a tremendous number of entities that are reaching out to us even now, the Netflix and the Amazons of the world. They want to start shooting bigger shows here, right in Regina, because this is the most high-tech of its kind in the world right now,” Mr. Wright said.

The motion picture action-thriller “Hostile Takeover” began three weeks of filming at the facility on May 28. The setting for the film is New York, yet it will be filmed in Regina. The wall can set the scene for any setting anywhere in the world, or even fictional worlds created by digital animators.

“If we moved our crew to New York City, imagine how much it would cost with all the police and to shoot where we’re shooting now, which is a dock overlooking New York City. It would be astronomical,” Mr. Wright said.

“Hostile Takeover” features American actor and martial artist Michael Jai White (“Black Dynamite,” “The Dark Knight”) and co-star Aimee Stolte (“Escape the Night,” “Megaladon”) in the film. Stolte said on first impression, she felt “overwhelmed” when she saw the “scale and magnitude” of the volume wall.

“My jaw dropped and my eyes went wide, and I just craned my neck around and smiled and let out a little bit of an ‘Oh, my gosh,’ and just walked around the space. It was really cool to take it all in and see the way it works,” Ms. Stolte said in an interview at the wall.

Ms. Stolte, who was raised in Saskatoon, said when she moved to Los Angeles in 2015, she never imagined she could return to her home province for acting, let alone at a groundbreaking facility.

“When I heard about it, I had to ask a few times, ‘Are you sure? Like, this is what you’re talking about?’ So it’s very exciting to be back. I do have some family here still.”

Dante Yore, a director of photography on more than 60 films, is chief technology officer for the wall. Mr. Yore, who worked on the “Star Wars” TV series “The Mandelorian,” said the wall project was a surprise, but a welcome challenge after years of working through frustrating shortcomings in green screen technology.

Dante Yore on the set of "Hostile Takeover" at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage, the volume wall visible in the background, in Regina on May 28, 2024. (Lee Harding for The Epoch Times)
Dante Yore on the set of “Hostile Takeover” at the John Hopkins Regina Soundstage, the volume wall visible in the background, in Regina on May 28, 2024. (Lee Harding for The Epoch Times)

“When I first heard the idea, I didn’t even know what Saskatchewan was, or where it was located. But when I came up here and saw the soundstage and heard what they wanted to do here, I was super excited for it,” he said.

“The demand for this has been insane. I mean, we’re booked out on this volume until the end of 2027. So, we have movies and TV shows coming in. We don’t even have enough space for the amount of people that want to shoot on it right now, which is an incredible problem to have. So I think that’s fantastic that it’s going to drive so much film surplus into Saskatchewan.”

Mr. Yore helped hire and train locals to build and operate the volume wall, including Cory Maclean, who is doing best play lighting for “Hostile Takeover.” The Regina filmmaker said the grant program and volume made it possible for him to stay local and remain in the industry.

“It takes the limiters off of what you can shoot here, and certain things it makes a lot easier, such as driving shots where we just put the vehicle on there and we don’t need to put it on a trailer and tow it back and forth and reset. And if we need a costume change, we don’t need to drive 20 minutes back to base camp to do that,” he said.

Saskatchewan phased out its film employment tax credit a decade ago, choosing not to compete with jurisdictions offering ever-increasingly generous offerings. In 2022, the province introduced a grant program for approved films that covered up to 40 percent of goods and services spent in Saskatchewan.
According to the government, approximately $28 million has been committed to 46 productions that will spend over $71 million in the province, generating an approximate economic output of $128 million and over 800 jobs.

Provincial agency Creative Saskatchewan provided $3.3 million in funding for “Hostile Takeover,” which the province estimates will lead to 140 jobs and economic spinoffs of $14 million.

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