Amazon Studios reveals Virtual Stage 15 and Announces it’s latest production “Candy Cane Lane” starring Eddie Murphy with Iconic Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin

Virtual Stage 15 Is The First and Only Global Next Generation Production Infrastructure in the Industry

By: Jessica L. Dupree

Photo’s Courtesy of Amazon Studios

 

Amazon Studios started its week off with an announcement that sent shock waves throughout the entertainment industry so strong you’d think an earthquake hit its Amazon Studios. They’ve waited years to reveal Stage 15, a virtual production stage nestled in its Culver City headquarters, that introduces the latest in cutting edge technology. It’s the first and only global next-generation production infrastructure in the industry.

The Studios top executives Albert Cheng, Chief Operating Officer of Amazon Studios, Kenneth Nakada, Head of Virtual Production Operations, and Chris del Conte, Global Head of Visual effects spoke to an excited crowd of media, cinematographers, production designers, and actors before handing the microphone to the final speaker and official ribbon cutter – Iconic filmmaker Reginald Hudlin (Boomerang, House Party).

This is pretty exciting for me. In a week I start shooting my next movie for Amazon called “Candy Cane Lane” starring Eddie Murphy. It’s a big, ambitious family holiday comedy. We had a really big vision for it and we were talking with our partners at Amazon. They were very excited about inviting us to meet with the team about shooting some of the sequences here on the sound stage,” said Hudlin.

“…It’s wonderful to work with a studio partner which has these kinds of extraordinary resources at the disposal of the people they work with. So I really want to thank Amazon for being a studio of the future or the studio of today and it’s wonderful. It’s also wonderful to be asked to cut a ribbon because I’ve never done that before, that’s kind of cool. I guess the only thing after this is to you know throw a bottle at a ship or something. I’m very excited to be here, very excited to make my next movie for Amazon and guys let’s do it. Let’s make movies, let’s cut a ribbon and come see the amazing thing that they’ve built here,” Hudlin told the electrified crowd.

With gigantic red scissors in his hands Hudlin cut the ribbon making way to the newest technology displayed throughout Stage 15 – the cutting edge, virtual stage at Amazon Studios. The studio executives shared how they had directors like Hudlin at the center of their plans when the blueprints were being mapped out. Obsessing over filmmakers, the big wigs brought their brightest minds, talent, and resources together through their partnership with AWS to create a home and safe place for filmmakers and content creators.

During the summer of 2020, Amazon had a short-term and long-term challenge. The short term challenge was how to shoot and create content with limited travel but with a desire to shoot in multiple locations. The long-term challenge was how does the Amazon via Effects Department support and supply our filmmakers with the latest, cutting-edge, innovative technology to create world building shows beyond the traditional green screen post process.  Virtual production checked boxes for both those challenges and we began to utilize it,” said Chris del Conte, Global Head of Visual effects for Amazon Studios.

To take full advantage of technology in a cost-effective way, we felt it was important to directly engage with technology inside the studio. … we spent the last several months mapping out and executing this build,” he continued.

Another critical point was to have our own virtual in-house production stage to allow our Amazon creative stakeholders such as directors, production designers, line producers, and creative executives a safe space to come and dive deep into this new emerging technology to fully educate themselves for future projects considering virtual production. We want directors to be not just comfortable but excited about embracing virtual production and to shoot their content on Amazon Studios Stage 15, said Ocanto.

When Heart & Soul caught up with Trailblazing Director Reginald Hudlin about his upcoming film “Candy Cane Lane” starring Eddie Murphy that begins filming on Stage 15 next week, he promised that this film, in particular, will be the biggest one yet for the culture.

“It stars Eddie Murphy and we haven’t worked together in 30 years so it’s us coming back together and I’m very excited. And you know when we worked together before we were both single men living in New York now we’re family men living in LA and we’re making a movie for families and about families. So we’re very excited about that,” said Hudlin.

“But it’s a big movie, it’s fantastic. You know so it’s … I’m gonna mention some weird points of comparison. It’s a Christmas movie but it’s sort of like Ghostbusters. It’s a Christmas movie but it’s sort of like Beetlejuice – it’s a wild one,” Hudlin added.

When asked about Amazon Studios Stage 15, Hudlin couldn’t hold back his enthusiasm about the virtual stage. “I love virtual studios. When they started using these in productions I said I can’t wait to get my hands on one of those. So when we started talking about making “Candy Cane Lane” together and they said “Hey we have our own virtual studio why don’t you come use it!,”  and I’m like, it’s done, let’s go! So we’ve been planning, we have a couple of big sequences that we’ll be shooting here and I can’t wait to do it, said Hudlin.

Amazon Studios’ Virtual Stage 15 is now the biggest LED Wall Virtual-Production Stage in the U.S. Considered the next generation of film and television creation – the stage will be used to film parts of Trailblazing Director Reginald Hudlins upcoming film “Candy Cane Lane.”

ASVP Features and Background

  • Stage 15 is a 34,000-square-foot structure including the LED volume, a “Sandbox” lab, and 17,000 square feet of space dedicated to set construction and production support.
  • The ASVP LED volume contains 130,700 cubic feet of interactive space.
  • Amazon filmmakers may access ASVP as a consultation resource for all phases of a production, from concept planning through post.
  • The ASVP volume wall is composed of over 3,000 LED panels and 100 motion capture cameras.
  • The volume includes a full LED ceiling with drop-out panels, so that productions can rig up to 350,000 pounds of lights and production gear to its truss.
  • Stage 15 was originally built in 1940 and was home to productions that included It’s a Wonderful LifeStar Trek (TV show), Batman (TV show), RoboCopAirplaneThe Three Amigos, and Armageddon.

For more information on Amazon Studio’s Virtual Stage 15, visit press.AmazonStudios.com.