The Convergence of Games and Movies with Mauro Frau

by Brandon Pham
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“Around 2014 there was a big VR boom, you would also see little experiments with game engines, and from that you would see some great work and potential that was starting a buzz.” – Mauro Frau

Mauro Frau is the co-founder and creative director at Treehouse Ninjas, an independent studio creating high-end environment art and lighting for movies and games. He has amazing insights in how entertainment industries are slowly merging together and called it many years ago before it has been widely adopted.

Game engines has quickly evolved over recent years with the latest iteration of Unity and Unreal turning heads from all sectors of the entertainment business. It is now common knowledge that the Mandolorian has been a groundbreaking show for many reasons, however, it is the fact that it utilizes Unreal engine for virtual backdrops that really makes the content come alive. Actors can now concentrate on their performances and not pretend in front of a green screen imagining grandiose vfx sets. It’s that immersive experience that translates from actor to director that is fully transforming the way shows and now movies will be made for on-going years. Hollywood and many other industries are now appreciating what gamers and game developers have enjoyed for decades, real-time interaction and fast iteration. Overall, budgets and time-cost gets greatly reduced and it’s all thanks to the silly cheating techniques of making games.

Mauro, recognized this long ago and him and his team at Treehouse Ninjas helped paved the way with their Unity Demo, the Heretic, in collaboration with the Unity Demo Team. The demo was to demonstrate the highest level of graphics possible and make it fully real-time. It was a great undertaking as tools were still being realized during the time with the Unity engine. But it is the efforts of Treehouse Ninjas, that helped pioneered the imagination for what’s possible for this generation of games as well as movies.

It is no mystery that games have been the ugly cousin to movies for a long time. Games have always been limited by technology and the cost of real-time often pushes developers to cut corners in the graphics department in favor of the overall experience. However, the same way graphics cards and phones have pushed innovation, technology have finally caught up to where movies and games can truly stand toe-to-toe and not be a distracting annoyance. All industries have fully embraced game technology and with that, more investments will be made to make it even better.


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1 comment

Laura July 17, 2021 - 3:39 am

This is a true gem, and the whole talk is priceless. This intelligent thinking on the internet should have more visibility.


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