Tales from the Explorer’s Club, the Discovery+ documentary series starring Josh Gates, explores some of the most inhospitable environments in the world. Gates travels from the peaks of Mount Everest to the unknown expanse of space, the densest forests, and even arctic polar expeditions all from the comfort of an air-conditioned Burbank studio supported by a 20x12ft 1.5mm pitch 4K LED backdrop.
To transport the audience to these exotic locations, the Discovery+ team heavily relied on ARwall’s virtual production technology and its immersive storytelling features. ARwall provided the backdrops for nearly all the reenactment sequences in all five episodes of the first season; including all stunt and outdoor sequences.
Every episode in Tales from the Explorer’s Club featured production design, special effects and virtual production technology. The combination of these three elements was crucial in achieving lavish visuals, essential for documentary production.
ARwall made use of their new color management system which allowed for quicker control over the image, an advancement in software UI/UX and quality of life for a single operator. From the production’s side, the extensive use and variety of special effects and practical set pieces, combined with the virtual environments and LED backdrop, had never been achieved before at this level.
On discussing the greatest challenges of the project, Single operator and Virtual Production Artist, Ryan Arms noted that “snow is difficult, it tends to blow out and lose detail, so we had to really bring down and control highlights for each new setup while ensuring there was depth and richness in the frame.”
“Seeing the ingenuity and creativity in this production made us realize that we’ve barely scratched the surface of what amazing things you can do with this tech combined with a smart team of filmmakers. One time, I visited the set and they had placed a rockface on the ground with the actor laying on it pretending as if he was climbing up a cliff. When I looked at the monitor, it looked like we were above the actor with a snowy cliffside below him going into the distant slope below; and it was shockingly convincing.” – says Rene Amador, Founder and CEO of ARwall
“By partnering with the ARwall team and harnessing their virtual production technology, we were able to accomplish many quality scenes within timeframes Incorporating virtual production into our project has never been easier,” says Amber Seyler, Supervising Producer of Tales from the Explorer’s Club.