Previz is the new 'killer app' ...
The process, called "previsualization," or previz, is storyboarding taken to the next level: digital storyboarding with a certain degree of interactivity. Creatively, it allows a filmmaker to completely rough out a movie using the same lighting, camera angle and effects parameters as would be employed in the finished film. Essentially, it's a blueprint of the film but one created in a cost-effective environment where the whole point is experimentation, and changes can be made and viewed on the fly.
It's not real time per se," [George] Lucas' previz specialist Daniel Gregoire says, estimating it took anywhere from "a few minutes to a half-hour" to render previz shots on "Sith." "What it does is give a sense of the environment, the dimensionality, the set scope, where you can and can't go."
Kaufman gets some nice quotes from Rob Legato, who's currently working with Jim Cameron on "Battle Angel," and Loni Peristere:
At Zoic Studios, visual-effects supervisor Loni Peristere looks forward to integrating video game engines into the CGI pipeline. "We want to merge the two. We'll be able to sit with a director and block out scenes in real time, (as well as) make the whole process more efficient," Peristere says.
She also talks about some of the limitations of trying to use videogame engines for previz.