Safe Sets and Virtual Production Bring Remote Guests to The Drew Barrymore Show
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Spectators tuned into the new Drew Barrymore Show saw their ever-optimistic stars greet the guests on stage – a seemingly impossible scenario during the COVID-19 pandemic brought about by virtual production and visual technology developed by CBS VFX Effects was made possible.

CBS VFX technology enables Barrymore to take part in the dynamic set of the show in New York City while their guests visit in real time from a secure set in Los Angeles, integrating the two in a way that is seamless for viewers.

"Despite the difficult realities of the world, we can bring our guests together with the freedom and vitality I always envisioned for the show," said Barrymore. Her show features a steady influx of weekly guests, many of whom live in Los Angeles and cannot travel due to pandemic-related restrictions.

According to Rich Cervini, executive vice president of programming and production at CBS Television Distribution, who produced the show, “We lit the show green before the pandemic. When COVID arrived, we didn't want to do without the quality and the great show feeling. We wanted a solution that made it feel like guests are really in the studio with Drew, rather than just on a flat screen. "

For a solution, the manufacturers turned to CBS VFX for input. Managing Director Craig Weiss helped innovate a solution that was tested in June, then approved and accelerated to be ready for everyday use when the show debuted on September 14th.

"The show and our team showed speed, creativity and a willingness to find completely new applications for systems and software that we used for large projects with visual effects," said Weiss. “We had to overcome technical challenges to give Drew a seamless, real-time experience that allowed her to immerse himself in her weekly guests. We used a proprietary system that included custom synchronization software for remote cameras, fiber optic lines and data transfer. There's a natural body language and energy that is lost in videoconferencing, and we made it possible for Drew's show to go back to the kind of talk show we know and love and give her the opportunity to connect with her guests in some way do not allow treading like traditional approaches would not. "

George Bloom, Executive Producer of CBS VFX, added that the virtual production and visual effects leader, based at the CBS Studio Center in Studio City, is involved in solutions for productions, networks and studios outside of its parent company. “The solutions we developed for the Drew Barrymore Show are excellent examples of our dedication to helping producers find ways to make their visions come true safely, effectively, and in ways that add tremendous value to their projects brings. We look forward to making the technology available across the industry. "

CBS VFX has pioneered technology and created visual effects for multiple series on many networks, including All Rise on CBS, This Is Us on NBC, and Netflix's Dead to Me.

CBS VFX maintains a dedicated sound stage for virtual production. The team is available to television production professionals for live demonstrations of virtual production, digital set expansion, and real-time previs technologies. More information is available at

Source: CBS VFX


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