Heard about virtual production visualization but not sure where to start? We’ve got something special in store for you.
Over the next few months, we’ll be publishing a serialized step-by-step guide that will explain how to use virtual production workflows for visualization—the process of creating computer-generated imagery to help plan and preview various aspects of a production, which includes previs, pitchvis, techvis, stuntvis, and postvis.
By the end, you’ll know how to set up and run a professional-level visualization shoot in Unreal Engine. Our goal for this series is to break down the technical barriers for people who want to get into this innovative way of exploring creative ideas in the initial stages of filmmaking.
We’ll share insights from some of the world's leading studios working in the field, including Magnopus, Bron Studios, ReelFX, Sony, MPC, and Epic’s own Fortnite Cinematics team.
You’ll have the opportunity to learn from the experience of these pioneers and build your own battle-tested blueprint for how to get up and running.
Want to know more? Watch the video below and hear from members of the Epic team and Magnopus, one of our partners on the project.
Virtual production in Unreal Engine
By now, most people working in film and TV have heard about virtual production. While the impressive work using LED stages on shows like The Mandalorian grabs the headlines, virtual production is an incredibly broad set of workflows that goes far beyond in-camera VFX (also known as on-set virtual production).
For many filmmakers looking to plan out shots or explore different storyboarding avenues, visualization has been little short of a game changer.
Create a virtual version of your set in a game engine and bring in digital versions of your actors, using performance capture technology to have them act out scenes. Then, use a virtual camera to explore shots for that scene from any angle. “It's where the director or the DP explore their ideas—if that's the shot that they really wanted or if it's even possible to do the shot that they really wanted,” says Katherine Harris Mojica, Virtual Production Supervisor at Magnopus.
Creature courtesy of Aaron Sims
The creative and cost-saving advantages of this way of working has long been heralded—but up until now, there hasn’t been a single, definitive guide on how to do it.
That’s partly because there is no definitive way—different companies do things in different ways. “Visualization is difficult because there's no one way and it's even more difficult because no one way is ever written down,” explains Harris.
We realized that this presented an opportunity to pull together all the knowledge out there and map out how to get from A to B.
Epic is in contact with many of the studios leading the field in virtual production. Once we told them what we were trying to do, they were more than happy to talk to us at length about their processes, in-house rules, and what has or hasn't worked for them. “Creating a process that's flexible—allowing for adaptability by a director—is really important and hard to do,” says Lily Pitts, Virtual Production Technical Director, Magnopus. “Figuring out exactly where things go wrong and how to fix them? Even harder.”
With that in mind, Epic and our partners are setting out to show you the challenges we’ve experienced on our own previs projects and how we overcame them.
By the time you get to the end of the guide, you’ll have the knowledge required to start your own visualization studio. “I wish they had done this years ago!” says Harris. “It would have saved me so much time, energy, and tears.”
Learn visualization in Unreal Engine
Explore the Virtual Production Visualization Guide and follow along as we step through every phase from gear setup, creative pre-production, and stage tool creation, all the way through to file management on the day of the shoot and editorial turnovers.
The first chapter will discuss the fundamentals—we'll suggest which hardware to use, which software to get, which motion capture solutions are available, and which buttons to push.
START LEARNING VISUALIZATION
Ready to begin your previs journey with Unreal Engine? Check out the first installment of our Virtual Production Visualization Guide today!