November 12, 2019
Unreal Engine in-camera VFX: a behind-the-scenes look
Set up at Lux Machina’s Los Angeles studio, the project demonstrates how LED walls can not only provide environments for real-world actors and props, but also light them and cast reflections on them, making it possible to capture final pixel in camera.
We published a short video recap of the project in August, which generated many requests for more details. As a result, we’ve put together a much more in-depth behind-the-scenes look at what was involved. The full video explores shooting with real-time parallax; blending CG and real-world sets with set extension tools; using VR tools to scout, set dress, and measure environments; working collaboratively in live, multi-user sessions; controlling lighting and environment from an iPad; and using nDisplay to blend the output from multiple render nodes.
In addition, the team demonstrates how filming in a virtual environment offers efficiencies not only in the case where final pixel is created in camera, but also where the final composite will be created in post. In this example, a virtual background is used to both provide lighting and reflections to the real-world actor and props and to give context to the director looking through the camera. At the same time, the actor is filmed against a virtual green screen with tracking markers for downstream compositing with a live-action background plate.
While tools and techniques like these are only just starting to be used in production, their potential to transform the art and craft of filmmaking is clear. We’re excited to see how the industry evolves.
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