Short film made with Unreal Engine in virtual production

Richard Frantzen

Richard Frantzen

So this blog will continue in english since I noticed that most of the users are from other countries than Sweden.

Earlier this year we set out to shoot an short film in virtual production, but since our green screen studio was brand new we didn’t have that much in terms of lighting and gear. So with bare minimum we went with a dark moody flick that director Joakim Svensson quickly wrote up on a piece of paper with the premises that it was going to be lit by just one light, a flashlight. We later had to scramble for some more lights because it wasn’t enough 🙂

Virtual Production with Unreal Engine in our green screen studio

Everything was shot on a Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro G1 and Sigma Lenses, which is a terrific camera but not so good in low light. When getting in to keying the noise was creating some problems. But I think it worked out OK in the end anyways.

This has been quite a journey to finish this short little piece. Originally it was meant to have more of the rope in the editing, but I vastly overestimated my abilities in Houdini. And since this was a no-budget film I couldn’t get help to do it either. All that is left in the edit is one CG-shot of the rope falling.

At first I did the editing and comping in the Adobe Suite. But got tired of the long rendering times so I re-did everything in Da Vinci Resolve & Fusion. Which worked like a charm. But not being quite happy with the comping due to me being a freshman in Fusion I decided to re-do everything once more in After Effects and using Red Giants Supercomp which is a terrific plugin to get fast results.

Regarding the color grading I also had some problems there because of how dark it was meant to be. But not to dark. And this is of course dependent on which monitor your using. And to add to that, YouTube totally ruins the image when it’s that dark. So I’ve uploaded a version on Vimeo if you want to check it out in better quality.

On the Unreal Engine side we had pre-viz on set thanks to using HTC Vive as a camera tracker. To learn more about that watch my tutorial here.

In Unreal Engine I also recorded every take which then makes it easy to change the background plates and later render out in high quality for comping.

All in all great workflow, could’ve been better if my comping skills where better. But Hey, I’m learning 🙂

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