End to End Visualization

A Virtual Production Workflow

The Short Story:

Virtual Production has opened a window for Cinematographers like myself who are able to participate in content creation at all stages of a project.  

Scroll down to see what I’m talking about.
The Long Story:

As a Virtual Production Cinematographer who operates inside of Unreal Engine and understands traditional VFX workflows, I’m able to oversee and personally craft visuals from inception to final deliverable.

Instead of the traditional dance of multiple department handoffs and turnovers, VPDP’s like myself can help open up the previously linear pipeline of VFX & animated filmmaking. Directors and producers can take comfort in knowing that they can interface with me in the same way they would with a DP on a live action set.

By being an active and hands-on particant in every step of a Virtual Production, I can help to ensure that the creative vision remains consistent while maintaining an efficient workflow between all steps in the pipeline.  This may sound obvious or redundant, but I’ve found it critical to the development of Virtual Production practices as everyone tries to get their slice of the pie.  If you don’t know what’s possible or how it works, how can you fully take advantage of all the aspects of Virtual Production?

How does this work?

This brief workflow analysis was inspired by Epic & Unreal Engine’s own Virtual Production flowchart (link here).  In short, I’m just breaking down how Virtual Production Cinematographers can fit in and particpate in multiple areas of a production’s pipeline thanks to Unreal Engine.

Look Development
Previs, Postvis,  You-name-it-vis
Live Action Integration
The image fidelity of Unreal Engine combined with a cinematographer’s eye means that I’m able to create concept art that directly translates to future visualization and informs a creative at an extremely pricise level.
Another reality to consider is the fact that multiple stages of a production are blending into one.  What was once traditional previs (like the lighting vis I’ve done below) is now extremely accessible and real-time, and with Unreal Engine can even become final render.  Nemosyne is one of those cases, where Kevin Stewart and I were able to turn look dev into previs we shot in VR, while simultaneously lighting for cinematic photorealism in real-time!

There are many flavors of Virtual Production (see Noah Kadner’s VP Field Guide), but with the live LED wall variant of VP I’m now able to take all that visualization work and have it bridge wonderfully with a live action production.  The images below are from Lauren Alaina’s “What Do You Think Of?” and exemplify the type of marriage between visualization and live action VPDP’s like myself are currently experimenting with.

Kitbashing Cinematic Previs in Unreal Engine

Lighting Previs for a live action commercial

Previs next to final image from an LED Volume shoot