Virtual production techniques are on the rise and filmmakers are increasingly using them to visualise complex scenes or scenes that simply cannot be filmed for real. Virtual production enables you to plan, imagine, or complete any filmic element, typically with the aid of the prevalent platform, UNREAL engine. The use of real-time render engines and high-resolution LED walls are seemingly working towards a future where location shoots or shoots with green screens are entirely eliminated. Motion control is an effective addition to the virtual production tool kit as it can be used to create camera angles that are simply not possible by hand, as well as creating the stability and accurate repeatability of camera movement.
Why Use Motion Control
The use of camera robotics in your virtual production enables improved accuracy and more stable camera position data, which means better, more stable backgrounds which then allows for using multiple passes for improved lighting and additional effects. Pre-programmed moves straight from pre-vis also create better background rendering by allowing for pre-rendering time which streamlines the production workflow straight from pre-vis with fewer takes!
MRMC Virtual Production Tools
Bolt™ Cinebot™ Rigs in Virtual Production
To capture complex virtual environments, look no further than our range of Bolt Cinebot rigs. The advanced precision and absolute repeatability of movement, combined with the ability to be used in a studio with a small footprint, make Bolt the ideal motion control robot to use with this technology.
Simul8 in Maya Plug-in
The MRMC Simul8 Maya plug-in software allows easier motion control move-planning in Maya. It allows you to use 3D models of full camera motion rigs. The models allow you to see if the camera movements you are planning are feasible to be used on set in real-time. It will check to ensure your moves do not exceed the maximum capabilities of the rigs such as position, speed and acceleration.
It also allows advance planning of rail or rig position onset and can be used by Maya users, rather than relying on a motion control operator for their pre-vis/pre-production. Moves can be transferred both ways from Maya to Flair and back. We have created a series of videos to show new users how to fully utilise the software.
If you require 3D MODELS of any of our rigs in pre-vis for your virtual production, then they can be downloaded from our rentals equipment pages here. (click on the rig, then top right tab: download IK 3D model).
Please note that if you are using Smul8 then the rig models are already included in the software.
Unreal Engine Livelink Plugin
The Unreal Engine LiveLink plugin for MRMC rigs automatically takes the data from the Bolt, Milo, Titan or any MRMC moco rig, converting it to Unreal’s coordinate space. This minimises any potential rendering lag, essentially tethering the virtual camera in Unreal to the Bolt robotic camera. The LiveLink plugin can also be used for pre-visualisation.
MRMC’s Flair motion control software can be connected directly to Unreal and used to generate real-time feedback for camera moves before a set has even been built. While Flair will output OSC format data without the plug-in which can be read directly by Unreal without the plugin, the plugin makes the process much simpler for less advanced users, packaging everything up in one neat free solution.
Rite Media Virtual Production Case Study
RiTE Media is taking Virtual Production even further, successfully integrating their precision motion control robotics with real-time engines. This allows them to dial in environments, lighting, rigging, etc. while isolating and replicating precise variables. It can effectively emulate any dynamic environment in an incredibly small footprint.
To augment the fierce combination that is Motion Control and Unreal, they coded and designed a LiveLink plugin in partnership with the Unreal team that allows the engine to receive critical position, zoom, and focus data from any robot, in real-time. This tethers our exact robotic movement to the virtual camera inside Unreal, which is what allows us to merge our worlds with incredible precision and control.
VFX Computer Graphics & MOCO
At MRMC we have joined the worlds of motion control and 3D graphics for over three decades, allowing camera moves created on the motion control rigs to be transferred to the 3D computer graphics world, and similarly allowing 3D pre-visualised moves to be transferred to and shot by a motion control rig. Over the years we have constantly added more features to simplify the process, interface to more systems and make it easier for the VFX supervisors to achieve their vision. Our Flair software will import/export FBX files, output real-time camera positional data in handfuls of different formats, and input real-time data to achieve esoteric techniques such as live move scaling (think Gullivers Travels). If you need it, we probably have it, so feel free to contact us.