Chevrolet has sought out to help flex its digital development muscles with Epic Games and The Mill by coming together and utilizing the latest augmented reality and digital film development tools. The final product is a real-time, augmented reality film titled “The Human Race”.
Epic Games combined its Unreal Engine with The Mill’s proprietary virtual production toolkit, Mill Cyclops, to revolutionize digital filmmaking. Specifically, Mill Cyclops and the Mill Blackbird rig was the only vehicle actually used during the film’s development. The technology, along with the rig, allows for nearly any vehicle to be inserted into any film environment.
Unlike traditional CG, which requires days of rendering, the Mill Blackbird live shots were fed directly into Unreal Engine positional data from the Array tracking system. The Camaro was then rendered and composited seamlessly into the footage in real-time AR, allowing the directors to instantly see the final look and composition of each shot.
“‘The Human Race’ blends cinematic storytelling and real-time visual effects to define a new era of narrative possibilities,” said Angus Kneale, chief creative officer at The Mill in New York. “This is a pivotal moment for film VFX and the coming era of augmented reality production. Using Unreal’s cutting-edge game engine technology, filmmakers are able to see their photoreal digital assets on location in real time. It also means the audience can effect change in films in ways previously unimagined, giving interactive control over vehicles, characters and environments within a live action cinema experience. With Mill Cyclops, The Mill’s proprietary virtual production toolkit, we are able to render and integrate digital assets into the real world to a level never seen before.”
The real-time technology also helped shape the creation and production of the film, allowing for “final pixels”, which Epic Games and The Mill say will change the way filmmakers make critical decisions.
You can watch the short film in the video above, which features the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 and the futuristic Chevrolet FNR (Find New Roads) concept. And let it sink in that nothing about the vehicles is actually real, instead, digitally crafted to perfection.