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Three Keys to a Successful Virtual Production Shoot with Unreal Engine

Written by Gus Abdallah

Getting into virtual production can be a challenging task if you don’t know what you need to be successful as a stage operator and artist. Here is a quick guide to ensure you have a smooth ICVFX shoot.

1. Determine Your Virtual Sets

You should have a good idea of how many unique virtual sets will be needed for your shoot. Depending on how many days you’ve booked the studio to shoot, it's recommended that you give yourself ample time with each virtual set. Although we can quickly change between environments, it takes time to switch physical set elements and camera/lighting setups. If you’re only shooting for one day, we’ve found that 3 setups is the sweet spot, because if you try to cram in too much it can end up slowing down production overall.

2. Determine Environment Types

You'll want to decide what type of environments are best for your virtual sets. You can either commission a custom 3D environment from scratch (this option takes the most time), or you can use a premade asset from resources like Turbosquid and the Epic Games Marketplace. The second option still requires an Unreal Engine artist to personalize and optimize the environment to fit the needs of the shoot, but is far less time consuming.

3. Plan Ahead

Last but not least, you should plan for a pre-visualization day. This is the most important day to ensure a strong foundation is laid for a successful shoot, and is where most of the collaboration happens between the virtual production team and other key crew members. This gives us time to work with other members of the production like the DP to determine the best way to block the scene, and gaffers to help match the lighting on set.

A virtual production shoot can feel somewhat daunting for anyone doing it for the first time, but with the right creative planning and pre-visualization process you can feel confident stepping into the Volume on filming day. At we employ a thorough pre-production process to help you plan, create, visualize and optimize your environments to bring your creative vision to life.

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