At the Epic Games keynote at GDC, car manufacturer Chevrolet and visual effect (VFX) studio The Mill took to the stage to show off ‘The Human Race’ – a short film featuring the Chevy Camera ZL1 and the Chevrolet FNR self-driving concept car.
Typically in movies, adverts and TV shows, if a car needs to be used and a real car is either impractical or unavailable, for example for a dangerous stunt or when a brand-new car was wrapped in secrecy, the job would be turned over to the VFX department. Then CGI artists must spend day to weeks of post-production designing, building and refining the VFX needed to make it look convincing to the audience. This would often chew up lots of processing power and man-hours and was usually very expensive.
London-based VFX firm came up with a solution. The Mill Blackbird is a fully customisable car rig that can be configured to mimic the, length, width, physics and handling of a large variety of vehicles. It comes equipped with a specialised 360° camera called The Mill Cyclops as well as laser-tracking that can accurately keep track of the world around it and relay it back to it’s own specialised AR application that allows the real objects and the virtual ones to be flawlessly integrated together.
This enables the team at The Mill to place the Blackbird into any environment for filming, and in real-time add the skin of whatever vehicle they choose over the top. They can change the colour on the fly even as lighting, reflections and textures are all seamlessly re-calculated in real-time and displayed on the tablet app where they can be tweaked and altered by the user.
This technology was used to create the short film ‘The Human Race’, an exciting short film depicting a race between a human driver and an AI-controlled car. This short film forms the basis for a multi-platform campaign that marks the 30th anniversary of the Camero.
You can watch The Human Race and it’s behind the scenes making of mini-documentary below. VRFocus will keep you updated with further updates on AR and other related subjects.