Making a Car Simulator in Unreal Engine (Virtual Video Production)

See how we created a driving car simulator in Unreal Engine to create a realistic driving scene in virtual production using a projection.

Car scenes in Film

Car scenes can be found in almost every movie. And in the older days shooting a car scenes was quite easy and not that realistic. For the long shots, they of course just used a panning tripod shot following the car. But they when they did a shot in or on the car, they actually used a blue screen and a pre-recorded background.

James Bond - Dr. No
James Bond – Dr. No

The problem here is that you notice that the movement of the steering-wheel doesn’t match with the motion of the car. And this little detail makes it less realistic.

Now of course these days, they just build giant rigs onto the cars. This way you can really drive and shoot at the same time, making it all super realistic. And they take this realism even further in the car stunts these days.

Did you know that in the Fast and Furious Nine movie over 350 cars were destroyed? Heck the car destroy tally is almost at 2000 for the F&F franchise. That are a lot of cars for only 9 movies.

VFX on a Budget

Now not everyone has the same budget as Hollywood VFX and can destroy thousands of cars. So how can we shoot a realistic car scene on a budget? Well just like in the old days, but with a modern twist.

In our short movie ‘Vengeance’ we also had a car scene. For this scene we shot everything indoor. This way we had full control over light setups, but most importantly, we could use a beamer and pre-recorded footage as a background.

The whole idea behind the beamer was the fact that it would emit realistic lights onto our car. So cars driving in our footage would cast lights on our real car, easy as that. Then to make it extra realistic, we used film lights to mimic street and other environment lights.

Next level Car scene

However this whole idea we are going to take to the next level. We are still going to use a beamer and extra film lights. But this time we are going to use an interactive background.

And for this we will be using Unreal engine and a DIY rig to operate the digital cameras inside Unreal engine. With this technique we will be able to control the lights and movements to be as realistic as possible.

LG CineBeam

Big thank to LG for their support on this video. Thanks to the LG CineBeam we could project the Unreal Engine’s world in real time.

Save up to $400 on LG CineBeam HU810P now! Offer ends Nov. 29th, 2021.

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