THE HUMAN RACE
EPIC GAMES & CHEVY
Create the world’s first live action film using real-time photoreal VFX.
Get the blood pumping via an immersive experience to hype the release of the new Nike Mercurial Superfly And Vapour 360 football boots.
Write, direct, and produce a short film that shows the world something they’ve never seen before; an interactive live action film that can compute its changes on the fly.
Epic Games, the creator of the Unreal Game Engine, commissioned us with a challenge - use their real-time visual platform to create photoreal VFX in a film. We’ve been creating the world’s best in this category with traditional film tools for 30 years. Can we pull it off with a tool used to make… video games?
We started by writing a film that could show off the best of the engine. We figured shiny, gorgeous, and fast cars were the way to go! Our story of a head to head race between the world’s greatest driver and the world’s most sophisticated AI got us into conversations with the great folks over at Chevrolet. The result was the Human Race, featuring the Chevy Camaro ZL1 up against the Chevy FNR autonomous concept car (which did not exist in reality!).
Combining an advanced implementation of Epic’s Unreal Engine with Mill X’s proprietary virtual production toolkit, Mill Cyclops™, we merged real-time visual effects and live-action storytelling. The only physical vehicle filmed for “The Human Race” was the Mill BLACKBIRD®. Until now, CG cars were added by visual effects artists in post-production, requiring days of rendering to produce high-quality imagery. During this shoot, however, live video feeds as well as positional data from the Arraiy tracking system were fed directly into Unreal Engine. 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 final film used the same real-time technology to animate and composite the short film in REAL-TIME within the game engine. The result was part film, part car customizer with 300+ variations of the vehicles the user could tinker with on the fly, creating unique versions of the film without rendering.
Real-Time Customisable Short Film
CG Assets Rendered Live Every 42 Milliseconds Within Film
Bespoke Configurator Application
Best Real-Time Graphics & Interactivity Award at SIGGRAPH 2017
Custom build of Epic's Unreal Game Engine that includes several new toolsets
Adjustable Car Rig Mill BLACKBIRD®
Virtual Production Toolkit Mill Cyclops™
ARRAIY Tracking Software
Writing, Direction, CG Animation, Live Action Filmmaking, Software Development, Design, Real-Time Animation, Art Direction
Brand Partner: Chevrolet
Technology Partner: Epic Games