Best Practices for Using Game Engines in Traditional Linear Content Production (TV, film, etc.) Pipelines

After a long and productive week in Los Angeles, we’re finally back from SIGGRAPH 2019! Four of us from Imaginary Spaces (Martin & David, our two lead developers; Simon, our CEO and Alexis, one of our Technical Artists) made the trip out last Saturday and ran around all week in  a flurry of presentations, meetings and showcases all over the convention center. Now that we’re back, it’s time to break down how we spent our time there!

Panel on Real-time Technologies for Film Pipelines

On Sunday, Simon attended The Pipeline Conference (that is large enough now to be organized adjacently to SIGGRAPH) as a part of the Panel on Real-time Technologies for Film Pipelines. There, he walked the audience through our presentation, The Game Engine Train, centered around change management, tying a neat bow on a long day of talks on not only current pipeline design practices but possible future innovations.

Best Practices for Using Game Engines in Traditional Linear Content Production Pipelines

On Monday, Martin & David moderated our Birds of a Feather session, Best Practices for Using Game Engines in Traditional Linear Content Production Pipelines. Organized in a roundtable format, we invited industry heavy-hitters Amanda Johnstone-Batt (Framestore), Francesco Giordana (MPC), Gates Roberg-Clark (Pixar), Francis Bouthillier (Digital Dimension), Richard Dixon (DHX) and Quentin Auger (Studio 100) to talk about their successes, struggles and takeaways transitioning from traditional VFX pipelines to real-time technology. 

The talk was an enormous success, with a line of people fifty meters long overflowing from the room eventually being dispersed by security as a fire hazard! Throughout the roughly ninety minute session, we went from the initial motivations to the late-in-production struggles, concluding with an inspirational open discussion on what the future might hold for real-time technology, whether it be for previz, virtual production or final pixels.

Autodesk Shotgun Developer and TD Roundtable

Monday, David tag-teamed with Unity’s Film & TV PM Mathieu Muller to deliver a quick presentation on how we built the Unity Shotgun integration at the Autodesk Shotgun Developer and TD Roundtable. It’s been in development for close to a year now - and as the official release date nears we can’t wait to see how the real-time community at large takes advantage of it!

Pixar’s OpenTimelineIO Official Open-Source Meetup

On Tuesday, Simon presented at Pixar’s OpenTimelineIO Official Open-Source Meetup, where he teamed up with Mathieu to showcase Unity’s new OpenTimelineIO integration we built for them. It’s already a big hit internally for both Unity staff and closed beta participants, so we can’t wait to see what people think of it when the time comes for public release!

Our work at the Unity and ftrack kiosks and at the Autodesk Mini-Theater

Throughout the week, Alexis had booth space at the Unity & ftrack kiosks and had a few slots at the Autodesk Mini-Theater to showcase our new Anatomy of a Real-Time Production demo, where we fast-forward through a real-time production pipeline, identifying the various moments where game engine technology can help speed up a production pipeline along the way.

Stemming from a demo project built in just a few days in both Unity and Unreal, the video is intended for newcomers and intermediate users alike, tying together how all the various pieces of the puzzle fit together into one cohesive real-time production! The video was a big hit, with many people citing how helpful it was to have all the various topics broached in the video tied together. It’s available now on our homepage, go watch it!

For real-time rendering, this was a great SIGGRAPH. With increased interest in real-time technology, whether it be for previz, virtual production or final pixels, it was definitely possible to feel the effervescence on the show floor or during presentations revolving around the subject. With Unity and Unreal support of USD files, multi-software workflows now at more than the proof-of-concept stage with NVIDIA Omniverse™ and with impressive virtual production tools being showcased left and right, the week we spent there truly validates what we’ve been working on is big. See you next year in Washington DC?