Go VIVE tracker with UE4 for fully virtual camera rigs

Go VIVE tracker with UE4 for fully virtual camera rigs

At its core, virtual production is about bringing people together to tell stories, VP tools aid storytellers to capture performances in real-time, including those of the camera crew. Virtual cameras capture human camera moves, recording the camera move to a timeline. Once the performance is captured digitally it can be replayed in virtual space, shared and even altered. This applies to shooting everything in engine from real-time mo-cap characters to in engine VFX, virtual cameras are set to become a story telling tool.

Do you need a professional camera tracker to create a really good virtual camera, the answer is no. With £120 VIVE tracker and some bits and bobs of eBay you can build a truly awesome VR camera rig and start shooting real-time cinematics. We’ll be following this post up with tutorials later.

OSF Virtual Production Camera

VIVE Simulcam Virtual Camera Rig designed by DVP Asa Bailey.

VIVE as a camera tracker

Solid for room scale fully VR shooting and virtual scouting hands down winner for this. Next we’ll try shooting real-time mo-cap on this rig. But now the bad news, the VIVE is not good for shooting mixed reality. It fails to hold visual sync where you need it between the optical camera SDI I/O with virtual CG layer.

Out the box here the VIVE fails big time, it’s very slippy.  You need sync, ideally live link too so you can also see camera movement in editor mode and not just play, using the VIVE in a mixed reality shooting was frustrating, impossible.

More advanced developers will be able to create a solution for this, you can also look at how to talk to the VIVE directly, but as an out the box mixed reality, virtual studio solution, the VIVE has no features and so for this reason we are saying at the moment, out the box the VIVE is very much only for fully virtual production.

OSF Virtual Production Camera

VIVE Simulcam Virtual Camera Rig designed by DVP Asa Bailey.OSFOSF

But here’s the good news, it’s crazy good as a tracker for shooting fully immersed in engine, on OSF render engines the response of the VIVE tracker was insane, the level of grief we put this tracker through, it shocked us how rock solid the response rates were. Always immediate. The VIVE tracker has a 270 degree of vision from its odd shape, and we are concerned about the strength of the base stations. Next we want to battle test the VIVE tracker on really big stage with a ton of mobcap and animation, the base stations work great in a room with a distance of 5m, but what will happen when we really push this, jury is out.

Following, next week we’ll get into the data and renders.

So what’s the deal with the VIVE as a camera tracker?

We’d conclude if you want to shoot fully virtual, shooting in engine cinematic is amazing with a VIVE as your camera input, get a VIVE for £100. If you want to do any serious mixed reality virtual production work or real-time VFX previz, your still going to need to open your pocket and find a professional budget to get the right equipment for the job. But if you want to shoot 100% in engine, dive in – get a VIVE.

Buy this system

OSF Complete Virtual Cinematography Systems.


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