The Bowtie uses video game tech so that it can render commercials with alternate reality in real time.

Next time you watch a Chevrolet commercial, realize that one of the Bowtie's vehicles might not really be on screen. During the Game Developers Conference, the automaker is revealing how it uses the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine that's usually for video games and The Mill’s amazing Blackbird to make an ad with live rendering augmented reality, which makes the production process even quicker.

Upon seeing the first few seconds of the video above, you might think that a Camaro ZL1 is on the road with Chevy’s FNR concept. However, both vehicles are completely digital, and the scenery around them is real. If you could strip away the computer-aided trickery, then the Mill's amazing Blackbird would be the only thing on the street – these special machines have an adjustable wheelbase that let them mimic any vehicle imaginable.

Traditional postproduction would require replacing the Blackbird after shooting a video, but the new process uses positional tracking that lets creators render the final vehicle live thanks to the Unreal Engine. The result of this augmented reality tech is a much easier job for a clip's producers because rather than waiting to see how things turn out, the new innovation lets them see a shot’s composition in real time. It makes for a cool video, too. 

“This is a pivotal moment for film VFX and the coming era of augmented reality production,” Angus Kneale, Chief Creative Officer at The Mill in New York, said in the announcement. “Using Unreal’s cutting-edge game engine technology, filmmakers are able to see their photoreal digital assets on location in real time. It also means the audience can effect change in films in ways previously unimagined, giving interactive control over vehicles, characters and environments within a live action cinema experience."

It’s amazing how well this tech can render shadows and reflections on the cars. There’s something about the effect on the FNR that makes the concept look slightly artificial in this clip, but the Camaro looks like a real car. Unfortunately, Chevy’s video doesn’t do a fantastic job of showing exactly how this magic happens. Viewers get a great look at the Blackbird, but we’d like to get a better idea of the transition from the raw film and the transformation into the ZL1 for this clip.

Source: Chevrolet

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