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Kelly Shipman (Puget Labs Technician)

Being Adaptable

Written on July 31, 2020 by Kelly Shipman
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One of the key attributes of a small business like Puget Systems is being adaptable. The tech industry is under constant change. Sometimes there will be a surprise launch, or we’ll get notified of a core part being discontinued within a week, or a trusted vendor for one generation isn’t the best for the next generation, and so on.

Beyond that, how our customer’s use computers also changes. New technologies can suddenly go from a niche use case to the mainstream very quickly. In those cases, we adapt to what our customers' needs are. As such, we’ve decided to reprioritize my benchmarks.

Originally I was going to do the major modeling/animation packages, 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema 4D, then move on to Unreal and Unity. However in the few months since I’ve joined the Labs team, the demand of Unreal has grown considerably. While we do work with a lot of game developers, the biggest demand is coming from video production studios.

We are seeing Unreal being used more and more by very big names, and the whole industry is taking note. The Weather Channel was one of the early users of Unreal in virtual production, even winning an Emmy for an amazing tornado demonstration back in 2018.

Around the same time, Childish Gambino teamed up with Weta Digital to project a real time environment onto the inside of an inflatable dome for his Pharos concert series. For this they used 12 projectors, all synced together to project one massive image.

Recently, The Mandalorian combined these two tactics into one and have massive video walls with the camera movements synchronized with Unreal to be able to film alien worlds in real time with accurate lighting and reflections on the live actors. If you haven’t already seen the behind the scenes footage for this, you should. It's an incredible feat of technology.

I could go on and on about how Unreal is used in live media. Every day a new use seems to pop up (Fox Sports just announced they will use Unreal to put virtual fans into stadiums since the public cannot attend games this summer). While none of the examples above are our customers, we have a lot of people looking to do similar types of work. A lot of people are seeing these projects and looking to incorporate game engines into their workflows. If you'd like to learn more about the basics of virtual production, I highly recommend Cinematography Database.

My Unreal Benchmark will need to cover game development, as well as these virtual production needs, and the growing use of Unreal in architecture and engineering fields. If you use Unreal, or are considering using Unreal, let me know what you’d like to see tested. Like I said at the beginning, we want to be adaptable to what our customers need.

Tags: Unreal Engine, benchmark, game development, mixed-reality