Virtual Camera Multi-User Quick Start Guide

This Quick Start guide will show you how to use the Multi-User Virtual Camera setup.

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Virtual Camera Multi-User Quick Start Guide

Overview

Use the Virtual Camera Multi-User setup to connect multiple devices together so they can control and display virtual cameras within the same scene. This can be achieved by using the Switchboard application that is included with Unreal Engine.

Switchboard is a Python application for controlling multiple remote devices in a network. This setup provides each device with a specific virtual production role, such as Editor or Renderer.

Virtual production roles can be created in a configuration file and used to identify different users collaborating on the same scene. These roles are used by Switchboard to determine who owns specific virtual cameras in the scene and who receives the final changes to include when rendering the output.

The Virtual Camera Multi-User setup facilitates collaboration for multiple operators working on the same scene simultaneously.

Goals

This Quick Start guide will show you how to set up Multi-User support with a virtual camera.

Objectives

After going through this guide, you will learn how to perform the following:

  • Create Virtual Production roles for your project.

  • Install and configure the Switchboard application.

  • Launch two instances of Unreal Engine using Switchboard and see how the virtual camera's information replicates across these instances.

1 - Required Setup

  1. Go to Settings > Project Settings to open the Project Settings window and navigate to the Virtual Production category.

    Virtual Production Category

  2. Click the Edit dropdown next to Roles and expand the Add New Tag Source category. Enter the name VPRoles.ini in the Name field and click the Add New Source button.

    Add a new tag source

  3. Click the Edit dropdown again and expand the Add New Gameplay Tag category. Click the dropdown next to Source and select VPRoles.ini. Enter the name Editor and click the Add New Tag button.

    Add the Editor tag

  4. Repeat the step above and add a new tag named Render.

    Add the Render tag

  5. Go to the Multi-User Editing category and click the Validation Mode dropdown. Select Soft Auto Proceed. Close the Project Settings window.

    Validation Mode

  6. Click on Settings > Plugins to open the Plugins Window.

    Open the Plugins window

  7. Click the Virtual Production category and enable the Switchboard plugin. Select Yes from the popup window and click the Restart Now button to restart your editor.

    Enable the Switchboard plugin

  8. Once your editor restarts, click the Switchboard button on the Toolbar to launch the application.

    Open the Plugins window

    If this is the first time you are launching the application, it may take some time to open as the application downloads and installs all of its required dependencies.

  9. After all the dependencies are installed, the Add new Switchboard Configuration window will appear. Fill out the fields as necessary and click the OK button.

    Add new Switchboard Configuration

  10. Go back to your project and click the small arrow next to the Switchboard button. Click Launch SwitchboardListener.

    MU-Switchboard-Button2.png

Section Results

You are now ready to add new devices to Switchboard and use Multi-User with the virtual cameras.

You can find more detailed information in the Switchboard and Switchboard Quick Start Guide documentation.

2 - Using Multi-User with Virtual Cameras

  1. In Switchboard, click the Add Device dropdown and select Unreal. Add the name Editor and the device's IP address.

    Click Add Device

    Add the new device information

  2. Repeat the step above and add another Unreal Engine device with the name Render.

    Add another device named Render

  3. Click the connection icon next to each Unreal Device to connect the device to the Switchboard Listener. Alternatively, you can click the connection icon at the top of the list to connect all listed devices.

    Click on the connection icon

  4. Click Settings > Settings to open the Settings options. Scroll down to the Multi User Server section and enable Auto Join.

    Enable Auto Join

  5. Scroll down to the section for the Editor device and click the Roles dropdown. Select the Editor role.

    Add the Editor role to the Editor device

  6. Scroll down to the section for the Render device and select the Render role from the list. Close the Settings window.

    Add the Render role to the Render device

Section Results

You added two Unreal Engine devices to Switchboard and have configured them correctly. You are now ready to launch each device and start using Multi User with the virtual camera.

3 - Using Multi User with the Virtual Camera

  1. Click the Launch icon next to the Editor device to launch it. Once Unreal Engine launches, go to Window > Developer Tools > Multi-User Browser to open the Multi-User Browser window. Here you can verify that the editor is connected to the multi-user session.

    Launch the Editor device by clicking on the Launch button

    Verify connection by using the Multi-User Browser

  2. In the World Outliner, select the Virtual Camera Actor. Go to the Details panel and select the VCAM component. Scroll down to the Virtual Camera section and click the dropdown next to Role. Select the Editor role. Click the Enabled checkbox to activate the camera.

    Verify connection by using the Multi-User Browser

  3. In Switchboard, launch the Render device by clicking the Launch icon. Following the steps above, verify that the editor is also connected to the multi-user session by using the Multi-User Browser.

    Verify connection by using the Multi-User Browser

  4. Now that both editor instances are open, move the Virtual Camera on the Editor device and see the changes immediately replicated in the Render device. In the example below the Editor device is moving the camera and the Render device is receiving the changes.

    Moving the VCAM in the Editor device moves the same camera in the Render device

Section Results

In this section you learned how to use Switchboard to launch several Unreal Engine instances that automatically communicate with each other. You saw how moving the virtual camera with the assigned Editor role replicates the changes to the other devices in the network.

4 - Understanding the Multi-User Setup

Use the Virtual Camera Multi-User setup to create the stage setup necessary for any virtual production environment. This section demonstrates a more complex setup to better understand how the Multi-User setup works.

In this example we have three separate virtual cameras in the scene:

  • VCam1 - Has the Editorial role assigned.

  • VCam2 - Has the Main role assigned.

  • VCam3 - Has the Render role assigned.

Each virtual camera is connected to the Multi-User Server via Switchboard and sends and receives camera information based on each camera's ownership.

Each device launched from Switchboard has a role assigned. If this role matches the virtual camera's role in the scene, the device will own the camera and can manipulate it freely. This allows for each device to own a specific camera in the scene without conflicting with other devices.

In this example, the device with the Editorial role owns VCam1 and it sends the camera's information to the other two devices. Since the Editorial role does not own VCam2 or VCam3, it simply receives the information from those devices.

You can see this relationship illustrated in the chart below:

image alt text

This setup allows for many different camera operators to interact with the scene (usually Editors) and contains a device that receives all the data and displays the final render to the screen (this device is usually assigned the Render role).

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