Virtual Scouting Overview

With Virtual Scouting, filmmakers can scout a digital environment in virtual reality.

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The Virtual Scouting tools give filmmakers new ways to navigate and interact in virtual production environments, helping them make better creative decisions. Directors and DOPs can easily find locations, compose shots, set up scene blocking, and get accurate representations of filming locations. Artists and set designers can experience a location in virtual reality (VR) while building it, and use measurement and interaction tools to check distances and modify the world. It is also possible to capture images from the virtual world, and use the images for the whole production team to track decisions made during a VR session.

The Project Spotlight video below shows some of the advantages of using real-time virtual production tools in filmmaking, and some of the features of Virtual Scouting.

Below are brief descriptions of some of the features being introduced in Virtual Scouting.

This Beta release of Virtual Scouting shows some tools in the menu that are not yet fully implemented.

Virtual Scouting has a new menu designed specifically to support virtual production scenarios. Navigation, Viewfinder, and other useful tools can be easily accessed from the menu. For more on how to enable the Virtual Scouting menu, see Activate Virtual Scouting .

You can toggle the Virtual Scouting menu on or off using the Menu button on your controller.

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Navigation builds on the existing features of the VR Editor, adding new options that expand the ways filmmakers can explore a scene in VR.

Teleport

Teleporting is a common mode of navigation in VR. While in Navigation mode, press the trackpad to activate the teleport feature, then release the trackpad to teleport to wherever the controller is pointing—controlling your destination orientation with your gaze. You can even teleport into the air.

Teleporting is also a convenient way to return to 1:1 scale.

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Navigation using the controller while in Virtual Scouting works the same way as it does in the VR Editor. This mode of navigation provides various controls for moving around the scene, selecting and manipulating Actors, and working with editor panels and windows.

See Navigation Controls for more information.

Press and and hold the Menu button for two seconds to switch from any other tool back to the Navigation tool.

Flight

Flying is a natural way to navigate around a virtual scene. Press and hold the trigger button to fly around a scene in the direction of the controller—the harder you pull the trigger, the faster you will fly. You can also control how quickly you fly by moving the Navigation Speed slider control at the bottom of the Virtual Scouting menu.

Viewfinder

Filmmakers can use the Viewfinder tool to view the scene through the lens of a camera, and either take a snapshot for future reference or create a CineCamera Actor to use within the Level. Select the Viewfinder tool to bring up a camera viewport that is attached to the controller. Tap the upper left of the trackpad to make the lens focal point wider. Tap the upper right of the trackpad to change the lens focal point to longer.

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Snapshot

A snapshot captures the state of the scene at a given time. Tap the bottom of the trackpad to create a snapshot of the camera view.

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Camera

While the Viewfinder tool is active, press the trigger to create a CineCamera Actor in the scene. You can change the focal length of the camera lens with the left or right side of the trackpad, the same way you would with the Viewfinder tool. Similar to other objects in a scene, you can move a camera from a distance using the Interact tool.

You can change camera settings, such as camera film backs and lens presets, by editing the CineCamera Actor properties. See Using Cine Camera Actors for more information.

You can control the default camera film back and lens preset settings by editing the DefaultFilmbackPresetName and DefaultLensPresetName values in the /Script/CinematicCamera.CineCameraComponent section of the [ENGINE INSTALL LOCATION]\Engine\Config\BaseEngine.ini file.

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Interact

Activate the Interact tool to move objects around in virtual space. (The activation prompt is intended to reduce accidental changes to the scene by specifically asking users to opt in to making changes.) When the Interact tool is active, aim the Motion Controller laser at an Actor in the world, then squeeze the trigger to select and move it. After selecting an Actor, you can also scroll up or down on the trackpad to push or pull the object along the laser line.

The trackpad has different functions, depending on which direction you press. Press the top to navigate through the scene. Press the bottom to teleport, as you would in the Navigation tool.

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Marker

Activate the Marker tool to draw a colored ribbon in your scene. Aim the controller and squeeze the trigger to begin drawing. Move the controller to move the marker.

You can select the color of the marker using the trackpad on your controller.

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Bookmark

Bookmarks can be used to flag interesting locations within a scene. Each time you create a bookmark, it's added to the list on the right-hand panel of the Virtual Scouting menu. You can select any bookmark on the list and teleport to that spot.

Create a bookmark in your scene by pulling the trigger when the Bookmark tool is active.

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Measure

The Measure tool indicates the distance between two points within the scene. Press the trigger to set the first point. A pink line will appear between the first point and the cursor location. As you move the controller, the distance measurement updates in real time. Press the trigger again to lock in the second point. When you want to clear your measurement and start again, press the trigger a third time.

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Tap the top of the touchpad to toggle between metric and U.S. Customary systems of measurement.

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Multi-User Editing

Virtual Scouting as a workflow concept makes heavy use of the Multi-User Editor so all of the key members of a production can explore a scene together. All tools, unless otherwise noted, will have their changes reflected to all users in the multi-user session.

When multiple users are in a session, their names will appear in the left section of the menu. You can teleport to another user's location by selecting that user in this list.

Not all users have to be in virtual reality to participate. Sessions often work best when one of the artists is working from the desktop, performing complex actions that are hard to do in VR but straightforward when sitting in front of a computer.

For more information on multi-user editing, see Multi-User Editing .

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Blueprint

The Virtual Production Utilities plugin comes with a set with controls custom-tailored for filmmakers. You can dynamically customize the Virtual Scouting controls using Blueprint to suit specific requirements, without having to modify the underlying C++ code and rebuild the engine.

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