Virtual Scouting Overview

Virtual Scouting lets filmmakers scout a digital environment in virtual reality.

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

Here's a project spotlight discussing some of the advantages of using real-time virtual production tools in filmmaking, and showing off 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 aren't yet fully implemented.

Virtual Scouting has a new menu designed specifically to support Virtual Production scenarios. Navigation, Viewfinder, and other useful tools are easily accessible from the menu. For assistance enabling the Virtual Scouting menu, see the Activate Virtual Scouting topic.

You can toggle the Virtual Scouting menu on/off using the Menu button on your controllers.

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Navigation builds on top of the existing features of the VR Editor, adding new options that expand the ways filmmakers can explore the scene in virtual reality (VR).

Teleport

Teleporting is a common mode of navigation in virtual reality. Press the Track Pad in Navigation mode to activate the teleport feature, then release the Track Pad to teleport to wherever the controller is pointed, 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 in Virtual Scouting works the same way as 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.

Pressing and holding the Menu button for two seconds from any other tool will switch your controller 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

The Viewfinder tool enables filmmakers 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 on the upper left or upper right of the Track Pad to change the lens focal length to be wider (left) or longer (right).

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Snapshot

A snapshot captures the state of the scene at a given time. Tap the bottom of the Track Pad 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 Track Pad, the same as 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 simply editing the CineCamera Actor properties. See Using Cine Camera Actors for more information.

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Interact

Activate the Interact tool to move objects around in virtual space. Activation 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 and then squeeze the trigger to select and move it. After selecting an Actor, you can also scroll up or down on the Track Pad to push or pull the object along the laser line.

The Track Pad has different functions depending on which direction you press. You can press the top section to navigate through the scene. You can press the bottom section to teleport, just like 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 Track Pad on your controller.

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Bookmark

Bookmarks can be used to denote interesting locations within the 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 of these Bookmarks to 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 appears between the first point and the cursor's 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 Touch Pad to toggle the measure units to metric.

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Multi-User Editing

Virtual Scouting as a workflow concept makes heavy use of the Multi-User Editor to enable all of the key members of a production to simultaneously 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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Blueprints

The Virtual Production Utilities plugin comes with a set with controls custom-tailored for filmmakers. You can dynamically customize the Virtual Scouting controls using Blueprints to suit your specific requirements without modifying the underlying C++ code and rebuilding the engine.

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