Shooting from a Camera Rig Rail

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The Camera Rig Rail Actor can be used to produce fly-through, 360 degree, or any other moving shots by attaching a camera to a rail to move along. The path for the rail can be defined using a Spline Component and in Sequencer, you can keyframe the position along the rail where the camera should be at any given time.

In this how-to we create a 180 degree rail where the attached camera stays focused on our character.

Steps

For this how-to, we are using the Blueprint Third Person Template project with Starter Content enabled.

  1. In your project on the Modes panel under Cinematic, drag a Camera Rig Rail asset into the level.

    Rails01.png

  2. Also from the Modes panel under Cinematic, drag in a Cine Camera Actor.

    Rails02.png

  3. In the World Outliner, drag-and-drop the CineCameraActor onto the CameraRig_Rail to attach it.

    Rails03.png

  4. In the Details panel for the CineCameraActor, set the XYZ for Location to 0, 0, 60.

    Rails04.png

    This will push the camera up slightly off the ground for our shot.

  5. Select the CameraRigRail in the level, then select and move the end point so the rail moves to the left of the character.

    Rails05.png

  6. With the end point still selected, hold Alt then drag out another point as shown below.

    Rails06.png

  7. Select and move the red tangents to bend the rail to produce a curved shape.

    Rails07.png

  8. Select and move the second point and its tangents to smooth out the curve.

    Rails08.png

  9. Select the last point on the rail, then Alt drag out another point and adjust to smooth out the curve as desired.

    Rails09.png

  10. From the Main Toolbar, click Cinematics then select Add Level Sequence.

    Rails10.png

  11. Hold Ctrl and select the Camera Rig Rail and Cine Camera Actor then add both to Sequencer.

    Rails11.png

  12. Click the Add button and add a Camera Cut Track.

    Rails12.png

  13. Click the + Camera button and add the Cine Camera Actor as the camera to shoot from.

    Rails13.png

    Our shot is now ready to shoot from the Cine Camera Actor attached to our Camera Rig Rail.

  14. Add a key for the current Transform on the CineCameraActor.

    Rails14.png

  15. On the CameraRig_Rail, click the + Track button and add the Current Position on Rail property.

    Rails15.png

    This value represents the position of the attached camera where 0 is at the start of the rail and 1 is the end of the rail.

  16. Move the Timeline marker to the end of the Sequence (150).

  17. With the Camera Rig Rail selected, in the Details panel set the Current Position on Rail to 1.0 then add a keyframe.

    Rails16.png

    You can set this value inside Sequencer on the Current Position on Rail track or by clicking the keyframe in the Details panel.

  18. Select the Cine Camera Actor, then check Enable Look at Tracking for the ThirdPersonCharacter with a Z offset of 45.0.

    Rails17.png

    Here we are setting our camera to always follow the location of the Actor to Track, in this case the ThirdPersonCharacter.

  19. Lock the viewport to the Camera Cut Track then click the preview play button.

End Result

You should have something similar where the camera pans 180 degrees around the character.

You could continue to add key frames and points along the Camera Rig Rail for a full 360 degree orbit around the character. You could also use the rail for fly-through paths in game level or to highlight something of importance.

There is an advanced method you can use to work with the Camera Rig Rail asset in Sequencer that will automate several of the steps from this how-to. Please see the Workflow Shortcuts section for more information.

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