Imagination partners with Epic Games to blend the physical and digital world

Imagination: real objects and people can appear within a computer generated scene
Imagination: real objects and people can appear within a computer generated scene

The virtual production technique uses a live backdrop to place objects in a computer-generated world.

Imagination is collaborating with Epic Games to create virtual productions that blend the physical and digital world. The filming technique, similar to methods used on Hollywood movies, integrates objects or people on a small set with a live computer-generated backdrop.

Imagination is utilising the capabilities of Epic Games' Unreal Engine to combine live-action footage and computer graphics in real-time – the result enables brands to create cinematic live, or as-live, content indistinguishable from the real world.

To demonstrate its virtual production capabilities, Imagination worked with Triumph Motorcycles to produce a teaser featuring its new Trident 660.

For the film, Imagination recreated a cyberpunk world inspired by Bladerunner. The spot follows Phoenix Jaxson, played by alt-pop artist July Jones, in a dystopian world alongside her motorcycle. You are also able to see the crew behind the production to get a sense of what goes into producing this style of content. 

The teaser video was filmed in a 5m x 5m studio in London with a crew of 13 people. Using real-time virtual production negates the need for multi-location shoots, reduces the need for extensive post-production, allows you to continue shooting if a product doesn't exist or is delayed and reduces the shoot's carbon footprint.

The content can also be used to create multiple assets across different mediums and customer journeys; such as AR, VR, online and even in print.

Imagination received an Epic MegaGrant, a contribution which is designed to service and assist game developers, enterprise professionals, media and entertainment creators, students, educators, and tool developers doing outstanding work with Unreal Engine or enhancing open-source capabilities for the 3D graphics community.

Talking about the agency's investment and focus on production, Ross Wheeler, global business director at Imagination said: "We've always had a digital side to our businesses... [but] the last year-and-a-half has made us focus on that as live events have been struggling. The need to make content and not having the ability to travel has adjusted our focus.

"I know everyone's talking about hybrid experiences, which will have some kind of role, but producing beautiful content around your product is always going to be a necessity regardless of whether you're in a pandemic or not. This was the perfect time to focus on how you can do that better."

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