Production companies in the entertainment industry have faced unique challenges in the past few years as film and movie production shifted to home and hybrid models. Some newer companies like HaZFilm, a virtual production microstudio, operate completely as remote studios.
Others, such as Halon Entertainment and ICVR, collaborated with USC’S Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) on a short film project while also piloting industry-leading tools to identify which worked best for their remote workflows as they shifted to virtual production. Both projects used Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and leveraged Perforce’s Helix Core for version control.
Virtual production combines photorealistic sets created using 3D game engines with physical sets using real-time rendering. This allows teams to work on visual effects throughout the production cycle, rather than just in post-production, and to create sets remotely.
Perforce Helix Core is the industry standard version control system for use with real-time game engines and has deep integrations with Unreal Engine, Unity and others. When hosted on an optimized cloud infrastructure, Helix Core is able to support remote virtual production by providing a globally-capable network that can manage millions of files at lightning-fast speeds with no limits on file size or file types.
Setting up a remote virtual production environment enables pre-production teams to scout out sets and explore different shots, environments, and lighting effects virtually. Iterating on ideas in engine is more cost-effective than experimenting with multiple changes on set. Directors can visualize their ideas in multiple ways with a lower investment. They are able to make decisions that will impact filming before actors are on set, reducing rework and time spent in production.
HaZ Dulull, co-founder of HaZFilm, started out using Unreal Engine for “previsualization (previs) to block out and design sequences for his live action feature films.” Using Perforce Helix Core allowed the team to have multiple versions of assets available, enabling secure and fast sharing of even large assets across productions.
Once on set, changes can be made to the virtual sets quickly using Helix Core. Artists can be located around the world while making real-time updates to digital backgrounds. When filming is wrapped, you can use Helix Core to give post-production VFX partners a detailed history of what assets were used during filming and to provide them with secure access that is limited to the assets they need.
Erik Weaver, a Director at ETC, states that Perforce Helix Core “helps create a single source for all of our film’s digital assets. We can version our critical IP and digital files within an infrastructure that supports and integrates with leading tools like Unreal Engine.”
Helix Core tracks all versions of an asset so that you can quickly find the latest version. With the addition of Helix DAM – digital asset management built on Helix Core – creative teams can find, track, and review art assets more efficiently. Perforce APIs also allow you to integrate version control with tools your virtual art department is familiar with such as Maya and Adobe Photoshop.
Assembla has been hosting Perforce in the cloud longer than any other company and can take the technical overhead off your plate so you can focus on the creative side of virtual production. With our scalable storage, world-class support, and geographic redundancies, Assembla can give you peace of mind that your assets will be securely stored and always accessible in your cloud-based instance of Perforce Helix Core.
If you’re ready to try cloud-based virtual production with Perforce, start a free 14 day trial of Assembla. Our team would love to talk with you about how a cloud solution can meet your virtual production needs.