Blackmagic Design today announced that YouTuber Joueur du Grenier is using Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 digital film camera and DeckLink 8K Pro capture and playback cards to create virtual sets in Epic’s Unreal Engine.
Founded in 2009, the channel has amassed in excess of one billion views.
With more than five million subscribers across Joueur du Grenier and its sister YouTube channel Bazar du Grenier, cofounders Molas and Rassiat recently completed a series of upgrades to modernize their production workflow. “There was a process of reflection which began two years ago,” says Molas. “We told ourselves that if we wanted to continue pushing boundaries, it would require an investment in new facilities.”
Central to this project was the need to improve the production workflow while keeping things manageable. After some preliminary discussions, the team quickly settled on Blackmagic Design, which covered the entire spectrum from image capture to post.
Until this point, the channel had relied on a DSLR camera workflow. “The use of virtual production techniques and a switch to the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 was a massive step up in capability,” explains video technician Nicolas Sénac.
“We now have far more confidence in what we capture,” he notes. “Combined with the Blackmagic Video Assist 7″ 12G HDR, we can check exposure using false color, which means fewer unpleasant surprises in post production.”
A big part of realizing the channel’s creative ambitions was investing in virtual production techniques, including the adoption of Unreal Engine, opening up a vast array of possibilities.
“When we film a scene, we take the camera feed straight into our PC using a DeckLink 8K capture card. That allows us to ingest a live video stream straight into Unreal Engine,” explains Jordane Bélot, VFX and post production technician. “We then recreate the camera movement using tracking software and then combine the live studio and 3D elements in real time.”
Likewise, the use of Unreal Engine dramatically reduced rendering times and means the creators no longer have to rely on building physical sets. “With an unlimited polygon budget and the ability to add realistic lighting to scenes, we can achieve photorealistic rendering in a fraction of the time,” says Bélot.
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The production team can also view an almost finished special effect on the return screen, allowing them to find interesting frames and better imagine the end result. After the shoot, DaVinci Resolve Studio is used for a compositing pass and color correction.
“The speed of dailies management in Resolve and the availability of Fusion as an integrated compositing solution tool save us yet more time,” notes Karim Debbache, director.
“We’ve had great feedback on the improvements to our studios and the improved quality of our output,” concludes Molas. “Not only have we been able to raise the bar in terms of standards, but we are also able to push boundaries when developing new formats using the latest techniques.”
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