Motion-controlled cameras helped with pre-production for Hollywood blockbuster

Abertay gaming tech used for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Abertay University has revealed that some of its computer games technology was used during the making of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Matthew Bett, a lecturer at the university, has been developing new ways of controlling ‘virtual cameras’ for the last few years using motion controllers designer for PC gaming. Bett demonstrated that film sets can be created with game design software, and then explore with virtual cameras to plan the way a movie will be shot.

The project attracted the attention of 20th Century Fox, which used the technology for the pre-production of the aforementioned Hollywood hit.

"It’s incredible that an Abertay University research project helped pre-visualise Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a huge blockbuster film that reached millions of people around the world," said Bett.

"Our project was initially inspired by amazing but prohibitively expensive developments in virtual camera technology, where filmmakers participate in real time with the computer generated worlds being created for feature films. 

“What we did was adapt that exciting idea of a virtual camera to affordable games technology, allowing 3D worlds to be quickly built to test out film ideas – and with motion controllers, you can then wave your arm to test a tracking shot, or try out different angles.”

Bett added that he is now looking at how to develop this technology further, integrating it with virtual reality headsets such as Oculus Rift. 

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