Virtual cinematography

fully virtual cinematographyinteractive cinematographyModern computer animation
Virtual cinematography is the set of cinematographic techniques performed in a computer graphics environment.wikipedia
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Crowd simulation

Social Force ModelCrowd behaviourgenerate crowds
Virtual cinematography allows among other things physically impossible camera movements, in example the so-called bullet time scenes in The Matrix films, the flow-motion camera movements in David Fincher films, the camera runs and the crowd simulations as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings and the airport terminal that doesn't exist looking very real and existing in the Pan Am that aired in 2011–2012.
For realistic and fast rendering of a crowd for visual media or virtual cinematography, reduction of the complexity of the 3D scene and image-based rendering are used, while variations in appearance help present a realistic population.

Bullet time

bullet-timeDead Eyeslow-motion
Virtual cinematography allows among other things physically impossible camera movements, in example the so-called bullet time scenes in The Matrix films, the flow-motion camera movements in David Fincher films, the camera runs and the crowd simulations as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings and the airport terminal that doesn't exist looking very real and existing in the Pan Am that aired in 2011–2012.
Technical and historical variations of this effect have been referred to as time slicing, view morphing, temps mort (French: "dead time") and virtual cinematography.

Computer-generated imagery

CGIcomputer-generatedCGI animation
The directors, Lily and Lana Wachowski, tasked visual effects supervisor John Gaeta (who coined the phrase) with developing techniques to allow for virtual "filming" of realistic computer-generated imagery.
The evolution of CGI led to the emergence of virtual cinematography in the 1990s where runs of the simulated camera are not constrained by the laws of physics.

The Matrix Reloaded

Matrix ReloadedMatrix: ReloadedReloaded
Virtual Cinematography came into prominence following the release of The Matrix trilogy especially the last two, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.
With this collected wealth of data and the right algorithms, they finally were able to create virtual cinematography in which characters, locations, and events can all be created digitally and viewed through virtual cameras, eliminating the restrictions of real cameras, years of compositing data, and replacing the use of still camera arrays or, in some scenes, cameras altogether.

Light stage

Their work was based on the findings of Paul Debevec et al. of the acquisition and subsequent simulation of the reflectance field over the human face which was acquired using the simplest of light stages in 2000.

Multiple-camera setup

Multi-cameraMultipleMulti camera
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles.

Bidirectional scattering distribution function

BSDFBSSRDFBTDF
Once the 3D geometry, textures, reflectance field and motion capture are done and an adequate capture and simulation of the BSDF over all needed surfaces and the virtual content has been assembled into a scene within a 3D engine, it can then be creatively composed, relighted and re-photographed from other angles by a virtual camera as if the action was happening for the first time.

Motion capture

performance capturemotion-capturehead tracking
Once the 3D geometry, textures, reflectance field and motion capture are done and an adequate capture and simulation of the BSDF over all needed surfaces and the virtual content has been assembled into a scene within a 3D engine, it can then be creatively composed, relighted and re-photographed from other angles by a virtual camera as if the action was happening for the first time.
ESC entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers Pictures created specially to enable virtual cinematography, including photorealistic digital look-alikes for filming The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions movies, used a technique called Universal Capture that utilized 7 camera setup and the tracking the optical flow of all pixels over all the 2-D planes of the cameras for motion, gesture and facial expression capture leading to photorealistic results.

3D scanning

3D scanner3D laser scanningscan
Geometry can be acquired from a 3D scanner or from multiple photographs using machine vision technology called photogrammetry.
They are heavily utilized in virtual cinematography.

History of computer animation

during the late 70s and early 80s1940s and 1950sbirthplace
The early 2000s saw the advent of fully virtual cinematography with its audience debut considered to be in the 2003 films The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions with its digital look-alikes so convincing that it is often impossible to know if some image is a human imaged with a camera or a digital look-alike shot with a simulation of a camera.

Cinematography

cinematographercinematographiccinema
Virtual cinematography is the set of cinematographic techniques performed in a computer graphics environment.

Computer graphics

graphicsCGCG artwork
Virtual cinematography is the set of cinematographic techniques performed in a computer graphics environment.

Photograph

photographsphotophotos
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles.

Stereo camera

3D camerasstereo3D camera
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles.

Algorithm

algorithmsalgorithm designcomputer algorithm
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles.

Computer simulation

computer modelsimulationcomputer modeling
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles. Once the 3D geometry, textures, reflectance field and motion capture are done and an adequate capture and simulation of the BSDF over all needed surfaces and the virtual content has been assembled into a scene within a 3D engine, it can then be creatively composed, relighted and re-photographed from other angles by a virtual camera as if the action was happening for the first time.

Camera angle

camera anglesanglesviewpoint
This includes a wide variety of subjects like photographing real objects, often with stereo or multi-camera setup, for the purpose of recreating them as three-dimensional objects and algorithms for automated creation of real and simulated camera angles.

The Matrix (franchise)

The MatrixMatrixThe Matrix Trilogy
Virtual cinematography allows among other things physically impossible camera movements, in example the so-called bullet time scenes in The Matrix films, the flow-motion camera movements in David Fincher films, the camera runs and the crowd simulations as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings and the airport terminal that doesn't exist looking very real and existing in the Pan Am that aired in 2011–2012.

The Lord of the Rings (film series)

The Lord of the RingsThe Lord of the Rings'' film trilogyLord of the Rings
Virtual cinematography allows among other things physically impossible camera movements, in example the so-called bullet time scenes in The Matrix films, the flow-motion camera movements in David Fincher films, the camera runs and the crowd simulations as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings and the airport terminal that doesn't exist looking very real and existing in the Pan Am that aired in 2011–2012.

Pan Am (TV series)

Pan AmPam AmPan Am'' (TV series)
Virtual cinematography allows among other things physically impossible camera movements, in example the so-called bullet time scenes in The Matrix films, the flow-motion camera movements in David Fincher films, the camera runs and the crowd simulations as can be seen in The Lord of the Rings and the airport terminal that doesn't exist looking very real and existing in the Pan Am that aired in 2011–2012.

The Matrix

MatrixThe Animatrixeponymous 1999 film of the same name
Virtual Cinematography came into prominence following the release of The Matrix trilogy especially the last two, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The Matrix Revolutions

RevolutionsTanveer K. AtwalMatrix Revolutions
Virtual Cinematography came into prominence following the release of The Matrix trilogy especially the last two, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions.

The Wachowskis

Lana WachowskiWachowskisWachowski brothers
The directors, Lily and Lana Wachowski, tasked visual effects supervisor John Gaeta (who coined the phrase) with developing techniques to allow for virtual "filming" of realistic computer-generated imagery.