Case Study
Building a bespoke 360° rig to address automotive VFX challenges


Faced with the challenge of delivering realistic VFX for driving dialogue scenes, we developed a bespoke 360° rig, with the help of Unreal Engine.


Project: 360 Rig
Client: FutureWorks
Service: VFX

The traditional technique adopted in the past involved using green screens and recording multiple camera angles with the DoP having to shoot a separate plate for each angle. All of the shots and plates would then be comped together into the final sequence.

Our VFX Supervisor, Gouri Shankar, recognized inherent challenges in our existing workflow, notably inconsistencies between angles and unrealistic reflections, which prompted us to reevaluate our approach and ensure we were delivering the best possible results for clients. The idea took hold and led us to develop a working prototype to address these specific challenges.

With no off-the-shelf solution available and no existing rig suitable for the unique needs of our shoot, we embarked on the creation of a bespoke setup. The primary challenge was determining the necessary overlap between shots for a natural-looking Field of View across the 360-degree plate. Utilizing Unreal Engine, our team analyzed footage and fine-tuned the rig, instilling confidence as we progressed to the build phase.

The initial physical prototype involved a wooden frame designed based on Unreal Engine analysis, housing three cameras to facilitate further analysis and plan revisions. Eventually, we settled on a nine-camera setup, with eight covering 360 degrees horizontally and one dedicated to the sky. These cameras, all RED DSMC2 Helium bodies paired with high-quality 21mm Zeiss CP3 lenses, were strategically positioned to provide a 30% overlap Field of View between adjacent shots. The result was a stitched image measuring an impressive 23,000 pixels by 4,200 pixels.

Top quality lenses were crucial to minimizing distortion in the footage, streamlining the stitching process. Sourcing all cameras and lenses through our rental team ensured a smooth supply process. The bespoke aluminum structure housing the cameras was a testament to our commitment to tailored solutions, with the rig meticulously crafted by the rental team, led by Nitin Yadav, Technical Head of Department at FutureWorks Rental.

Once the rig was fully tested and built, it was time to deploy it in live productions. Initial use on shows for leading streaming services revealed immediate benefits, including the ability for the photography team to capture entire driving sequences in a single shot, simplifying the on-set process. Furthermore, shooting at the same time of day for all footage provided a level of consistency often challenging with multiple angles and plates.

This efficiency extended to the post-production phase, where the VFX team found themselves with significantly reduced workload for compositing. The streamlined process not only accelerated turnaround times but also yielded dramatically improved results. The 360-degree view facilitated a more accurate interaction with the environment, ensuring continuity of reflection with the background plate. The setup produced a realistic reflection, capturing exact contours of the car body and accurate reflections from the sky, resulting in a highly convincing final sequence.

FWX | Futureworks