Is Unreal Engine the Future of Filmmaking?

The short answer is "yes", and it has already proven affordable and successful in a wide range of fields and production sizes. With the rise of virtual models and 3D rendered product catalogs, and real-time rendering, I think the real question is how far this technology will impact commercial photography and videography as a whole. 

If I were young and looking to get into the film industry today I think the best skill you could learn moving forward is working in Unreal Engine. You don't have to master it, you don't have to make a career out of it, though that could be a great career path for both film and game design. But understanding what it is capable of and the numerous ways it can be used even today in filmmaking will open up a lot of new and exciting possibilities in the industry for you. Demand for these skills will only grow going forward.

With that being said it's not just the exciting and quick growth of high-level real-time graphics and camera tracking technology that is changing the industry. As Ryan from Film Riot discusses in this video there are a lot of possibilities for newer filmmakers to get ahead by using the free software and massive catalog of resources for things like storyboarding, and pitch reels. With nothing more than a computer you can experiment with set designs, camera movements, and lighting options all before stepping on location with a cast and crew. 

It is impressive to see how the same software can be used to produce an epic TV show like The Mandalorian as well as be used by individuals just starting out to create immersive storyboards or as a production tool.

Michael DeStefano's picture

Michael DeStefano is a commercial/editorial photographer focusing on Outdoor Lifestyle and Adventure. Based in Boston, MA he combines his passion for outdoor sports like climbing and surfing into his work. When not traveling or outdoors he is often found geeking out over new tech gadgets.

Log in or register to post comments

Having been working in Virtual Production and with Unreal for 12 years now, I've noticed a lot of photographers get terrified of this, and have been super feisty and hostile towards it. It's just another tool in the toolbox, it's not here to replace cameras, it's here to make your footage better. Embrace the changes, you'll do better for it.

Lots of studios are turning to Virtual Production for major projects, the Mandalorian is just one of the many.

I'll be sure to inform all the dictionaries that they have the wrong definition of the word Filmmaking...

It's both the dictionary definition and the customary usage by everyone.

The Oscars have several awards for categories of best film. These are films made the year prior. So this decade. Shot on contemporary cameras using digital technology.

This is like when people go around at meetups and correct everyone's pronunciation of "bokeh," but do it incorrectly.

From NYU's course catalog on Filmmaking - a course requiring students to make 5 films "using digital filmmaking technology..."

I sure hope we never run any articles about record labels. lol