unko & VANDAL bring to life director Stef Smith’s ‘Weather Girl’ using Epic Games Unreal Engine
unko was commissioned by international juggernaut Epic Games, maker of the realtime gaming engine Unreal Engine, to complete a short film in six weeks to showcase Unreal Engine’s production capabilities and how the platform is enabling increasingly sophisticated creativity.
Given a mere six weeks to write, prepare, film and post-produce, unko producer Belinda Dean and director Stef Smith turned to creative technology powerhouse VANDAL to assist with Unreal Engine’s virtual production technology.
Shot in a single day with the support of Screen NSW and Epic Games, ‘Weather Girl’ has been named one of the top films in the Australia wide competition.
VANDAL, in collaboration with Unreal Engine specialist Shanny Lam, designed the film’s many in-camera visual effects shots, including a complete virtual environment rendered in real time on set. This allowed director Stef Smith to see and alter the Unreal Engine environment and visual effects for the various camera angles needed right there on set. Building upon data captured, VANDAL further created numerous Unreal Engine visual effects shots and particle simulations.
Says VANDAL Executive Director Emile Rademeyer, “VANDAL is proud to be a leader in visual effects and helped create a showpiece film by demonstrating the potential of using real-time in-camera visual effects on set and in virtual productions.”
Says producer Belinda Dean, “Almost everyone I called thought we were mad to attempt a short film during the industry’s busiest period in October 2020. The incredible support of crew, VANDAL, The Editors and Electric Sheep Music made it possible and we managed to create a polished visual effects film we’re incredibly proud of.”
Says director Stef Smith, “I’m a big sci-fi nerd and am endlessly grateful to Epic Games for financing so many short films and giving us the opportunity to make use of real-time technology. Huge thanks to the entire Weather Girl team who combined their energy and enthusiasm for this project with a mental deadline and many unknowns! I feel lucky to have had their support.”
‘Weather Girl’ is a lo-fi retro futurist sci fi starring Shabana Azeez as Molly, a 16-year-old girl who is undergoing a transformation she doesn’t yet understand. Trapped in an unhappy family dynamic, Molly decides that today is the day to make a stand.