Creating a movie tool for great content capture

  • Screen capture is great for what it is, and experienced users cut and edit to produce movies that look very slick and professional with whatever footage they happen to have.

    However, Unreal had its own capture library, which I believe was both client and server side. The client side recorded what the player saw and those they were interacting with. The server side recorded the match and the admin could review any player’s POV.

    Is this library native to the UDK, and if it is, what would the potential benefit be of creating a GUI to simplify capturing movie footage? Let’s take Auran Games, who make - of all things - a train sim. Their route designer allows the player to place Point of Interest cameras that can be toggled between, plus a free roaming camera (like the one after you die in Chivalry or in Spectator mode) and a chase-cam.

    Where are the POIs in Chivalry? Well, the obvious ones are the objectives. The static objectives could be served with a tilt and pan camera (effect), and the pushables with a chase cam set out at enough of a distance to capture the action as it takes place around it. Other POIs are the trebs, cat, battlements, throne room, traps, and choke points (high traffic areas). Not to mention a cinematic view of the players themselves (ie without the game GUI). Other effects that work well are introductory “Map flybys”, winner closeup, and “Hero cam” (circle strafe hero shot like in Bad Boys).

    In other words, 3 categories of camera: POI, Player Select, and Macros, each with their own drop-down box of applicable options. The user should be limited to only using footage from the section of the timeline they are up to, preventing “super movies” using all the available cameras’ capture in a single movie. However, they should be allowed to trim out undesired footage (with an undo option if they make a mistake) from the timeline.

    In other words, they use a “Map flyby” and save it as scene 1. They then check what footage is available after the flyby for scene 2, but all the battles are already in progress, and they don’t want to show in-progress battles - only complete battles. They find a battle they like and trim out the part of the timeline between so Scene 1 transforms into Scene 2 seamlessly. When they are done editing, they choose to either record a commentary or link a soundtrack. After this, they may publish, and are able to select their service (ie Youtube) and enter their channel details (this step could be done in the config menu to make the process flow better).

    Why use a GUI tool to create movies? This is simple - gameplay footage can be very shaky as the action gets intense, and a viewer can lose a lot of potential quality. Being able to use a “Movie Mode” and select the best camera at any given moment rewards the viewer with high quality all the way through (potentially).

    Where to put this tool? The obvious place is in Spectator mode. This already has one of the cams required.

    Preserve resources with boolean checks that determine whether a camera has anything in its Field of View. It doesn’t need to capture when nothing is happening or if nobody is logged in to “Movie mode”. Generated files would be auto-removed when the user logged out of “Movie Mode”.

  • I made a quick vid in spectator mode to simulate some of the ideas. I’ve used “Tunnel” cam, “Gate look-down” cam, “Arena entry” cam, a couple of fixed position cams near the platforms, and a couple of free-roamers that are supposed to be attached to some of the players. It’s all tied together with a corny commentary.


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