[Video] Chevrolet mixes video games and AR to put its cars in alternate reality image

The Bowtie brand uses advanced video game technology to render ads with alternate reality in real time – so look closely next time you see a commercial, because one of the cars might not really be there.

The latest Game Developers Conference saw the participation of the automaker who showcased how it uses the Epic Games’ Unreal Engine (remember Unreal Tournament?) that is still used in contemporary video games and The Mill’s amazing Blackbird to make an ad with live rendering augmented reality, which speeds up the production process. Look closely at the first few seconds of the video – a Camaro ZL1 seems to share the same road with Chevrolet’s FNR concept. But in reality both cars are digital, and only the scenery is real. Eschew the computer aided images and you would only see on the road the Mill’s Blackbird – these types of machines use an adjustable wheelbase to mimic any imaginable vehicle.

Traditional postproduction would have the Blackbird replaced digitally after the video is shot – but Chevy’s new process has positional tracking that lets the software engineers simply render the needed vehicle live using the Unreal Engine. The result makes augmented reality tech a much easier job for the producers – because they see the effects and clip in real time. “This is a pivotal moment for film VFX and the coming era of augmented reality production,” Angus Kneale, Chief Creative Officer at The Mill in New York, said in the announcement. “Using Unreal’s cutting-edge game engine technology, filmmakers are able to see their photoreal digital assets on location in real time. It also means the audience can affect the films in ways previously unimagined, giving interactive control over vehicles, characters and environments within a live action cinema experience.”