24th May 2022

Earth Below Us: Real-Time VFX in Space

From film, TV, and streaming to broadcast news, in-camera visual effects bring stories to life in a brand-new way. Check out some of the otherworldly tales Ncam’s camera tracking tech has helped visualize for audiences around the globe, from the Top 10 of Netflix to the world of Luke Skywalker.


Courtesy of Netflix.

I’m a Rocket Man: “Apollo 10 1/2”
Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated animated film, Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, follows the tale of a fourth-grade student who becomes the first person to walk on the moon. For previs on set, the production used Ncam real-time camera tracking to combine the film’s live-action sequences with animation. After premiering at SXSW, Apollo 10 1/2 received critical acclaim for its writing, nostalgic feel, and visuals thanks to its innovative mix of hand-drawn and computer-animated imagery.


Courtesy of Netflix Film Club.

To Infinity, and Beyond: “The Midnight Sky”
Netflix’s The Midnight Sky, directed by George Clooney, tells the story of a lone scientist who must travel across the Arctic Circle to contact a crew of astronauts after a global catastrophe. It was named one of the Ten Best Films of 2020 by the National Board of Review, and was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 93rd Academy Awards. On set, Ncam was used to provide in-camera visualization of the Aether to help the actors understand the scale and scope of the large spaceship, which helped bring the film’s unique atmosphere to life.

“There was one occasion where Jim realized that he didn’t even have to raise the Barbeau Conservatory set as much after having a quick look through the Ncam virtual camera system.” — Matt Kasmir, Visual Effects Supervisor


Side by side comparison showing real-time VFX in the movie Jupiter Ascending.

Out of this World: “Jupiter Ascending”
Everyone loves a space opera with mysterious aliens and enchanting visuals, like Jupiter Ascending. Described as a cross between The Matrix and Star Wars, this 2015 film was praised for its visual effects and extra-terrestrial beauty. The production team used Ncam camera tracking to provide crucial insights on animation blocking, camera positions, and more.

“Seeing a CG/live action composite within our shots was very useful for [visualization]… It helped block the animation, position the camera and plan eyelines, and allowed lots of iteration. I also had a chance to see our team’s mocap work go into previs, and come back out again for the Ncam team to use on set to do their real-time rendering for the shoot – which was great!” — Gary Marshall, Motion Capture Lead


A TV Nova newscaster stands next to an AR version of the Perseverance rover.

Mars Madness: Perseverance Rover Landing
Looking to do something a little different, TV Nova gave their audience a unique view of the historic Perseverance rover landing on Mars. As the rover landed on Mars in 2021, the news channel used Ncam tech to bring an AR version of the rover to life in their studio. Despite being over 31 million miles from the action, TV Nova offered a unique view of this historic event thanks to Ncam real-time camera tracking.

“This is the reason I love working in television — you can bring unimaginable objects into the studio!” — Matyáš Podstránský, Network Administrator


A person stands in front of two virtual red Sith Jet Troopers.

Lightsaber Limbo: “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Fans love to see reality collide with their favorite fictional worlds. So Walt Disney Studios brought two virtual red Sith Jet Troopers to the premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in Los Angeles. Using Ncam tracking tech, the two characters were broadcast virtually to interact with attendees in real time, giving them a premiere they’d never forget.

“By using cameras equipped with real-time tracking and broadcast AR solutions from our partner Ncam, we were able to film each interaction and use digital effects to further stitch together the two worlds.” — Zeda Stone, RYOT


A speeding train fights off a fleet of marauders during the Imperial train heist scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

This is a Robbery: “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
Realtime VFX has been a game changer in the way content is created. In the case of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the production team needed to create and visualize the mountainous backdrop of the planet Vandor for the infamous Imperial train heist sequence. So, they turned to Ncam tech to provide a live in-camera preview of the CG background to influence their framing and acting directions on set.

“With the Ncam system, we could see the on-set action and the CG background composited together in real time, live on set, which really helped our cast, camera operators, and editors to understand what we were shooting for each of the complicated beats of that sequence.” — Rob Bredow, Visual Effects Supervisor

Keep on Reading

View all