case study 2023 pdf

disguise simplifies car process shots for BBC thriller Better

disguise simplifies car process shots for BBC thriller Better

Looking for opportunities to deliver a more efficient shoot for their crime thriller series Better as well as a way to simplify the car process shots, the BBC turned to Universal Pixels, and their virtual production studio powered by disguise. With the help of disguise gx 2c media servers and Previz, the team achieved ultimate volume control for over thirty internal vehicle scenes.



days on set



different scenes shot

Filming on location at Prime Studios in Leeds, Universal Pixels’ In-Camera VFX Specialist Dan Edmonds used the disguise system to provide a seamless virtual production workflow so the BBC team could focus less on making the technical setup work and more on bringing the series’ gripping storyline to life.

The challenge

The team were tasked with shooting thirty internal car scenes in only three days with multiple Directors and DoPs in the mix.

“After initial testing, we had one week in which we needed to build our set, fit in our three day shoot and strike,” says Edmond. With such a tight schedule, it was important to make the most of every moment on set.



The Solution

Traditional filming methods would require balancing a wide range of logistics to ensure a relatively easy shoot. With Universal Pixel’s LED volume powered by disguise, these difficult factors were immediately eliminated.

Building a custom LED set using ROE Visual’s Black Diamond screens, the team were able to place their vehicle in front of any virtual background they needed. Powered by two disguise gx 2c media servers, the visuals were played back to perfection in an easy-to-control setup.

For Edmonds, a major benefit for the production was the pre-viz tools offered by disguise’s workflow. Each shot could be planned out in advance, meaning that no time was wasted in the short shooting window.

disguise’s virtual production technology was also key to the shoot’s success, enabling the team to playback the driving plates with 360° of freedom, which, in conjunction with custom-made LUTs (look-up tables), allowed for the team to deliver scenes that fit in naturally with the wider production.

The ability to control driving plate continuity went beyond grading, with the production able to fully dictate the video plate content of their scenes, and work flexibly to ensure that everything lined up perfectly in post. This was important, with multiple directors overseeing the scenes being shot during the short run of filming in the volume.

disguise helped the team on-site to simplify the workflow. This allowed flexibility for the production to preview selects and make sure they fitted the scene being shot.”
Dan Edmonds, In-Camera VFX Specialist, Universal Pixels



The team were able to take a wide range of scenes set at different times of day, with different weather conditions, and in different locations, and film them all on the same set. 

“The production crew had very little previous experience with this process,” says Edmonds. “It was great to see how pleased everyone was with the speed of the shoot and the quality of the results it gave them.”

When Better hit the air in February 2023, the car scenes fit seamlessly into the show. With the gritty drama relying heavily on the tense scenes shot inside multiple vehicles, Universal Pixel’s virtual production work ensured that the audience is drawn into the tense action for the duration of the gripping storyline.

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