Let’s see how we can use our studio scene with a Presenter placed into it. Since we haven’t got any live camera input for the testing here, we’ll use test videos. In the Common projects, we can find a few test videos recorded in a green studio. Enter the Videos then the Green subfolder. Let’s select this video with a standing man. We have to connect it to the Test Input 1 pin of the VirtualCam compound. If we’d like to test the scene with 3 cameras, we can connect other videos to the Test Video 2 and 3 pins similarly. We won’t discuss that case in this tutorial.
Note that to have the test video work the TEST button must be turned on here in the BILLBOARDS Control Board. If the button is off then we see the live camera input if any. So let’s leave it on and also activate the input with this on/off button. In the different monitor modes, we already see the test video.
There’s a complete tutorial video on the placement of the billboards and defining the camera motion paths, so we won’t discuss it here. I’ve already placed the Presenter to a suitable position and set up a few camera motions. On the CAMERAS board, we have to switch from Free Mode to Camera Mode. We can see the camera moving and we can switch between several motion presets. Let’s leave it on preset 2 for now.
We can see that the billboard is a little dark. It can be corrected on the ADJUSTER box of the billboard. Let’s raise its brightness. Also currently the billboard does not work together with our lighting presets. For this purpose, there’s a “Billboard Color” pin on the VirtualCam compound. We can simply connect it with the same color we used for the lighting. Now the billboard accommodates the current lighting.
What’s missing yet is a dynamic shadow for the Presenter. For this purpose, we have to add a spotlight to the scene. Let’s switch back to Free camera mode for a while. Add a Spot Light module. It’s crucial that this particular light source must not be connected to the studio model’s root, as we did with the extra Point Light before. Instead, we connect the spot to the highest root node which resides in the Render compound. Otherwise, it would not affect the billboard itself which is the point here. So let’s connect it to here.
Now we place the spot. This position will suit us. Let’s narrow the Falloff Angle to just embrace the Presenter. Also, make the edges softer. What is missing is the shadow itself. We must turn on the “Cast Shadow” property. The shadow appears. It’s usually not favorable to cast such a hard edged shadow, because it can reveal unrealistic details for e.g. at the feet. So I suggest increasing the “Shadow Softness” parameter to some believable value.
We can play with the light intensity, of course. What is important to discuss here is the way the light affects the billboard. On the ADJUSTER panel, we find a “Luminosity” slider. To put it simply it controls how sensitive is the billboard is to the light sources. If the Luminosity is set to maximum it means that the billboard has its own brightness and is not affected by the light sources at all. You can see that if I adjust the light intensity it doesn’t change the billboard. If the Luminosity is set to zero, then, on the contrary, the lighting completely determines the brightness of the billboard. Usually, we set some intermediate value so that the billboard has some visibility even when all the lights are off. So let’s leave it on 0.25 for now.
Regarding the spot light intensity, we have to be careful. We’ve set an intensity that is suitable for the Dark preset. If we change to the Full preset, with an incorrectly set spot intensity the scene can burn in. Also, the billboard is whitewashed now, so we have to cut down its base Brightness to a suitable level.
Let’s see the scene with the other presets again. We can see that with the dark preset the Presenter is too dark now. As before we can use a Power module to change the intensity curve of the billboard. We set the exponent so that we get an acceptable brightness for this dark environment. Now we have a pleasing brightness for all the lighting presets.
So it’s not always easy. We have to find a good balance with the brightnesses, colors, and luminosities.
Also, we may want to control the intensity of the color of the Spot Light itself. For e.g. when the dark preset is active we may want a stronger Spot Light as a contrast. I won’t show it in detail again, but I’ve put together a preset switcher for the spot, similarly as we did for the global lighting. On the MAIN Control Board, we have a SPOTLIGHT panel now. If we are in Full mode we can use the Normal preset for the Spot. But when we switch to Dark mode we may switch the spotlight to High mode for a dramatic effect. We can also switch it off completely or set it to an extreme color which combined with an Orange studio lighting can be quite repulsive.
Of course, we would build a preset button bar that does a synchronized control of the global lighting and the spotlight together. But I leave that to the audience.
The bottom line is that we can wire together virtually any controlling and effecting structure. The only limit is the user’s imagination.