Black Mass 

Black Mass is an experimental music video created using realtime rendering technology in Unreal Engine. 

Direction/ Editing : Alex Popescu

Music : LEViT∆TE - Black Mass (feat. Fuse 808 Mafia) http://levitatemusic.net/

Landscape Scans :  Matthieu Leahttp://dronemapping.fr/

Character Scans : https://sketchfab.com/codame / www.codame.com

Making the video

Using Unreal Engine for short form filmmaking is an area that is developing at an amazing rate. The combination of easy of use and impressive quality of the output is at a turning point, that is making this an incredible tool for filmmakers. It allowed me to iterate incredibly fast and focus on directing.

The music video idea evolved from the first Unreal Engine cinematic tests I did. My first goal was to create a believable CG set and then practice camera work and editing, taking full advantage of the realtime rendering technology. The fact that you can edit live CG camera work, compared to the overhead of creating a camera, rendering, then editing is absolutely fantastic.  

I based my sets on landscape photogrammetry scans from http://dronemapping.fr/, available under a creative commons licence on sketchfab.com. This allowed me to focus on creating a mood, focusing on lighting and atmosphere.

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Once the stage was set, I started playing with some fantastic character photogrammetry scans from www.codame.com. The idea of a music video came naturally, by exploring the connection of the characters to their environment, and using the music as a backdrop and to set the rhythm.

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The moment I listened to BLACK MASS from LEViT∆TE, I just knew the images I was creating could fit. The track has amazing tempo, and editing the shots to it was so natural. After I put together a rough edit, I contacted LEViT∆TE to ask for permission to use the song and I got lucky! He loved the result, so I was able to move forward with refining my work. His music is just insane, check it out here .

I was trying to keep this project realistic in terms of its complexity, so I decided to work around the idea of static characters, and create the story using the interaction with their environment. To add a bit of a punch to the project, I pushed everything towards a surreal universe, where the characters inhabiting it are able to control the world around them. So it became more of an experience, following these strange characters in their journey.

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The script for the music video evolved organically from the initial tests. It is a perfect example of using the limitations of production drive the story. I wanted to try and keep the execution manageable, so I can focus on the concept and the experience, and less on spending time on complex technical challenges. The story was designed for a strong visual impact and realistic expectations in terms of the complexity of production.

Creating this short video was an incredible experience, from using Unreal as a production tool, to experiencing the freedom of realtime rendering production and the excitement of being able to share a finished product.

 If you’d like to know more about it, just get in touch !

Here is a collections of still taken from the video.