Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Game engine Unity and filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (“Elysium,” “District 9”) have partnered to create a more fleshed out version of “Adam,” a short proof-of-concept film that Unity released to show off its Cinemachine movie creation tools. At the same time, Unity debuted a new version of Cinemachine, software that allows users to direct their own CG films. Blomkamp is an ideal partner, having just launched his own studio, Oats, and released three videos (“Rakka,” “Firebase,” “Zygote”) and other shorter projects.

The Verge reports that Blomkamp opened Oats Studios “as an experiment … to develop his film ideas without waiting years for the attention and resources of a typical Hollywood studio.”

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Unity head of labs Sylvio Drouin reports that his company started working on the “Adam” project, about a robot escaping a prison, four years ago. He added that the company saw a partial merging of the film and game industries and thought it was “time to start working on making the Unity engine and editor compatible with film technology.”

Cinemachine, in addition to rendering graphics in real-time, lets the user make “minute adjustments in colors, lighting, shadows, and camera placement.”

Head of Made with Unity Isabelle Riva reports that, “the company’s philosophy is to allow teams to innovate and come up with projects to test out the graphics engine on their own, rather than giving them a top-down mandate.” Response was so strong to “Adam,” she says, that “it was a potential IP.” For Oats, Cinemachine has “helped streamline the studio’s filmmaking efforts.”

“The biggest thing for me was the cameras,” said Blomkamp. “If you’re working live-action, you have no choice but to work with what you shot six months earlier.” Blomkamp likes the ability to “make shot adjustments immediately,” and gives the example of one film where he changed the position of the sun to turn the light from harsh to more pleasing.

The biggest take away is that “it’s such a visible jump from technical demo to entertainment property.” “Adam” is already a nice fit for the kind of films that Blomkamp has been making with Oats Studios. “Whatever the future holds for Adam and his fellow escaped prisoners, there are clearly plenty of places Blomkamp can take this story.”