A widely acclaimed sci-fi mystery thriller, the Netflix series The Silent Sea stands out for its impressive, hyperrealistic recreation of space. Following successful Korean hits such as Squid Game, The Silent Sea also made it to the number one spot on the weekly Netflix Top 10 lists for non-English content. Westworld—a VFX studio located in South Korea daring to go beyond existing pipelines—is behind the show’s stunning visuals. The Silent Sea wasn’t Westworld’s first Unreal Engine project, but it was the first time they adopted in-camera VFX (ICVFX) using LED walls. The setting of the series, the lunar surface in outer space, has garnered rave reviews for its realism.
Making scenes more immersive with high-quality lunar surfaces
Having successfully enhanced the quality of Sweet Home, another Netflix series produced using Unreal Engine’s virtual production features, Westworld was fully aware of the power of the engine and decided to leverage it for this challenging project.
The sci-fi thriller drama dared to venture into a setting previously untapped by Korean dramas: the Earth, outer space, and the Moon, in an apocalyptic near future with depleting sources of water. In order to realistically generate an unknown environment of space in a variety of immersive scenes, Westworld created a 30-square-meter lunar surface set and used LED walls to connect with the virtual environment prior to filming. Unreal Engine’s ICVFX toolset made it possible to seamlessly blend both physical and virtual sets.
Using Unreal Engine in Westworld’s production pipeline to improve quality and productivity
Previously, Westworld had used Clarisse—a program for large-scale environment creation, look development, lighting, and rendering—to create a vast environment. However, for The Silent Sea, which required the entire environment in 3D, Clarisse demanded a lot of time and resources to place and render countless 3D assets. What’s more, Clarisse does not enable the user to see the actual result until the rendering is complete. To combat these limitations, the studio brought Unreal Engine into the production process. This meant they could preview the environment during the creation and boost the quality of the final work. Continue reading