Avatar‘s special effects innovator Glenn Derry hacks together blockbuster filmmaking tools. Go inside his workshop and get a tour of the virtual camera in this special video. Learn more about Glenn Derry and homebrew virtual camera in MAKE 27. Video by Corinne Leigh.

Subscribe to the MAKE Magazine Extras Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube or Vimeo.

From the Pages of MAKE

MAKE 27MAKE Volume 27, Robots!
The robots have returned! MAKE Volume 27 features a special package with robotics projects for every age and skill level. They play music; they outwit your pets; they learn from their mistakes! In addition, we’ll show you how to build a special aquarium to keep jellyfish, create pre-Edison incandescent lighting, spy via the internet, and make a go-anywhere digital message board! All this and much, much more, in MAKE Volume 27.

On newsstands now! Buy or Subscribe

Becky Stern

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

  • Anonymous

    I finally have something to comment on. I do this for a living. I don’t have a ton to say but I was wondering when mocap related stuff would make it onto here, that didn’t involve quadro copters :) I was thinking about how all the stuff I use at work and how maker friendly it is. I keep trying to dive into the arduino stuff in hopes of making some cool stuff for my job but I never get past buying the kits. I have access to a 64 camera mocap stage everyday, and have had it for 7years yet I have completely wasted it in the personal sense.

    If anyone has any “smecific” questions let me know!The real tough parts of these virtual camera systems are displaying the view on a “rig” and having a pipeline in place to switch lenses/DOF/scale etc. You can use a laptop with markers and VNC but the lag will kill you. There are so many ways to skin this cat. The wacom tablet is used a lot, but for the same price or less you can have a small marshall monitor that uses Canon/Pano/Sony batteries that has HDMI/Hd-SDI inputs. YOu can go HDMI out of your PC right into it or use DVI -> HD-SDI adapter and then you will have a nice small BNC cable that you can run around with instead of the rest. You can use a DIY stabilizer of your choice. Each different camera feel would need a different rig. You will get a very handheld feel without any weight to your camera to smooth it out. Now I’m rambling but anyway, thanks for this little video! Great Stuff!