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A Look at the Unreal Stage App

As Unreal Engine has gained traction as a tool for the media and entertainment industry, more people outside of the traditional user base are interacting with the program than ever before. Epic has responded by creating tools to simplify workflows for certain tasks, making it easier to interact with UE and apply changes to the scene without having to be familiar with the desktop interface. Shortly after the release of Unreal Engine 5.2, a new Unreal Stage app was launched, allowing for remote control of In-Camera VFX parameters remotely from a tablet. In this post, we’ll take a look at what the new Unreal Stage app brings to the table, along with a brief review of the in-camera VFX features that it controls.

A Review of In-Camera VFX

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
In-Camera VFX in use on a set. Source: In-Camera VFX Overview

First, let’s take a look at In-Camera VFX. In-Camera VFX allows for real-time visual effects to be shot during a live action film shoot, removing the need for green screen compositing. In practice, this uses a combination of LED lighting, live camera tracking, and real-time rendering with off-axis projection to integrate foreground actors with virtual backgrounds. This is a big topic, with lots of considerations relating to hardware and there are plenty of pages in the Unreal documentation dedicated to it. If you’re interested in diving deeper, check out the In-Camera VFX Overview page.

In-Camera VFX Editor

To make things easier for Stage Operators, the In-Camera VFX editor was introduced, which provides quick access to commonly used tools like color and grading controls (seen in the image below).

Remote Control Support for In-Camera VFX

Still, this method of working requires some form of access to the physical hardware that Unreal is running on, and so it is also possible to use the Remote Control system to control the scene in real time from a web app. The same color correction and lighting controls available in the software could be accessed and modified via the web app without needing to be at a dedicated workstation. It’s also possible to customize the available controls via the UI builder (source).

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
Remote Control for In-Camera VFX. Source: In-Camera VFX Overview

Now that we’ve had a chance to review In-Camera VFX and the options available for user interaction/control, let’s have a look at the new Unreal Stage app.

What is the Unreal Stage app?

The Unreal Stage app allows users to use a tablet as a wireless control panel for certain features relating to In-Camera VFX. It mirrors the functionality of the desktop In-Camera VFX Editor, allowing for in-Engine access to these features without the need to be tethered to a workstation computer. Adjustments to lighting, for example, can be made from anywhere on the film’s set without requiring computer access.

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
Source: Unreal Engine 5.3 brings new potential for media and entertainment projects

The benefit here, compared to the Remote Control web app, is that you get the full feature set of the desktop version without any additional setup or customization required (although you do still have the ability to do so!)

In the next sections, we’ll take a brief look at the app’s interface and functionality.

The Stage Tab

In the Stage tab, you can view a live preview of the current nDisplay output on the LED wall, just like the desktop nDisplay Editor Preview and ICVFX Editor. All UI interactions have been set up to take advantage of the typical tablet touchscreen, using taps, pinching, swipes and multi-finger scrolling for interaction. New actors can be placed, content positioned/repositioned, and objects modified.

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
The Stage Tab, showing options for a live preview of the scene. Source: Unreal Stage: Using the Stage Tab

The Outliner Tab

Other familiar UE desktop features like the Outliner are also available, allowing for quick selection, visibility toggling, and duplication or deleting of actors (among other features).

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
Multi-selection with the Outliner. Source: Unreal Stage: Outliner

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The Details and Color Grading Tabs

Next up: the Details and Color Grading tabs. As in the desktop app, the Details tab contains controls for modification of actor properties (see left image below). The properties that you’ll be able to access vary on the particular actor, just as they do in the desktop version. Check out a full list of available properties here. The right image shows the Color Grading tab, which includes a modified Color Grading Outliner for selecting which content to apply color grading to.

Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features
Unreal Stage App In-Camera VFX Features

The Remote Control Tab

Finally, for those situations where the previous features just aren’t quite cutting it, there is the Remote Control tab. This allows access to the Remote Control Web Interface (including its customizable UI features) without having to leave the Unreal Stage app or open the web browser.


As you can see, the Unreal Stage app provides a very complete, user friendly, touch-screen oriented and (perhaps most importantly!) wireless and portable way of working with Unreal Engine. It’s not just a remotely accessible way of adjusting a few parameters for convenience, but really gives the end user much of the power you’d expect from the desktop interface. For current users in the media and entertainment industry, the Unreal Stage app is no doubt a welcome addition, and is sure to make its way onto many a set in the near future.