Virtual Production training
Virtual production (VP) is revolutionising the way stories are told, enabling filmmakers and content creators to push boundaries and deliver visually captivating experiences to audiences worldwide.
The swift and substantial expansion of virtual production usage globally and the creation of Studio Ulster, a £72m, large-scale studio complex in Belfast due to open in 2024 that integrates virtual production with traditional film, animation, games and broadcast has generated a surge in the need for skilled crew members in Northern Ireland proficient in Virtual Production capabilities.
Northern Ireland Screen is running a skills development scheme for virtual production between September 2023 and March 2024. The scheme provides training opportunities in the core skills, knowledge and understanding required for VP technical setups, and key on-set roles and activities.
The virtual production training is funded by Northern Ireland Screen, delivered by the Ulster Screen Academy at Ulster University and open to those already working in the screen and content industries.
How to apply: Applications for the subsidised spaces are currently open, please complete an application form.
Virtual Production Course Programme
Course 1 – Introduction to Unreal Engine for Virtual Production: Five-day 101
Course Schedule: 11th -15th September 2023
Course description: This course brings together world leading experts, facilitators, and executives from leading international production companies (Netflix, Amazon Prime Studios, Sky, Framesync and others) to give a detailed understanding of what virtual production is, what is involved, what it costs and how to start working in this area. This in person course will be held at the Ulster Screen Academy and involves workshops on an in-camera visual effects stage, technology demonstrations, use case studies and industry masterclasses.
Suitable for those already working in the industry with related digital skills, such as but not limited to 3D design workflows, world building, those working in Unity currently, graduates with cognate skills, 3D artists, those working in games and or in animation and VFX professionals wanting to use Unreal Engine.
Course 2 – Stepping into Virtual Production: Four- day deep dive
Course schedule: Part 1 – 25th – 26th September 2023 Part 2 – 2nd – 3rd October 2023
Course description: This course brings together world leading experts, facilitators, and executives from leading international production companies (Netflix, Amazon Prime Studios, Sky, Framesync and others) to give a detailed understanding of what virtual production is, what is involved, what it costs and how to start working in this area. This in person course will be held at the Ulster University and involves workshops on an in-camera visual effects stage, technology demonstrations, use case studies and industry masterclasses.
Suitable for decision makers, executive producers and directors, creative directors and heads of departments in the film and broadcast sector locally.
Course 3 – Brainbar 101: Virtual Art Department on Set and in Pre-production
Course schedule: 14-15th October 2023
Course description: This technical virtual production course will explore the design of worlds for use on virtual production LED or in camera visual effects stages using a combinations of key 3D software tools and porting these assets to, or building assets in, Unreal Engine. Week one will focus on the design and delivery of 3D worlds/environments for use in ICVFX pipelines. You must have some knowledge of 3D software and ideally some knowledge of Unreal Engine. The second stages of the course will take place using a combination of computer labs and an LED wall/ ICVFX studio and will focus on working on a ‘Brain-bar’ for on set delivery, optimisation and real-time on set changes to virtual environments, version control, plate playback and meta data changes.
Suitable for those with a background in 3D software, Unreal Engine, virtual set design, and related disciplines such as VFX, games and animation who wants to know more about virtual production and working on-set in virtual production studios in the role of technical artist or ‘Brain-bar’ operator.
Course 4 – Virtual Production for Broadcasters and Fact/Ent Producers
Course schedule: 29th – 30th January 2024 OR 31st January – 1st February 2024
Course description: This course will focus on the use cases of virtual and extended reality studios for broadcast/television production and will include demonstrations of an industry software pipeline for virtual set design and demonstrate what is involved in building virtual environments for use in light entertainment, studio-based entertainment and factual programme making. This course will also explore the potential to connect virtual studios to existing lighting rigs and the types of programme formats that work best for the technology.
Suitable for production professionals interested in creating new content and new formats employing virtual production techniques for studio-based television.
Course 5 – Virtual Production for DOPs
Course schedule: 6th – 7th February 2024 OR 8th – 9th February 2024
Course description: The two-day course will explore camera calibration, lens alignment, colour management pipelines, lighting in virtual production and camera tracking technology. A specialist international company will travel to NI to deliver this training using industry standard equipment and workflows.
Suitable for directors of photography and lighting camera operators/camera crew.
Course 6 – Using plates for Virtual Production – Car Process
Course schedule: 9th – 12th March 2024
Course description: Working closely with a world leading VFX company this 3-day course will be a hands on practical workshop on the development, creation and delivery of 2D Video playback for Virtual Production solution such as car process. The course will explore what is needed to create VFX plates, the technology considerations, the type of equipment required and the creation process. The second stage of the course will explore stitching and creation of rectilinear imagery and combining multiple camera sources to create a 360-video file. Lastly, this file will be taken into a VP ICVFX workflow and stage to understand playback processes in virtual production using the latest playback solutions in Virtual Production.
Suitable for those camera crew, VFX creators and those with a good understanding of production technical workflows.