Eight leading immersive companies have successfully secured a place on the groundbreaking Virtual Production partnership programme ‘VP Futures’ with StoryFutures Academy and Future Screens NI supported by Epic Games and Industrial Light & Magic.
Back in March 2022, Story Futures Academy and Future Screens NI launched an open call for VP Futures, supported by Epic Games and Industrial Light & Magic. This new and innovative partnership will deliver a package of targeted virtual production training, development and production support for the creative screen industries in the UK.
This UK wide programme is designed to bring the games and screen sectors into virtual production and address the skills gap identified by the ‘Virtual Production: A Global Innovation Opportunity for the UK Report’ published by StoryFutures Academy in November 2021.
The report identified many gaps and pain points in the workflows and pipelines of both Production and Postproduction talent in the UK, revealing a significant skills shortage resulting in the demand for talent and training far outstripping supply.
Virtual Production (VP) is becoming a ubiquitous methodology in the delivery of high-quality film, television and media productions. A game-changing development, VP combines virtual and augmented reality with computer generated imagery. All made possible by real-time game-engine technology.
VP Futures will support SME’s not only with access to cutting-edge VP infrastructure, but also the skills capacity to develop their own new intellectual property in the form of tools, methods whilst developing our world-renowned ability to make the highest quality content.
The aim of the VP Futures programme is to:
· Upskill UK creative content businesses and studios in VP content origination, development and production via mentoring and de-risked access to LED Volume stages
· Arm creative content companies with the insight, skills and expertise to extend their practice into VP in a global market.
· Provide mentorship and bespoke training aimed at the unique and individual needs of each business.
· Enable on set practical experimentation and training at VP LED wall facilities in NI and London.
· Fund 2 VP projects which can act as demonstrators for the innovative use of VP in the creative content sector.
· Disseminate new VP co-production models to drive innovation.
· Identify follow-on developmental training capacity building opportunities.
The programme consists of two stages:
Stage 1 Development Zone May 23rd – July 8th 2022. Eight SMEs from across the UK will be selected from an open call and taken through a 6 week intensive and bespoke training programme built around the company’s skills development, VP development, VP production and business development needs.
Stage 2 Production Zone July 18th – Sept 2022: The eight SMEs will pitch for production funding which will see two companies selected: one from NI and one from GB, to go into production on a VP Shoot. Shoots taking place in NI and London.
In the development zone, successful businesses will have the opportunity to:
Develop in-house VP knowledge, skills and expertise to expand into the growing area of VP
Access expertise, mentorship and bespoke training from ILM, SFA, FSNI and Epic aimed at the unique and individual needs of each business.
Take part in on set practical experimentation and hands on training at VP LED facilities in NI and London.
Develop projects, test concepts and storytelling ideas using VP which will help drive new and innovative VP methodologies
Pitch for production funding to take projects into production at industry standard facilities
Identify follow-on developmental and capacity building opportunities.
To participate SME’s will need to:
Provide a one page outline of an idea which can be developed as part of the Development and Production Zone. The project must be narrative driven, highly innovative in either content or methodologies and includes a high proportion of virtual production methodology.
Identify up to 4 employees to take into the programme
Demonstrate evidence of the company’s ambitions, capacity or capability to work in VP.
Only SMEs registered with a main place of business and/or operational activity in the UK are eligible to apply.