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Virtual Production Skills Labs

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Virtual Production (VP) is a rapidly growing area of content production. By combining CGI, game-engines, and virtual and augmented reality technologies, Virtual Production enables completely new ways of making film and TV, from virtual scouting, to set design, to real-time, on-set visual effects. Virtual Production techniques will impact many core disciplines within filmmaking, from cinematography to production design, VFX, animation, directing, and beyond.


StoryFutures Academy Virtual Production Labs are industry vocation specific, tailoring the course outline to meet sector-specific needs. These sessions are run in small groups of 12 and are intended to provide hands-on learning with a LED Wall, granting participants the ability to expand creative thinking in effective and efficient ways. With support from StoryFutures Academy Professor Peter Richardson (VP Lead) and Johnny Johnson (Lead Technician).


Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Final Pixel in-camera technology, through the case study and demonstrations of Paul Franklin’s recently completed short film ‘Fireworks’, made by Wilder Films, and shot using a VP volume.

Oscar-award winning VFX Supervisor and Director Paul Franklin and BAFTA Award Winning Producer Annalise Davis will be on hand to answer your questions regarding the creative strategies the ‘Fireworks’ team employed to get the most out of the technology, how Producers should approach VP as a creative solution and how it can be incorporated into your thinking when planning your next production.

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© Wilder Films / Fireworks
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Fireworks Synopsis

With an MI6 operation underway on an active target on the other side of the world, London-based Ops Leader GILLIAN LYE and her team are forced to make tough decisions. State of the art virtual production technology brings to life the blurred images on the MI6 screens and we see the real, innocent people who may become collateral damage.

A tense thriller exposing the life-changing decisions those at the top can deliver.

Directed by Paul Franklin, produced by Annalise Davis, and written by Steven Lally, short film FIREWORKS is presented by Wilder Films, in association with Epic MegaGrants, Dimension, DNeg, Lipsync, and StoryFutures Academy: the National Centre for Immersive Storytelling.


Director Paul Franklin is a multi-award-winning filmmaker and visual effects artist with over 30 years of experience. Paul began to experiment with filmmaking as an art student which is where he first began to explore new emerging digital technologies. After graduation Paul moved into the area of digital visual effects, working on films including THE ENGLISH PATIENT and the HARRY POTTER series. Paul's long-running collaboration with director Christopher Nolan produced the spectacular visual effects of THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY and in 2011 Paul won his first Academy Award® for his work on INCEPTION. In 2015 Paul won his second Oscar® for the VFX of INTERSTELLAR. In 2017 Paul made his directorial debut with his short film THE ESCAPE which signals his desire to tell the stories that matter the most to him. In 2021 Paul followed up with his second short film FIREWORKS, a tense thriller that uses cutting-edge Virtual Production technology to tell its story.


Annalise Davis (Wilder Films) produced feature film UP THERE which won BAFTA (Scotland) Awards for Best Film and Best Director as well as the main prize at Santa Barbara International Film Festival. She went on to co-produce THE RAILWAY MAN, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, and served as the UK producer on TIGERS, directed by Academy Award-winning Danis Tanovic. Most recently Annalise worked as a tutor and Head of Production at the prestigious National Film and Television School, where she oversaw over 160 short films a year, across multiple genres (fiction, TV, documentary, Science and Natural History, animation and commercials). Prior to this she produced several award-winning short films, including Palme d’Or nominated AFTER TOMORROW, and Royal Television Society winning AFTER, as well as EIFF best film nominee AN ACT OF LOVE.


Who is it for?

Established Producers and Leaders who have a track record in High-End TV, Feature Film, Feature Documentary, Commercials, Entertainment, and/or Immersive content.

Producers who are interested in understanding the VP process from budgeting to principal photography through to final delivery.


StoryFutures Academy Virtual Production Lab: Producers, Wednesday 24th November

9.30 arrival for 10am start, finishes at 5pm


In this lab, Producers will get first-person insights into the journey from script to cinema with ‘Fireworks’ Producer Annalise Davis. This includes her insights into the benefits, drawbacks and challenges a producer faces and how it impacts on the rest of the film-making process.


Topics covered will include:

  • Planning – the factors to consider when deciding on VP
  • Preparation – how VP prep differs from a normal production
  • Previsualization
  • Production Design and the Virtual Art Department
  • Key HODs - how their jobs are impacted by VP
  • Crew – an overview of the crew needed and how they fit into the traditional crew structure
  • Budgeting and Scheduling
  • Production
  • Post Production
  • Communication between the two cultures of VP / games and film
  • How VP might be embedded into film-making in the future


This StoryFutures Academy Virtual Production Lab will be held at the Epic Innovation Lab, 1 Stephen Street, LONDON, W1T 1AT.


To apply, please complete the application form. Places will be allocated in accordance with our selection criteria. These Labs are free to attend and we receive a high volume of applications, therefore there is no guarantee of receiving a place and we will not be able to provide application feedback.

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KEY DATES

Wednesday 13th October 2021 - Call Opens

Monday 1st November 2021 - Call Closes

Wednesday 24th November - Virtual Production Lab: Producers. 9.30am arrival for 10am start, finish by 5pm. Epic Games Studios, 1 Stephen Street, LONDON, W1T 1AT.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

To apply you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Age: Participants must be 18+
  • UK Status: Applicants must be UK nationals or permanent UK residents, living and working in the UK
  • Diversity: StoryFutures Academy operates with a pledge to ensure 50% of participants are women and 15-20% are from BAME backgrounds
  • Track Record: Applicants must have a substantial body of work and track record in a relevant creative field, including a number of screen, production, performance (or equivalent) credits.
  • Ability to benefit: Applicants must explain why this opportunity would be of benefit to them and their career path and aspirations, and provide an opportunity they may not otherwise have access to.
  • Reporting: All participants must agree to funder reporting requirements, including the provision of relevant business and employment information
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