A new £1.6million virtual production studio has been launched at Ulster University by Economics Minister Gordon Lyons.
The state-of-the-art facility is backed by funding of over £536,000 through the Department of Economics and will provide screen industry skills education to students at the university.
Speaking after touring the studio at the University of Ulster’s Belfast Campus, the Minister said: “I am delighted to be launching the Ulster Virtual Production Studio at the University of Ulster. This new facility , supported by my department, will provide teaching and learning spaces for students in the screen industry-related fields and further strengthen the pool of skills in this dynamic and growing sector.
“Students will have access to state-of-the-art production and visual effects facilities not available anywhere else in Northern Ireland or the RoI. the screen on some of the live productions made here in Northern Ireland.”
The Minister added: “The Virtual Production Studio is a high quality addition to Ulster University’s offering, responding to the changing skills landscape and aligning well with my 10X economic vision. department for a decade of innovation.”
The minister was given a tour of the virtual production studio by UU’s Acting Executive Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor Frank Lyons, who commented: “With the screen industries continuing to To grow in Northern Ireland, it is important that we have a pipeline of graduates with the skills and knowledge to specialize in production and research and development led by creativity and technology.
“We are responding to industry reports that there is a skills shortage in virtual production. We prioritize teaching and research using state-of-the-art technology supported by expert multinational companies to ensure that our students graduate with the creative, technical and professional skills and knowledge to work on film and television sets locally and lead the way in games and animation, nationally and internationally, to advance the creative industries.
“With the introduction of the Ulster Screen Academy and the Virtual Production Studio at Ulster University, we are driving a skills revolution in production pipelines across converging sectors with applications across film, broadcasting, advertising, animation, games, immersion and visual effects.”
During his visit, the Minister met with Fiona McLaughlin, founding co-director of Taunt Studios, who recently used virtual production studios to create a short film.
Fiona commented: “It was an amazing opportunity to be one of the first companies to shoot in Ulster University’s virtual production facilities. As an independent animation studio, we’ve spent the last few years of working with real-time technologies and a growing VFX pipeline, putting us in an excellent position to utilize virtual production techniques.To explore this emerging area of filmmaking, we have teamed up with director duo JAK and specialists from the Ulster University Screen Academy to create the short film “A Thing Called Joy”. The results have been outstanding, and it will certainly be the start of a whole new toolkit for visual effects and filmmaking.”