How Full Sail University Students are Gaining Virtual Production Experience in an On-Campus Studio

Published May 15th, 2023

The film and television industry relies on up-to-date technology to bring immersive experiences to audiences. Over the last few years, studios across the country have accomplished this by investing in virtual production technology. Virtual production is a type of special effects technology that uses video game engines to create dynamic sets that have a much higher level of realism than standard green screen backdrops. These sets are displayed on massive LED screens behind a project’s actors during filming, and they can be adjusted or changed entirely in just a few clicks. Shows like The Mandalorian and Westworld, as well as movies like Top Gun: Maverick and Avengers: Endgame, were created using virtual production. 

Virtual production saves studios time and money, and it gives actors a realistic set to work with. However, virtual production studios need crew members who know how to use game engines and other specialized equipment. Full Sail University has invested more than $3 million in Studio V1: Virtual Production, a campus studio where students can gain experience through their classwork and through projects from outside clients. 

Studio V1’s Film Technology

Studio V1: Virtual Production is equipped with the latest film technology. Brompton LED processors display sets generated in the Unreal game engine onto a 40-foot wide and 16-foot high LED wall. The wall has 500 hyper-pixel LED tiles, with 410 tiles on the ground and 90 tiles across the ceiling. This equipment, combined with Full Sail’s industry-standard audio, lighting, and camera gear, makes Studio V1 one of the most technologically advanced on-campus studios in the country. 

Students’ On-Set Opportunities

Students from a variety of Full Sail’s degree programs can contribute to productions in Studio V1, including:

Computer Animation Bachelor’s

Digital Cinematography Bachelor’s

Film Bachelor’s

Game Art Bachelor’s

Interactive Technology Bachelor’s  ­– Game Design Track

Game Development Bachelor’s

Show Production Bachelor’s

Simulation & Visualization Bachelor’s

On-Campus Productions

Studio V1 has also been home to several on-campus productions. Full Sail University President Garry Jones participated in a Halloween livestream where a student crew shot three different scenes to show how quickly a set can be changed in a virtual production studio. On Star Wars Day, Full Sail students combined backdrops from Unreal Engine with physical props to shoot scenes with Star Wars characters. Students have also worked on additional films from outside clients in Studio V1.

Virtual Production at Major Studios

Studios like HBO, Netflix, and Disney have made a number of hit television shows and movies with their virtual production studios. The Mandalorian, Disney+’s hit show, was one of the first big projects to use the tech. Full Sail Game Art grad Tripp Topping was part of the team that showed the studio that Unreal Engine was a viable virtual production solution for The Mandalorian

Additional movies and shows that have used virtual production include:

House of the Dragon

–  Westworld

Star Wars franchise

Top Gun: Maverick

The Batman

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Avengers: Endgame

Thor: Love and Thunder

The Lion King (2019)   

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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