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Final Pixel Academy delivers HETV Skills Fund Virtual Production (VP) training at Target3D London



The Screenskills Virtual Production Training programme was a fully-funded day of VP

instruction for HETV Trainees across six UK locations. With the funding support by the

ScreenSkills High-End TV Skills fund and with contributions from various UK high-end TV

productions, each participant gained first-hand insight into the merits of virtual production

and practice-led experience that they could apply to their own burgeoning VP careers and

further training ambitions.


Final Pixel Academy, the training arm of Final Pixel, works internationally to deliver stage

setup and training for companies and educational organisations seeking to build or scale up

their virtual production capacities. In January 2024, FPA embarked on its two-month tour of the

UK with the aim of delivering VP knowledge and hands-on practical experience for trainees

working in HETV.


The immersive training programme introduced trainees to end-to-end virtual production workflows and the exciting technologies at the core of virtual production. Working with stage partner Target3D and in partnership with Digital Catapult, FPA trainees gained access to industry experts and cutting-edge technologies in a commercial studio, providing an up-close look at the future of production. By shining a light on this rapidly advancing element of filmmaking, the HETV Virtual Production training provided participants with the requisite skills, knowledge, and connections to embark upon a future in virtual production to and incorporate it into their own professional and artistic practice.


Before the training day, the trainees took a compulsory webinar to strengthen their existing

knowledge of virtual production and to insure that their knowledge aligned with the intensive

one-day training course’s curriculum. That session shared examples of relevant HETV and film

productions to explore the current state of virtual production and its relevancy to various

HoDs. Once at Target 3D, Final Pixel Academy provided professional VP crew and training

staff, as well as industry guests who shared insights from the set, and shared experiences and

expertise from a first-person vantage point. Examples of case studies were from Barbie,

Hijack, House of the Dragon, The Batman, 1899, Ant Man & The Wasp: Quantumania, The

Mandalorian 3, and The Creator (2023). Presenters also shared career routes for HoDs,

explaining the potential career networks and learning pathways for these evolving roles.


The final stop of the virtual production was at Target3D (an Advanced Media Production

Studio) in East London. Trainees had the opportunity to work alongside industry experts,

gaining practical insights and crucial hands-on experience for their professional development.

Target 3D proved a more-than-apt venue to host such a training programme:


“We’ve got 2 studios, here in London on Dock Street and Gateshead in the Northeast of England. These studios are connected by a 10 gigabyte (10G) line and we have a 5G local network and we can do all sorts of advanced media production, virtual production, motion capture, photogrammetry, and volumetric capture,” said Allan Rankin, Managing Director at Target3D, whose studio was part funded by Innovate UK and built in partnership with Digital Catapult.


Throughout the day, participants listened to presentations from industry professionals,

watched four different virtual production demonstrations, and even had the opportunity to

develop and shoot their own test scene with a choice of background. Rankin added,


“I think it’s really important for people to get hands-on, and I think that will have a big impact on

people when they go to do shoots in VP settings – that experience will be really valuable.”


Emily Gunn, HETV Engagement and Projects Manager, addresses an audience of trainees at Target3D in London.
Emily Gunn, HETV Engagement and Projects Manager, addresses an audience of trainees at Target3D in London.

Emily Gunn, HETV Engagement and Projects Manager, addresses an audience of trainees at Target3D in London.


The day broke down as follows:


  • A live, onboarding session of VP technologies and introduction to the landscape of the OSVP team, VP Tech Demo for better understanding of how it works in practice in-studio and both its limitations and benefits. Topics included:

    • Producing a Virtual Production

    • Creating Virtual Art and content for the LED wall

    • Control and On Set Virtual Production (OSVP)

    • Filming in a Volume, for crew and creatives (e.g. Directors, DoPs)


  • Core, a mini-hands-on masterclass where cohorts broke into smaller working groups

and experienced key competencies across creative and technical proficiencies through

student-led learning approaches.


  • Q&A, feedback and What’s Next? at the end of the day allowed for facilitation of wider

discussion, feedback loops, instructional advice and “what’s next” for career pathways

and training.



The benefits for both trainees and the wider sector are numerous. The High-End TV Skills Fund

Virtual Production Open Day offered opportunities to emerging creatives and industry

professionals the ability to work closely with those at the forefront of new creative and

technical methodologies of filmmaking, while also spurring their own interests in this rapidly

evolving landscape.


A trainee views the Titanic – a photo-real environment made with Unreal Engine shown on the LED Wall at Target3D.
A trainee views the Titanic – a photo-real environment made with Unreal Engine shown on the LED Wall at Target3D.

HETV Engagement and Project Manager, Emily Gunn underscored the value of such trainings

because they welcome and teach creatives from all aspects of the industry, not just audio-

visual.


“The impact is huge,” she said, highlighting the cutting-edge nature of the HETV Virtual Production Tour and the possibility for participants to jumpstart their careers as a result.


Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and indicated an industry-wide

desire for greater familiarity with virtual production, as emphasised by feedback from some

of the trainees.


“The industry is moving very fast,” shared one participant, “I’ve always been

fascinated about screenwriting and virtual production...and through [programmes such as

this], I can see from the area of pre-vis, and how that is going to work with a screenwriter.”


Consequently, participants not only acquired valuable skills and knowledge in virtual

production, but also gained exposure to cutting-edge technology and industry best practices.


By aligning with strategic partners like Target3D and Digital Catapult, Final Pixel Academy

were able to successfully deliver an innovative Virtual Production training program, laying the

groundwork for future collaborations and advancements in the field from London and

beyond.


For further information, please contact:

Dr Jodi Nelson-Tabor | Head of Final Pixel Academy

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