New Centre of Digital Production Set to Change Future of Theatre

"Society is moving into the fourth industrial revolution, what many call Industry 4.0. We are in an age of artificial intelligence, drones, big data, electric vehicles and virtual reality.” James Simpson Head of Centre for Digital Production, Rose Bruford College

THE ISSUE Rose Bruford College in Greater London, wanted to future-proof their students’ experiences through virtual reality, motion capture and mixed reality. They envisaged a £3.5 million state-of-the-art Centre of Digital Production to develop a hub for digital theatre practice which would help bridge the skills gap and train the change makers of the industry. The college had a space earmarked for the new Centre for Digital Production in which they would create a multi-use space for traditional full body motion capture, but also from the theatrical perspective it required tracking for lighting purposes and virtual camera systems.

THE SOLUTION Target3D worked with Rose Bruford College, helping them with how best to design a system that would be suitable not just from an educational perspective, but specifically for the needs of theatre and performing arts.


Robert Jeffries, Target3D Director, was an advisor during the consultation for two new courses the centre would initially support - a BA (Hons) in Virtual Theatre and Digital Experiences and a BA (Hons) in Digital Content Design for Theatre and Live Events. He explains;

“Our working relationship with Rose Bruford College is really exciting and unique. The college didn’t simply want us to install motion capture technology in their space and hand it over, they were keen for us to be embedded with them, in terms of outreach and working continuously with them. This gives us the ability to give back, through taking on placement students for example and through guest lecturing. The potential for how we will continue to work together and help influence an industry that is actively changing is huge.”


The design of the physical space took some consideration, even down to the camera specs. OptiTrack Prime17W’s seemed ideal but the expense would mean less of them versus Prime13’s. At just the right time, the PrimeX13 came to market. Installing 16 cameras gave the capacity to track more distance, for 2 or 3 performers, making them the right choice for the 12mx10m space.


Alongside the stage, suits and markers, Target3D installed a virtual camera system enabling pre-viz. It was important to the college to integrate all their systems to Unreal so not only can the performance be seen in realtime but it helps the performers embody their digital characters.


The very first students on the brand new Digital Production courses began their work in the newly created centre this year. As the partnership between Target3D and the college evolves, we’ll bring you more footage of the space, what’s being created and how it’s helping to shape the future of theatre and live events.


THE FEEDBACK

‘Being able to offer our students this amazing space to learn and explore their creativity in, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many students were unable to experience face to face teaching, has meant the world to us. We feel incredibly lucky to have these studios on campus and are really proud of our relationship with Target3D.’ Enrique Munoz Jimenez, Lecturer in Visual Productions.

For motion capture and virtual production consultancy and advice, get in touch with Target3D.