The UK needs to rapidly train and invest in virtual production skills if it is to capitalise on the technology, according to a report from the StoryFutures Academy: The National Centre for Immersive Storytelling.

The report said that whilst current costs were high, virtual production would be normalised and correspondingly cheaper within five years. However, ‘hands-on’ experience is still low and the appetite for training far outstrips demand.

Virtual Production

Virtual Production report calls to upskill, train and invest in creatives in the UK

The report provides a map of the virtual production skills needed across the film and TV industry.

The report also identified many gaps and pain points in the workflows and pipelines of production/ postproduction talent in the UK, revealing significant skills shortages that would benefit from immediate and direct action such as:

• On-the-job training: professional placements, CPD training and extension of VFX-Houses successful Academies schemes.

• Improving on-set understandings of roles, responsibilities and communication between departments: CPD test shoots de-risk the learning process.

• Lack of common language: creating an open source ontology and a ‘Play Book’ of common VP concepts.

Professor James Bennett, director of StoryFutures and co-director of StoryFutures Academy commented: “Virtual Production is a game-changing set of technologies and production methods for film, television, games and live performance that will radically shift how we make these content forms and the content audiences will experience.”

Bennett added: “The UK can lead the way on this global innovation opportunity if we rapidly upskill, train and invest in the R&D capability of the amazing creatives working across our industries. This report points the way forward to grab the Virtual Production opportunity and ensure the UK is at the forefront of innovation and creative industries success.”

Julie Peng, director of production and talent strategy ILMxLAB added: “Unreal is definitely an area where there’s a talent shortage, and technical artists for us is the most challenging position to fill. The talent base is growing exponentially which is fantastic. There have been open positions with us at ILMxLAB, and these are R&D roles for VP, that have been open for literally months and months. These positions require specialist high-end scientists and engineers who are interested in melding different mindsets, and it is an interesting skills gap that will be there for a while.”

To read the report, click here.

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