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Forging new paths in virtual production: Training the next generation of tech-forward leaders

Newsroom authorby Darryn O'MalleyFeb 1, 2022
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On January 20, Sheridan thought leaders joined WarnerMedia Access Canada’s virtual Creativity X Tech panel for an engaging discussion with industry experts on the future of careers in video effects, gaming, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and virtual production, with a focus on creating opportunities for under-represented talent to help redefine the modern workforce.

Sheridan’s Shenaz Baksh, Screen Industry Specialist with Continuing and Professional Studies, and Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President of Inclusive Communities, were on hand for the final instalment of A Futurespective: Opportunities for You in 2022, the three-day virtual event series from WarnerMedia Access Canada featuring conversation with industry leaders about opportunities for students to carve new career paths.

The event follows the recent announcement that Sheridan and the Virtual Production Innovation Hub (VPIH) at Sheridan’s Screen Industries Research and Training (SIRT) Centre have partnered with WarnerMedia Access Canada to develop a cutting-edge Virtual Production (VP) Micro-Credential program, providing opportunities for individuals from historically underrepresented communities to further their education and build career readiness for jobs in this rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry in Canada.

A person sets up a camera shot in studio while others observe.Expected to launch in spring 2022, this ground-breaking program will include courses such as Introduction to Virtual Production, Personal/Professional Development, Virtual Production Art Direction in Unreal Engine, Motion Capture Technician, and Unreal Engine On-Set Technician.

“Because virtual production is an evolving technology, there is a great need for talent,” explains Baksh. “Virtual production has been advancing rapidly since the onset of the pandemic, and LED walls are an exciting alternative to the green screen. This shift is an integration with – as well as a transformation from – traditional filmmaking processes.”

The program's applied learning portion will be held at Sheridan's SIRT Centre, Stage 10 at Pinewood Toronto Studios. This program is made possible  by sponsorship from founding partner WarnerMedia Access Canada. 

Sheridan is proud to continue its tradition of helping educate the industry’s future leaders through its internationally renowned SIRT Centre which supports innovation in Ontario’s film, television and interactive media cluster through applied research, access to cutting-edge technology and a 10,000-square-foot innovation centre. Through trusted partnerships with key organizations and technology leaders, SIRT facilitates innovations within digital cinema, AR/VR, interactive media, and artificial intelligence.

Group of students setting up a camera shot in a studio.

Offered through Sheridan's Continuing and Professional Studies, this innovative program leverages SIRT’s unique space, expertise, and technology and will build on the reputation of Sheridan, which is rated as one of the top 10 visual effects schools in the world. Aligning with Sheridan’s ongoing commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, the program will elevate, activate and connect Canadian talent from communities that have been historically marginalized with global opportunities and international audiences.

“ Across Sheridan, we're making meaningful strides towards developing an equitable and inclusive community for everyone,” says Dr. Ngobia. "For too long, important members of the community have missed out on unique opportunities to share their stories within the film and television sphere. As a society, collectively, we have legitimacy to be heard and share our lived experiences with one another. It’s time we challenge existing barriers, create clear career pathways, and tap into the unique storytelling of those who are Black, Indigenous and people of colour.”

– Dr. Jane Ngobia, Vice President of Inclusive Communities

Discover the VP Micro-Credential at Sheridan and sign up for news about the program launch.

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