Virtual Interactive Volume for the Arts (VIVA)

VIVA is a training initiative by the South Georgian Bay Media Association that explores the power of digital video technology in the arts—led by instructor Tom Strnad, the program equips artists, media professionals, and emerging talents with the skills and knowledge needed to leverage virtual production techniques and interactive experiences in their creative endeavours.

Virtual Production Techniques for Artists

In November 2021, the SGBMA developed a six-week workshop series on Virtual Production Techniques for the Arts. Thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council, the workshops provided a unique opportunity for participants to delve into film and video-based virtual production techniques. Artists from diverse backgrounds, including media arts, sculpture, painting, dance, photography, and emerging media arts students, explored projection screens, green screen compositing, LED screen, and LED wall production.

Throughout the workshops, participants gained comprehensive insights into the technical and creative aspects of Virtual Production Techniques. They learned to incorporate engaging technologies into their artistic practices, such as theatrical staged productions and gallery shows with LED interactive components. The workshops fostered a meaningful discourse on leveraging cutting-edge tools in the creative realm and attracting new audiences to arts venues.

The workshops also addressed the importance of digital tools in the future of the arts. As the arts sector experienced setbacks and adapted to the challenges of the pandemic, organizations turned to digital technologies to present live events and in-person shows. For South Georgian Bay, a rural Ontario town with volunteer-based arts organizations and limited financial resources, digital tools offered the potential to reach wider audiences and introduce new presentation methods. The workshops aimed to bridge the knowledge gap, provide accessible training, and remove barriers for artists and arts organizations.

VIVA Accelerator

VIVA Virtual Interactive Volume Accelerator was a 4-week intensive workshop for 30 film and television professionals based in the South Georgian Bay region. It provided hands-on training, knowledge, and demonstrations on the technology used for virtual production techniques with projection screens and LED volumes. The objective was to provide the latest knowledge and training in this new method of production for film and television producers, crew, directors, and post-production personnel who lived and operated businesses in the rural regions of South Georgian Bay. Speakers included Tom Strnad, a film producer participant of the CMPA's STAR training program in Virtual Production in the fall of 2021, as well as guest directors of photography and post-production supervisors who had worked on virtual production sets.

The first three weeks consisted of in-person workshops and presentations in The Blue Mountains, covering topics such as types of LED panels, using Unreal Engine for virtual production, LiDAR scanning for 3D elements, production and post-production pipelines for virtual production, and a small LED panel demo.

During the final week, week 4, the participants went on a chartered bus field trip to the SIRT center located at Pinewood Studios Toronto for an LED volume demonstration. This hands-on learning and technology demo allowed the participants to consider the use of VP in their own productions and to test assets while asking questions to the project managers at SIRT for consideration in upcoming film and television productions.

The VIVA Accelerator was supported by Ontario Creates, Community Futures South Georgian Bay, and the Blue Mountains Public Library.

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