VFS Ups the Magic
By Roberta McDonald – West Coast Editor
(May 29, 2017 – Vancouver, BC) Known for its immersive and fast paced education model, the Vancouver Film School (VFS) has amped up their game with the launch of a massive performance capture studio at their downtown campus.
At the official launch event on May 18, the 32,000 square foot facility was buzzing with industry professionals, sipping champagne and admiring the technology. Fifty four cameras were mounted in the volume (a room custom designed for performance motion capture) each strategically placed to capture the movements of actors in specialized suits. Once the information is gathered, the images can be placed in any landscape, from futuristic space ships, to remote jungles. The space has been custom designed to film a wide range of movements for film, commercials, animation, and games.
In the sprawling labyrinth underneath Gastown, the new VFS motion capture facility was built in preexisting space. A former pirate ship used by students for any number of fantasy films has been adapted as the viewing area where monitors allow the editors to view the capture in real time.
Used in such famed productions as the Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes, the demand for this kind of technology is high and VFS is aiming to provide access to the best in the field so students will have specialized curriculum that will give them an edge in a highly competitive industry. Described as “an important step in the development of an elite performance capture community in Vancouver,” the space is booked into 2018 amid one of the busiest times in screen-based entertainment.
Partnering with startup Mimic Performance Capture, the new facility will be overseen by Graham Qually, a veteran of motion capture. He helped Ubisoft build their motion capture studio in Toronto and worked for Rainmaker Entertainment. Their mandate is to become the world’s leading motion capture studio. There are two currently two other studios operating in Vancouver and both are booked to capacity.
“We’re excited to be collaborating with VFS, the school produces the highest caliber of graduates and we’re looking forward to helping shape these future industry leaders,” said Qually.
Based in Vancouver, Roberta McDonald is West Coast Editor for Northernstars.ca. She is a best selling writer, arts journalist and photographer. She has profiled extraordinary filmmakers, including Ang Lee and Sturla Gunnerson. Her short film The Spiral was released in 2014 and she is currently writing her first feature screenplay.