Governor Edwards broadcasts that LSU has been awarded an Leisure Employees Scholarship for modern packages in new media manufacturing
A proposed higher education program to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Louisiana residents in the entertainment industry is the latest recipient of a grant from the new Louisiana Entertainment Development Fund. Louisiana State University is receiving $ 1.25 million over five years to develop its Virtual Production & Emerging Media Filmmaking program, which will be housed on LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge.
The program aims to provide a specialized curriculum focused on content creation and talent development to encourage and support the recruitment of Louisiana residents in the state’s entertainment industry. The merit-based scholarship, administered by Louisiana Economic Development, is awarded to LSU in five annual installments of $ 250,000 to cover teaching equipment, faculty and administrative costs.
“Our Entertainment Development Fund aims to prepare Louisiana residents for the wide range of quality jobs that the entertainment industry is creating in our state,” said Governor John Bel Edwards. “I am delighted that our flagship university is participating in this project and planning an innovative new course in production and filmmaking for new media. The fund was created with a view to personnel development and training, and LSU will support both with this exciting program. “
The new LSU program will combine and build on existing programs in seven colleges, centers and schools: Digital Art (LSU School of Art); Film & Television and Experimental Music & Digital Media (LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts); Screen Arts (LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences); Digital Media Arts & Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (LSU College of Engineering); and the LSU Center for Computation & Technology.
The effort will help secure the state’s position in a rapidly changing motion picture and television industry where motion pictures increasingly rely on photo-realistic backdrops and special effects game technologies. Over 300 students at the same time will be able to train themselves with new cinematic techniques on projects in the border area of virtual and augmented reality and to work together in novel ways, regardless of whether they are interested in game technology, visual effects, filmmaking, animation, Art, music, performance, script, engineering or computer science.
In the coming months, LSU will build a state-of-the-art virtual production stage or an XR studio in its Digital Media Center, which also houses the University’s Center for Computation & Technology and EA Baton Rouge. The XR-Studio will have a full-fledged LED wall, photogrammetry, motion capture and motion control to create virtual sets, performances and cinematography for virtual production training and curriculum development.
“The new studio will put LSU at the forefront of real-time filmmaking and strengthen the work of our students for years to come,” said Marc Aubanel, director of the LSU Digital Media Arts & Engineering program. “The program will bring more digital art jobs to the state of Louisiana, including modelers, level designers, animators, lighters, and CG supervisors.”
“By building an XR studio that plays with the convergence of virtual, mixed and augmented reality, we can create bespoke experiences that immerse its builders, participants and viewers,” said Derick Ostrenko, director of digital art at LSU School of Art with a joint appointment in the LSU Center for Computation & Technology. “The use of real-time technology for compositing, visualization and post-production enables faster iteration and improvisation on the set.”
In addition, the LSU participates in the Unreal Academic Partner Program of Epic Games, the developer of the 3D creation platform Unreal Engine. This new partnership gives LSU students access to additional training resources and expanded information on internships and recruitment events.
“We are excited to welcome Louisiana State University as an academic partner, where it will continue to bridge the classroom and industry,” said Julie Lottering, director of Unreal Engine Education at Epic Games. “There are many opportunities for creative people in emerging areas like virtual manufacturing, and this is a great example of how to prepare students for the future.”
The Entertainment Development Fund is a key feature of the Film Incentive Program enhancements signed into law by Governor Edwards in 2017. This is the fourth EDF grant announced since the fund was launched earlier this year.