Group of students on a product set some in costume and some holding boom mics etc.

North East students showcase skills on blockbuster film production project

A pioneering virtual production project is set to shake-up the traditional approach to digital arts training and education in the North East.

Working in partnership with leading regional technical organisations, Gateshead College has brought together students from film production, scriptwriting, art, gaming, performing arts and music to produce a large-scale unique piece of work.

This initiative gave the students a rare opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology that’s typically reserved for high-budget film productions. They gained hands-on experience with equipment and facilities that are used to make Hollywood blockbuster films.

The college and its students worked in collaboration with Advanced Media Production at PROTO, Gateshead, a partnership between Digital Catapult, Target3D funded by InnovateUK. The final piece was performed in their studios where the students had access to the LED screen and performance- capture technology to deliver their project.

Phil O Neil, Head of Department for Digital Technologies and Games at Gateshead College, said: “We created a very detailed brief where groups of students were set a real-world creative challenge within their specific discipline, be it art, acting, music or games technologies.

“Students were observed and judged from the initial stage and the winners from each area were then selected to work on the final production.

“They got the chance to put into practice a wide range of skills that they’ll need in their day-to-day future job and experience a genuine work setting. The project was highly collaborative, bringing together different disciplines to create a final production.”

Art and design students created the concept, film and TV students developed the script and directed the production, games students created the environments and worked as technicians on the production days. Plus, the college’s performing art students worked as actors, with hair and beauty students doing their make-up and music students created the backing track and sound effects.

Advanced Media Production at Gateshead is one of the first digital production facilities of its kind in Europe and Gateshead College has a well-established relationship. Since 2019, this collaboration has been about connecting education with the evolving tech industry, with a clear focus on creating real-world opportunities for students. It’s about preparing a workforce for the future, fostering local talent, and driving economic growth.

The project highlights Gateshead College’s commitment to preparing students for the job market and providing work-ready skills for the music, gaming, arts and film production industries. This is especially crucial given the rapid growth in these sectors, with the global gaming market alone expected to reach approximately £148 billion by the end of 2023, while the UK film industry contributes around £5.9 billion to the economy each year.

Clare Nicholson, Partnership & Engagement Manager at Advanced Media Production at Gateshead, said: “Our partnership with Gateshead College and latest collaboration is a shining example of how education and the real word tech industry can come together to create something unique.

“By providing students with access to Advanced Media Production’s state-of-the-art facilities and expertise, we’re not only nurturing their creativity but also equipping them with the practical skills necessary in this rapidly evolving industry.

“It’s exciting to see how these young talents utilise our technology in their projects and contribute to the vibrant digital arts scene in the North East and beyond.”

Mohammed Mahali, who is studying Creative Media Production & Technology at the college, said: “The experience was brilliant in terms of teamwork and collaboration and it was great to work with students from different curriculum areas. I really enjoyed it and learnt so much from working on the project.”