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Chad Lewis, Director of Technology for Tampa Preparatory School in Florida on using VR in multimedia.

Many people are talking about virtual reality and its effectiveness in classrooms but few are doing it. Chad Lewis, Director of Technology for Tampa Preparatory School in Florida is one of them. Chad recently presented his steps for planning and creating the school’s virtual filmmaking program at the FETC show In Orlando. In this conversation, he goes into detail on his first-hand experiences in this process, including purchasing technologies and creating a curriculum utilizing Unreal Engine, Rokoko motion capture suits, and HTV Vive Mars trackers.

His program aims to democratize filmmaking skills, bridging the gap for students in both independent and public schools. Chad also envisions AI advancements in motion capture and scene creation, anticipating a future where AI streamlines 3D modeling and scene development, making filmmaking more accessible and diverse. Have a listen:

Key Talking Points:

  • Background and Inspiration:
    • Chad introduces the virtual production initiative, which originated from a conversation with a new film instructor interested in integrating virtual reality development into filmmaking.
    • The shift to virtual production was sparked by the realization of cross-curricular potential and the alignment of tools such as Unreal Engine.
  • Virtual Production Overview:
    • Chad explains the transition from traditional post-production methods to virtual production, emphasizing the real-time filming of scenes without extensive post-processing.
    • Unreal Engine becomes a pivotal tool for both virtual reality development and virtual production, providing a unified skill set for students.
  • Cost-Effective Setup:
    • Chad describes the cost-effective approach to virtual production, using projectors, snorkel lenses, and motion capture suits for a comprehensive setup under $12,000.
    • He highlights the affordability and accessibility compared to the traditional multi-million dollar LED walls used in virtual production.
  • Cross-Curricular Collaboration:
    • Chad discusses the integration of virtual production into the school’s curriculum, involving STEM students in Unreal Engine aspects and film students in the filmmaking aspects.
    • He highlights a recent collaborative project involving film, STEM, and dance students using motion capture suits and 3D scanning.
  • Accessible Learning Tools:
    • Recommends the use of Scene Forge as a beginner-friendly application for virtual production, emphasizing its simplicity compared to Unreal Engine.
    • Discusses the decreasing cost and increased accessibility of motion capture technology, citing Sony’s Mocap product as a cost-effective alternative.
  • Future Hopes and Trends:
    • Chad envisions a future where AI revolutionizes motion capture by eliminating the need for sensors, making the process more intuitive and accessible.
    • He foresees AI-driven advancements in 3D modeling and scene creation, reducing the learning curve and democratizing filmmaking further.
  • Democratization of Filmmaking:
    • Chad expresses excitement about the democratization of filmmaking tools, allowing individuals and small groups to create high-quality content without extensive resources.
    • He eflects on the evolving landscape, where AI accelerates the creative process, making filmmaking tools and skills more widely available.

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