Sheridan College, one of the world’s leading post-secondary institutions focused on digital media storytelling, has announced a partnership with Ubisoft at the opening of Ubisoft Toronto’s state of the art performance capture studio. Sheridan and Ubisoft have agreed to work together in defining joint research projects that will foster development of virtual production and performance capture techniques in Ontario and worldwide.
Virtual production involves a variety of tools and processes that are enabling major filmmakers such as James Cameron (Avatar) and Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings), and game professionals to interactively collaborate with actors, cinematographers and other production personnel at all stages of the production process. Performance capture, virtual cinematography, and motion capture in general are central to virtual production. These processes are merging technologies and practices employed in film, television, and gaming, allowing directors and others to immerse themselves in the storytelling process in order to create more compelling entertainment.
“Ubisoft is one of the global industry leaders in development and application of these processes,” said Jeff Zabudsky, President of Sheridan College. “Given our academic expertise in digital media storytelling, this was seen by both organizations as a unique opportunity to collaborate and establish a global centre of excellence for research, curriculum and training in interactive storytelling using virtual production practices.”
Both Sheridan and Ubisoft are dedicated to global innovation in performance capture and virtual production, developing and applying new technologies, while ensuring that the current and next generation of industry professionals are at the forefront of interactive storytelling. Ubisoft Toronto will also work with Sheridan to maintain its leading edge curriculum in its Bachelor of Game Design and Graduate Certificate in Game Level Design programs, as well as across the board for programs in film, television, and animation that will benefit from performance capture and virtual production practices.
Sheridan’s SIRT Centre, located at Pinewood Toronto Studios, supports development of the digital media industry in Ontario and Canada. In a short period of time SIRT has garnered an international reputation for its technology development and training work in the virtual production area, including the world’s first Previsualization and Virtual Production Conference at Pinewood in 2011. Through funding from the Ontario Media Development Corporation and support from Ubisoft, SIRT is currently partnering with ACTRA – Toronto on the development and delivery of practical performance capture workshops that will enhance the skill set of Ontario’s film, television and theatre acting professionals. In addition, professionals from behind the camera including cinematographers, directors and producers are being engaged in performance capture and virtual production workshops.
Formation of this partnership coincides with Ubisoft announcing the launch of its world-class performance capture studio in Toronto, a facility that will support the creation of high-quality content for games. Uniting expertise from the film and game industries, the performance capture studio will help Ubisoft create deeper characters, more immersive storytelling and more filmic, actor-driven games.
This unique collaboration between two global academic and industry leaders in digital media, fostered and supported by government, will help position Ontario as a leading innovator in the development and adoption of new virtual production practices that are expected to become key to the future of interactive storytelling throughout the game, film, and television industries.