AUSTRALIAN VFX company Rising Sun Pictures has plenty to celebrate with more than 100 feature film credits to their name including five Harry Potter films and the latest installment in the X-Men series, but on the eve of their 21st birthday the Academy Award® nominated company is looking pass on some of their success to the next wave of filmmakers.
Partnering with the University of South Australia, Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) has developed a 12-week intensive course designed to give students the technical skills and experience required to land their first job in the visual effects industry.
"You don’t have to be in Hollywood to make your mark internationally." UniSA vice chancellor professor David Lloyd
"It is a very fluid industry and it is very hard for educators to remain current," said RSP's co-founder and managing director Wayne Lewis.
"So our collaboration with the university is to work with them to help people bridge the gap between training and working, and to deliver a course that has really strong value to the students," he said.
With their first intake slated for January 2016, students of the new Graduate Certificate in Visual Effects will be trained in software programs including Nuke, 3DEqualizer, Maya and Shotgun and can expect to work on scenes from RSP's past projects including the Quicksilver Kitchen sequence (from X-Men: Days of Future Past and scenes from Gatsby’s mansion (The Great Gatsby).
"What this does is it allows the students to see how these tools are used not in a theoretical manner but in an actual manner, as they were used on actual projects," said Lewis. “The students will also see things like production management, which can be seen as the more dry part of what we do, but is the organisational side of getting large numbers of people to collaborate using that software."
The course will have three intakes each year starting in January, April and September, and is open to anyone who has completed a bachelor degree or acceptable advanced diplomas.
“Businesses such as RSP prove that you don’t have to be in Hollywood to make your mark internationally," said UniSA vice chancellor, professor David Lloyd of the first step in a developing relationship.
“I’m excited for our students, who will get the chance to work alongside true industry leaders, developing a skills set that will be much in demand by film and digital production employers globally,” he said.
Lewis said the new course already had the nod of approval from other VFX companies around Australia.
Earlier this month RSP held an industry event for future students to meet some of the biggest names in the industry, including Animal Logic and Iloura as well as major international studio Framestore.
"Their feedback was 'this is a really great initiative, and unique in the world,'" said Lewis.
"And while we aren't going to be able to hire everyone that comes through the place, our goal is to connect them with ourselves but also other companies and to give them outcomes where they have real employment prospects," he said.