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What was our Hi3 Network?

A part-funded project, Hi3 helped businesses explore new creative technologies and define the future of moving-image, screen-based and creative technologies through innovative research and development. A network of industry specialists, researchers and businesses connected and collaborated to create new products, services, experiences, and new research at our creative digital hubs in Canterbury, Folkestone, and Maidstone.

Businesses working in creative technologies or interested in applying creative technologies to expand their business benefitted from access to research opportunities and experimental studio space.

What did you get done in your last workshop?

We’re going to guess that you generated some new ideas, maybe discussed some interesting figures and projections, probably drank far too much coffee.

We’re also going to guess you didn’t create a short film, a “homage to Hammer Horror shot in the metaverse”, using ground-breaking technology in a workshop that really emphasised the power of SME and academic collaboration.

In December, Hi3 brought together SMEs with an interest in video production to receive a green screen Virtual Production (VP) workshop from On Set Facilities.

What is Virtual Production?

Virtual Production is a cutting-edge technology that combines the art of filmmaking with the latest advancements in computer graphics, game engines, and real-time visual effects. It allows filmmakers to create virtual environments and characters in real-time, which can be captured on camera and incorporated into live-action footage.

It blurs the lines between what's real and what's computer-generated, enabling filmmakers to create entire worlds as they record. This is unlike previous green screen technologies where everything is post-production, here the director can see the world on the camera and tidy it up in post-production afterwards.

On Set Facilities (OSF) provide VP solutions to studios, stages and spaces. They train people to use, hire out, and build VP sets across the world.


What is the Hi3 Network?

Hi3 provides fully funded access to studios, co-working spaces and networking events for UK SMEs in the future of moving-image, screen-based and creative technologies.

Hi3 is unique to South Bank Innovation’s range of fully funded SME programmes in that it is pan-UK and not based inside London. Facilities are in Canterbury, Maidstone, and Folkestone.

OSF supplied Hi3 with a number of GODBOX virtual production solutions including hardware, software, pipeline training and consultancy support when establishing the studio in Maidstone.

Collaboration in (Camera, Sound,) Action

The workshop, fully funded by Hi3 Network, gave various production SMEs a chance to explore the OSF’s GODBOX Real-Time Pipeline Solution, that integrates an array of technologies to enable real-time 4K on-set Virtual Effects (VFX) visualisation, where shots are rendered and recorded to disk in real-time.

The workshop SMEs collaborated and stepped outside their usual roles, to form the Virtual Production crew. You can watch the short film they produced below:

Remember – everything bar the monk and the props are digitally created and were recorded live on set!

Writer, director, and visual effects pioneer, Asa Bailey, had this to say of the workshop.  

“We took just one highly improvised shoot day to capture the film. We then spent the next day sifting through what we had shot and pulling some kind of story out of it. You can see what we shot in the video above. We hacked the SFX together from stock and royalty free online available SFX. Essentially all the digital assets came from various markets.”

Lance Phillips played the mysterious monk. Not a monk, nor an actor, Lance is actually one of the UK’s top Blackmagic Resolve trainers and stepped up from the workshop attendees. An attendee from Formula 1 took the role of Focus Puller (First Assistant Camera), and a production company founder took on the role of light control (the Gaffer).

What’s next?

Hi3, like all good art, is really about collaboration. Alongside the impressive VP studio, Hi3 Maidstone have installed a gorgeous LED wall.

They are inviting proposals for Virtual Production (LED wall) research collaborations to be held at the Maidstone hub. Research collaborations are projects that take place between academics and businesses (inc. freelancers) for the exploration and development of new products, services, and processes.

All support offered through Hi3 Network is fully funded and they will award a maximum of 10 collaborations.

To join the Hi3 network or collaborate on the LED wall project please complete the form here.

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