Extended Reality is coming to MTSU Fall 2022!

MTSU is proud to announce the installation of a full XR stage for student instruction starting with Fall 2022 classes.

Virtual production on XR stages has rapidly become a dominant new technique for the creation of film and video. Recent examples shot largely on XR stages include Dune and The Mandalorian. This amazing new technology will give students opportunities to enter the workforce with rare skills that can lead to career leadership in this new approach of media production.

The video below shows how MTSU students and faculty worked together to produce the MTSU XR Teaser Spot above. Thanks to Monolith Studios for the use of their studio and their support and advice for MTSU’s new XR stage. 

Behind the Scenes at the MTSU Teaser Shoot

What are XR and Virtual Production?

XR or Extended Reality is a new type of film and video production stage that uses high resolution video screens as virtual backgrounds behind the actors and other foreground elements. The visual effect is further enhanced by the use of Unreal Engine software that causes the background to change appropriately as the camera moves – just like in a video game. As a matter of fact, many top video games use this same software. Virtual Production is what a film or video crew does with an XR stage. The end results appear spectacularly realistic to the camera. It happens where film and video production intersect with animation. This major new production technique is now possible because of the evolution of certain technical components – and it is here to stay.

There are several great videos online that show how virtual production works. The Virtual Production of season 2 of The Mandalorian on YouTube is one of the best examples

Why MTSU Media Arts? 

MTSU’s Media Arts Department has been teaching video and film production for 50 years, teaching Animation for 20 years, and teaching LED wall content and production for eight years. When XR stages and Virtual Production proved to be the next big thing, MTSU’s Media Arts Department found itself to be uniquely qualified to become one of the first universities to incorporate them into its curriculum.

LED wall display by MTSU Media Arts during the performance of Joseph and the Technicolored DreamcoatLED wall design, installation, and content has been taught in MTSU’s Media Arts Department since 2014. The LED wall set for MTSU Theatre Department’s 2018 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat was one of approximately fifty LED wall projects built by Media Arts students to date. Dozens of recent graduates have used their LED experience to launch industry careers.

Fall 2022 Classes in Virtual Production

Faculty in MTSU’s Media Arts Department have been busy preparing an initial set of Virtual Production classes that will start in the Fall 22 semester, and more are being planned for future semesters. Animation, Filmmaking, Live Production, and Motion Design programs will be the first programs that make use of this new technique.  

Technical Summary of MTSU’s XR stage

The technology behind XR is the most critical piece of the puzzle for creating a XR Stage. Research and planning for our project began in February 2021, but with the constant evolution of the latest technology changing on almost a daily basis, the project has evolved significantly from our original concept. Click here for a summary of the technical equipment we have chosen for MTSU’s XR Project. 

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