Governor Edwards Announces Grant of Entertainment Workforce to LSU for Innovative New Media Production Program

A proposed higher education program to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Louisiana residents in the entertainment industry is the latest recipient of a grant from the new Louisiana Entertainment Development Fund. Louisiana State University will receive $ 1.25 million over five years to develop its virtual production and emerging media production program, which will be located on LSU’s main campus in Baton Rouge.

The program will aim to provide a specialized curriculum, focused on content creation and talent development, to promote and support the hiring of Louisiana residents in the state’s entertainment industry. The performance-based grant, administered by Louisiana Economic Development, will be awarded to LSU in five annual installments of $ 250,000, to cover instructional equipment, as well as teaching and administrative costs.

“Our Entertainment Development Fund aims to prepare Louisiana residents for the wide range of quality jobs that the entertainment industry is creating in our state,” the governor said. John Bel Edwards. “I am thrilled to see how our flagship university joins this effort, with plans for a new innovative course of study in film production and production for new media. The fund was created with the development and education of the workforce in mind, and LSU will support both of them with this exciting program. ”

The new LSU program will connect and build on existing programs in seven colleges, centers and schools: Digital Art (LSU School of Art); Film and television and experimental music and digital media (LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts); Screen Arts (LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences); Digital media arts and engineering, electrical and computer engineering (LSU College of Engineering); and the LSU Center for Computation & Technology.

The effort will help secure the state’s position in a rapidly changing film and television industry, where motion picture films are increasingly relying on photorealistic gaming technologies to obtain backgrounds and special effects. More than 300 students at a time will be able to train and collaborate in new ways in projects on the frontier of virtual and augmented reality through emerging film techniques, whether they enter the program based on interests in game technology, visual effects , cinema, animation, art, music, performance, script, engineering or computer science.

In the coming months, LSU will build a state-of-the-art virtual production stage, or XR studio, at its Digital Media Center, which also houses the university’s Computer and Technology Center and EA Baton Rouge. The XR studio will have a large-scale LED wall, photogrammetry, motion capture and motion control to create virtual scenarios, performances and cinematography for virtual production education and curriculum development.

“The new studio will place LSU at the forefront of real-time film production and enhance the work of our students over the next few years,” said Marc Aubanel, director of the LSU Digital Media Arts & Engineering program. “The program will open up more positions in digital art for the state of Louisiana, including modelers, tier designers, animators, lighters and CG supervisors.”

“By building an XR studio that interprets the convergence of virtual, mixed, and augmented reality, we can design experiences as they immerse their creators, participants, and viewers,” said Derick Ostrenko, head of digital art at the LSU School of Art by appointment at the LSU Center for Computation & Technology. “The use of real-time technology for composition, visualization and post-production allows for faster iteration and improvisation on set.”

In addition, LSU joins the Unreal Academic Partner program of Epic Games, developer of the Unreal Engine 3D creation platform. Through this new partnership, LSU students will have access to additional training resources and advanced information on internships and recruitment events.

“We are thrilled to welcome Louisiana State University as an academic partner, where it will continue to build the bridge between the classroom and the industry,” said Julie Lottering, director of Unreal Engine Education at Epic Games. “There are many opportunities ahead for creators in emerging fields like virtual production, and this is a great example of how to prepare students for the future.”

The Entertainment Development Fund is a key feature of the film incentive program improvements signed into law by Governor Edwards in 2017. This is the fourth EDF grant announced since the fund was launched in early this year.

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