CG Spectrum recently partnered with Warner Bros. Discovery Access to provide training for the Virtual Production Assistant Program: a 10-week paid placement providing skilled talent from underrepresented backgrounds a hands-on opportunity to help pioneer Warner Bros. Discovery's growing world of virtual production.
The three program participants, Ashkan Dabbagh, Relle Zimmermann, and Simran Matharu, got to work alongside industry pros on a custom LED volume for HBO's House of the Dragon!
The WBD Access Virtual Production Stage Assistants
Through collaborations with ScreenSkills and the National Film & Television School, specialized candidates were recruited based on their foundational skills in VFX, Unreal Engine, and virtual and/or physical production for this first-of-its-kind program.
The on-site component was complemented by 5 weeks of online virtual production training through CG Spectrum led by filmmaker and virtual production expert Deepak Chetty and real-time 3D artist William Faucher.
Ashkan, Relle, and Simran gained invaluable experience and made significant industry connections, as they were exposed to and involved in an exciting and innovative moment in content creation history.
It was incredible to learn and work with some of the best in the industry at the LED Volume. I am extremely grateful for this groundbreaking opportunity! -Simran Matharu
House of the Dragon LED volume at WB Studios Leavesden (Image: Warner Bros.)
"Our goal with this program was to provide participants with a 360-degree experience," says Vanessa Pfeiffer, Director, Access Programs, Equity + Inclusion, Warner Bros. Discovery.
"This included practical, hands-on training - as they shadowed best-in-class VP professionals preparing a custom LED volume for House of the Dragon - paired with a comprehensive online learning component provided by CG Spectrum."
CGS were an invaluable partner, delivering world class training in Unreal Engine for Virtual Production, led by renowned VP specialist and filmmaker Deepak Chetty. We couldn't have asked for a better outcome and were grateful to work with CGS on this industry leading initiative. -Vanessa Pfeiffer, Director, Access Programs, Warner Bros. Discovery
The program participants used their CG Spectrum training to assist virtual production professionals working on House of the Dragon at the newly-built state-of-the-art V Stage at WB Studios Leavesden (UK).
WB Studios Leavesden (Image: Warner Bros.)
"It was a pleasure to be part of this program and have a chance to work with and learn from top industry leaders in this field in such an exciting and innovative time for the creative industry!" said Ashkan about his experience.
I had a such lovely time at CG Spectrum, very grateful to have this invaluable opportunity.-Ashkan Dabbagh
"The CG Spectrum training solidified my skills using Unreal Engine," said Simran. "Having used it briefly before, and feeling overwhelmed by how big the range is of what you can do using the engine, the training taught me the areas I would need for virtual production very well."
Vice President of Virtual Production at Warner Bros. Discovery, Ryan Beagan said the three became critical members of the team that built V Stage: "They started their placement while equipment was still arriving and being assembled and became hands-on members of the build."
Their enthusiasm was infectious and reminded everyone how valuable spending a bit of time showing someone else how your job is done can be. -Ryan Beagan, VP, Virtual Production at Warner Bros. Discovery
WBD Access, in partnership with HBO's House of the Dragon and industry partners ScreenSkills and the National Film & Television School, has launched multiple pipeline initiatives and training programs for emerging talent in both above and below-the-line roles.
Through best-in-class talent development programs, mentorship, placement opportunities, and industry exposure, Warner Bros. Discovery Access serves as a powerful conduit connecting underrepresented talent to our content and brands.
CG Spectrum is proud to support this excellent initiative by Warner Bros. Discovery Access.
It really does empower young filmmakers, and has given me the chance to get my foot in an amazing door in this industry. -Simran Matharu
Want to work in virtual production on shows like House of the Dragon? Learn more about future WBD Access programs, or explore CG Spectrum's virtual production courses which offer personalized mentorship from industry-experienced mentors (like Deepak and William). Learn real-time essentials using Unreal Engine that help prepare you to work as a real-time artist on a stage volume. New intakes every month!