Confetti students learn about the virtual production behind Star Wars: the Mandalorian

Thursday November 11, 2021

Confetti tutors recently took over 70 students studying film and visual effects at college and degree level to York for Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

ASFF is a celebration of short films from around the world which takes place annually at the beginning of November. This year the event was held both in-person, in the centre of York, and virtually through their online platform. ASFF combines the best of short filmmaking, moving image arts and extended reality (XR) into a lively mix of industry-led masterclasses, networking and social opportunities, as well as focused mentoring and the chance to view the next generation of filmmakers.

Academics from Confetti’s media courses, including level 3 VFX and Animation Course Leader, Jacky Gurr, took 70+ students along to the event on Friday 5th November, where they had the choice of attending a variety of different sessions and screenings throughout the day. Trip organiser, Jacky, regularly organises these field trips as an opportunity for students to gain first-hand insights from industry experts.

Jacky Gurr, said: “This is the third time I have taken Confetti Students to ASFF and it is always brilliant! They always have such an amazing array of Industry Guests, their VFX and Animation ones are especially good which is why I choose this festival over others.

“At Confetti, we create as many opportunities as possible for our students to hear directly from the industry they plan to enter into and to be able to ask questions and be curious! Many of these take place on our campus but this was a great opportunity for the students to get a flavour of events happening in other cities, meet other like-minded students and is a great chance for them to get to know their classmates and Confetti peers better.”

Some of those delivering masterclass sessions included familiar faces Evgenia Golubeva and Julian Foddy, who have both appeared as part of Confetti’s own annual creative industries event, “Confetti Industry Week”. Evgenia Golubeva is an award-winning animation director and screenwriter who has written for the likes of Disney and the BBC, we were privileged to have had Evgenia as a guest speaker at the 2021 Confetti Industry Week. Julian Foddy is a Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Julian was part of Confetti Industry Week’s 2020 line-up where he gave students an insight into the VFX used in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Our students rated Julian Foddy’s masterclass as the standout session. Julian has been working in the VFX industry for over 10 years, having joined ILM’s London studio in 2015. Industrial Light & Magic are a company originally founded by George Lucas, they have been integral to the success of many a film franchise including Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, and of course, Star Wars!

Creator: Lucasfilm Ltd. | Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd. Copyright: ©2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved | Fair Use: Educational Purposes

As part of the masterclass, “Industrial Light & Magic: New Horizons in VFX”, Julian discussed the innovations at the forefront of the VFX industry, including the groundbreaking virtual production behind Star Wars: the Mandalorian. During the making of the second season of the show massive LED walls and gaming engines were used to speed up the creative process and reduce the time needed in post-production. Julian described how these new innovations are transforming cinema and re-imagining the very way we tell stories on-screen. Third year VFX production technology student, Dominika Ochenkowska, particularly took a lot away from Aesthetica Short Film Festival, she said:

“Every second of these talks was engaging and very inspiring. The last one, with Julian Foddy (VFX supervisor at ILM) was my favourite as he gave us a lot of insights into the virtual production (VP) behind the Mandalorian. It was amazing to see how particular scenes were made and to see the VP solutions and innovations in use. He showed us some animations outlining what the VP set looked like as well as VFX breakdowns to make it easier to understand. It is also directly related to my upcoming assignment so I got a great deal of resources and information I can work with.

“I also appreciate that after every talk there was time for Q&A. I had an opportunity to stay for a bit after the talk with Steve Jelley and Ed Thomas (Virtual Productions: New Horizons in Storytelling) to ask some further questions and get valuable tips on the technology and techniques I’m interested in.

“I like how the trip was organised and that we had some free time to explore the city.”

Dominika Ochenkowska

Are you interested in studying filmmaking and VFX, and getting hands-on work experience as part of your studies? Book onto an open day to find out more about all the opportunities on offer here at Confetti.

Creator: Lucasfilm Ltd. | Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd. | Copyright: © 2018 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. | Fair Use: Educational Purposes