UT Teams Up With Virtual Production Studio To Add A New L.E.D Screen Set

By Ronan McEvoy

The University of Tampa will be adding a new L.E.D Screen Studio to the Cass Building with the help of Diamond View Studios. UT plans to open this studio either later in the Fall semester or at the start of the Spring semester. 

An L.E.D Screen Studio is a studio that uses virtual sets rather than green screens or built sets. While filming, the background of each set moves along with the camera to make it seem as if the scene was filmed on location rather than in a studio.  

The idea for this brand-new studio was proposed to Diamond View Studios by Gregg Perkins, a film and media professor at UT. 

“It’s going to be a complete transformation”, said Perkins. “It’s going to transform I think a program that is terrific and benefits all majors… we’re definitely on par with some of the best schools in the country because of the new technology coming in.”

Instead of effects being added to content during post production, the new software that will be added allows sets to be interactive with the actors on screen. The L.E.D screens also help with lighting scenes as the lights of these L.E.D screens create realistic colors and reflections, making these scenes look even more realistic. 

Famous TV shows and movies like The Lion King, Ripple Effect, and The Mandalorian have used virtual sets for their production.

Not only can film students use the new studio, but animation majors, game designers, and other students in the department of film, animation, and new media will be able to complete projects with it as well.

These students can use the new addition of Unreal Engine, a game engine with creator tools that can create game development, realistic animation, or filming backgrounds.

“It opens up a lot more creativity,” said Sean DeFlora, junior film major. “With this new L.E.D screen students will be able to focus more on story and won’t have limitations when it comes to location and setting.”

According to Christopher Boulton, associate professor of communication, Diamond View Studios is also known to hire students who have gone to the schools where they have given this technology to. 

UT is still working with Diamond View Studios to figure out the construction of the new studio. The light grid in the current Blackbox studio is preventing setting up the 30 foot screen.The exact opening date remains undetermined.

“It’s a huge step forward,” said Boulton. “It is definitely like bleeding edge, state of the art stuff. Now we have a way for our students to learn the technology as it’s hitting the market so the job opportunities will be exponentially explosive.”

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