ILM x Pinewood Studios, the magic behind VFX

  • University of Sussex
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of the Arts London – Elephant and Castle

In an Industrial Light & Magic Masterclass hosted by Pinewood Studios, Film&Media Club members from the University of Sussex, University of Wolverhampton, and University of the Arts London, Elephant and Castle, explored the magic behind VFX. 

The Masterclass started with a discussion around the opportunities within the VFX industry, from possible career paths to how ideas and projects are actualised. Split into two groups, Club members alternated between a tour of Pinewood Studios and the first activity. During the paper-based design challenge, Club members recreated film stills using drawing or collage, considering layering and compositing to create the illusion of a complete scene. 

On the tour, Club members learned about the history of Pinewood Studios, including its previous life as a Victorian estate and how, for over eighty-five years, Pinewood has been a creative hub for storytellers. Walking down the Old Hallway, lined with behind-the-scenes photos, Club members were reminded of the films and people that have visited the studios over the years, including the stars of post-war classics like Great Expectations and Oliver Twist, and recent Marvel and Disney movies. 

On their exclusive tour, Club members visited one of Europe’s largest exterior underwater filming tanks and state-of-the-art sound, TV and film studios including the fully dressed stage of the BBC sitcom ‘Not Going Out’. 

Towards the end of the Masterclass, Club members were able to get up close and personal to an Oscar statuette and BAFTA trophy mask – setting their sights for the future – before revisiting their composited film still images, for a shared discussion around the industry, their creations, and the art of VFX. 

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