Virtual Production in Education - how SCAD is Changing the Future of Thousands of Students

In this blog post, we’re taking a look at the past two years to see how the Savannah College of Art & Design is utilizing their virtual production stages to educate the future of media and entertainment professionals.

Photo: SCAD

Photo: SCAD

In the realm of virtual production, one educational institution stands out: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). With its visionary approach, SCAD is at the forefront of reshaping the future for aspiring artists and filmmakers. By embracing the possibilities of virtual production, SCAD empowers its students to unleash their creativity, explore new frontiers, and push the boundaries of artistic expression.

It has been two years since SCAD opened its first LED volume/virtual production stage as part of their landmark 11-acre expansion project of Savannah Film Studios and one year since the grand opening of their second LED volume in Atlanta

In this blog post, we’re taking a look at the past two years to see how SCAD is utilizing the virtual production stages to educate the future of media and entertainment professionals. 

About SCAD:

SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degree programs across locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and online via SCADnow. SCAD enrolls more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 120 countries. The future-minded SCAD curriculum engages professional-level technology and myriad advanced learning resources, affording students opportunities for internships, professional certifications, and real-world assignments with corporate partners through SCADpro, the university’s renowned research lab and prototype generator.

SCAD is No. 1 in the U.S., according to Art & Object’s 2023 Best Art Schools ranking, with additional top rankings for degree programs in interior design, architecture, film, fashion, digital media, and more. Career success is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate. A 2023 study found that 99% of SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education, or both within 10 months of graduation. SCAD provides students and alumni with ongoing career support through personal coaching, alumni programs, a professional presentation studio, and more. Visit


SCAD’s Innovative Virtual Production Stage Expansion

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has always been at the forefront of providing its creative students with the best possible education. Recognizing the significance of virtual production technologies in shaping the future of design and film production, SCAD decided to include an LED volume in their ambitious 11-acre expansion project for the Savannah Film Studios in 2021. 

In collaboration with SCAD, our alumni-driven and founded team was entrusted with the workflow integration, onsite installation and commissioning, using the disguise xR workflow and DeNyse LED solutions. Our virtual production stage build team trained the faculty on-site and provided useful documentation on the stage. 

LED volumes at both SCAD locations are a technological marvel, comprising a 60 x 16 ft curved LED wall coupled with a 38 x 20 ft LED ceiling. This state-of-the-art setup incorporates a stYpe RedSpy camera tracking system to ensure high-quality visuals and seamless production workflows. The heart of the studio is powered by disguise xR technology, operating on advanced disguise vx 4 and rx II servers. This facility is specifically designed to immerse collegiate students in professional workflows, ensuring that the skills they acquire at SCAD can be directly applied in real-world scenarios. 

Bringing virtual production into the students' curriculum: 

SCAD has firmly positioned itself at the forefront of leveraging cutting-edge virtual production technology to enrich its film and television courses. 

"Everything we do here at SCAD should mirror exactly how the industry works, this way our students transition from classroom to studio set is as seamless as possible.  Our students' advanced knowledge sets them up to more quickly move from junior artist, to artist, then to senior artist and to lead more quickly than students from most traditional schools,” says Jud Este, Associate Dean of the Schools of Animation and Motion, Film and Acting, and Creative Technology at SCAD

SCAD offers several courses as part of their curriculum to make sure students receive hands-on training that can be applied to real-world scenarios. Currently, these courses are offered year-round, with over 100 students enrolled each quarter across the four concentrations. Every SCAD student in the relevant degree programs will have the opportunity to take this course during their time at SCAD.

Photo: SCAD

Virtual Production Course Content Overview

SCAD offers a range of specialized courses designed to provide students with practical insights and skills in various aspects of film production. Taught by experienced faculty members, these courses cover a wide spectrum of roles within the film industry. This collaboration is bringing together film directors, game designers, immersive reality creators, production designers,and actors to make films, commercials, music videos, you name it, using cutting-edge technology.

Here are the courses SCAD offers using their LED volume as of Fall 2023:

SFLM 560 -Film and television. Professor Joerg Schodl teaches two classes that focus on world creation in Unreal Engine, as well as "poor man's process" production in the LED volume.  Students learn to build interiors and exteriors in the engine and then collaborate with production designers who build physical foreground sets to blend the virtual art direction with the physical art direction.  Both classes culminate in the students producing short film exercises on the stage.

SFLM 560 - Production Office, taught by Associate Chair of Film and Television Quinn Orear, immerses students in key logistical roles for the film production process. Students take on various positions such as directors, assistant directors, producers, production coordinators, casting directors, and marketing personnel, ensuring the smooth preparation of the respective films.

Under the guidance of Associate Chair of Interactive Design and Game Development Eric Allen, SFLM 560 - Digital Artists equips students with the skills to create, refine, and optimize virtual assets for the captivating digital fantasy worlds that will come to life within the LED volume.

Led by professor of film and television Stephen Lucas, SFLM 560 - Cinematographers empowers students to excel as directors of photography, gaffers, grips, camera assistants, and digital imaging technicians. They learn to implement lighting best practices, craft visually stunning aesthetics for each film, and efficiently manage media workflows.

SFLM 560 - Art Department, guided by Savannah-based professor and chair of production design Lisa Ryan, allows students to step into the shoes of production designers, propmasters, art directors, and costume designers. With their creative talents, they breathe life into the practical worlds of fantasy films, ensuring every detail aligns with the overall vision.

Through these comprehensive sections, students gain hands-on experience in a variety of vital roles, fostering collaboration and honing their skills while preparing to contribute to the success of the overall virtual production.


Photo: SCAD

Photo: SCAD

How has it helped students with learning and development?

The addition of these two trailblazing LED volumes is an investment into the future of SCAD students and reinforces the university’s contributions to the billion-dollar film and television industry in Georgia.

SCAD students studying from programs in the SCAD School of Animation and Motion and School of Film and Acting will be among the first in the world actively working and collaborating with LED volumes, taking the capabilities of film production and storytelling to new heights. Several Fortune 500 companies, luxury brands, and entertainment industries have partnered with the university’s innovative SCADpro program in which students have created content for Epic Games, David Yurman, WWE, and others. SCADpro is a collaborative design studio that connects current and future art and design professionals with business leaders to find creative and inventive solutions to real-world challenges.

Students have also created exceptional work on both stages that have been showcased at the annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival,  the world's largest university-run film festival. 

"I initially chose to attend SCAD because I knew that even if the future was uncertain, this university would give me the skills I need to join the workforce of my choosing. The opening of the LED volume provided something even better: the ability to forge a new career trajectory for myself and incoming SCAD students, on both the Savannah and Atlanta campuses," said Maura Hayes, LED Volume Technician (B.F.A. Immersive Realities, 2022).  "I’ve recently graduated and been in the workforce for a year now, but I am so grateful to be one of the few that have trained on this technology, especially in a university setting."

Celebrating Two Years of Innovation and Success

As we commemorate the one-year anniversary of the LED volume  at SCAD  Atlanta and the two-year anniversary of the LED volume in Savannah, it's evident that this state-of-the-art facility has significantly transformed the educational landscape for design and film production students. This cutting-edge platform has not only enriched the learning experience but also revolutionized the way students approach their projects.

Over the past years, the LED volume  has seamlessly integrated into SCAD's comprehensive curriculum, becoming a crucial component in fostering an immersive and practical learning environment. Students have had the opportunity to work hands-on with the technology, gaining in-depth understanding and expertise in creating virtual environments, manipulating digital assets, and managing virtual productions. Faculty members have also echoed the sentiments, lauding the impact of the LED volume  on their teaching methodologies and students' engagement levels.

“The cornerstone of any creative production or innovative design is collaboration. So our superpower is the recognition that everybody collaborates in order to make films, launch new ideas, or design new productions,” said Dean of the School of Film and Acting Andra Reeve-Rabb.  “At SCAD we are always reaching across the aisle to collaborate with our other degree programs. This is an incredibly unique moment because we have all of it here!”

Beyond its immediate use, the success of the LED volume underscores the growing significance of immersive technology in shaping the future of the creative industries. It serves as a testament to SCAD's commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements in arts education and the immense potential of virtual production technologies in film & television productions and entertainment.

Photo: SCAD

Future Plans - Beyond 2 years 

SCAD is making a significant investment in the future of its School of Film and Acting, School of Animation and Motion, and School of Creative Technology students.  The expanded Savannah Film Studios is now the largest and most comprehensive university film studio complex in the nation. The 11-acre backlot is being constructed in three phases, phase one opened in September 2023 and includes streetscape scenes from Savannah’s iconic historic district, cafe, barber shop, a grand historic bank, hospital emergency room, and much more.  Phase two, opening in Fall 2024, will consist of an urban scene with New York brownstones, a city alley, and a gas station.  Phase three will include a suburban backdrop complete with a town hall, church, homes, and a police station.  SCAD worked with production designer Paul Wonsek who built sets for Tyler Perry Studios from 2012-19 to design SCAD’s backlot.  Students will be able to create and use the multi-environment backlot to create industry-ready projects. 

SCAD faculty are currently looking to scale up production at both volumes and expand into areas like live event projection and themed entertainment design. 


As virtual production continues to revolutionize the field of production, SCAD  stands out as an exemplary model for educational institutions seeking to incorporate this cutting-edge technology into their curricula. By embracing a forward-thinking approach, SCAD has effectively empowered its students with extensive expertise and proficiency in leveraging virtual production technology. 

With a team that is heavily made up of SCAD graduates, our team at Meptik is excited to support the next generation of virtual production specialists who will be able to trailblaze the way stories are told with the use of cutting-edge technology.

Chat with our virtual production stage build experts if you’re interested in setting up your own content production powerhouse. 

SCAD stage

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