RIT and Synapse VP launch immersive LA program training the next generation in cutting-edge virtual production techniques

Sebastian Nazario-Colon

Virtual production allows filmmakers to make movies with actors, lighting, and visual effects all shot live, in-camera using LED walls. At left, Sullivan Slentz ’14 (film and animation) experiments with camera angles for a virtual production video made in MAGIC Spell Studios on RIT’s campus in 2020. RIT and Synapse VP are partnering on a VP immersion in Los Angeles.

Rochester Institute of Technology is offering a groundbreaking partnership with Synapse Virtual Production (Synapse VP) to deliver an exclusive in-person Virtual Production (VP) immersion course in Los Angeles through RIT Certified.

Scheduled over 10 days (June 10-14 and June 17-21), the RIT Certified Mastery Certificate in Virtual Production course will be hosted at Synapse VP's Flagship Volume at LA Center Studios. It welcomes experienced industry professionals seeking to upskill and future-proof their careers and is also a good fit for recent graduates in early-career film, animation, and production positions.

RIT Certified Mastery Certificate Highlights:

  • Hollywood Immersion: Direct access to the industry at Synapse VP's soundstage at LA’s Center Studios.
  • Hands-on Learning: Creative workflows and roles in VP, Master virtual art production and previsualization, plus VP stage engineering and operation.
  • Expert Mentorship: Gain insights from RIT’s MAGIC Center faculty and Synapse VP leaders.
  • Career Advancement: Earn the RIT certification, opening doors to in-demand VP roles.

RIT boasts a unique position in virtual production, rooted in its legacy as home to the first motion picture science (MPS), imaging science, and color science programs in the U.S., coupled with extensive industry connections and a vast alumni network. These strengths are amplified by RIT Certified, the university’s professional training and workforce development division, and RIT’s world-class MAGIC Center, a hub for virtual production research and development since 2020. 

This groundbreaking program fosters collaboration between technical and creative minds, driving innovation as creative engineers, filmmakers, and artists learn side-by-side, replicating the real-world dynamics of successful productions.

“This isn’t just a workshop for creatives needing technical skills or engineers needing creative exposure. It’s about the synergy between technical brilliance and creative storytelling,” explains David Long, RIT MAGIC Center director. 

“By mastering the latest techniques, workshop graduates position themselves for long-term success in this rapidly evolving industry. They'll walk away with the adaptability and problem-solving mindset needed to thrive," adds Dennis Di Lorenzo, executive director of RIT Certified.

Synapse VP, renowned for its extensive expertise in the VP domain, will provide an unparalleled learning environment for participants in its state-of-the-art virtual reality production studios. 

“Virtual production is the future of filmmaking, and addressing the talent gap is essential," said Aaron Gordon, COO of Synapse VP and a proud RIT film and animation alumnus.

“As a partner in a company whose mission is to set a sustainable gold standard for the VP space, it's an honor to give back and collaborate with my alma mater. Participants will leave with the skills and knowledge to step directly onto a virtual production crew, making them a valuable asset to any production team."

Gordon noted that a number of experts from Synapse VP will speak during the immersion, including VP Cinematographer Christopher Probst, ASC who is CIO and author of Cine Lens Manual, Emily Haldeman ’19 (film and animation), and Rich Lee, CCO and veteran director, Previz/VFX supervisor, and artist. RIT’s David Long will co-teach the course along with Flip Phillips and Mark Reisch in the College of Art and Design’s School of Film and Animation.

“RIT is known for training filmmakers and storytellers to embrace technology in a way that they can achieve great creative outcomes. This incredible partnership with Synapse continues that tradition as we expand our educational and research programs in LA,” commented RIT’s assistant provost Tom Connor, a former Disney executive hired to lead RIT’s LA programs.

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