Film students call action on first virtual production films

AIE Canberra’s virtual production stage. Photo by Doug Hall
AIE Canberra’s virtual production stage. Photo by Doug Hall

Film students have just wrapped up shooting on Canberra’s first virtual production stage at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) in Watson. Working in production teams, the film students shot five short filmsincluding a cyberpunk sci-fi thriller and music video, back-to-back over fifteen days 

Each production team took full advantage of the virtual production stage to bring their films to life. AIE’s filmmaking program is the first in Australia to adopt this cutting-edge technology which is increasingly being used by filmmakers to create whatever environments are required, whether it be a futuristic cityforest or Martian landscape. The virtual production stage consists of a very large, high-detail LED wall combined with motion tracking camera linked to the game engine which renders the environment in real-time.  

Virtual Production revolutionises what a student-produced film can be,” said AIE student Michael Liehne, who is currently working on a dance film called Don’t Blink. 

Students are leveraging the same virtual production technologies that have been used to create incredible visual effects seen in Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder and Disney’s The Mandalorian. These five short filmwill contribute to the 30 film projects these students will produce throughout the two year filmmaking program. The program has a strong emphasis on developing practical skills and learning filmmaking from filmmakers, by making films. 

Experienced Canberra-based filmmaker and AIE Trainer Dan Sanguineti was enthusiastic about what his students have been able to achieve. 

I’m incredibly proud to have supported the students as they successfully navigated the technology and technical requirements of their virtual productions,” said Dan. 

These students will graduate with skills that only a select group of filmmakers in the world have. It's been a steep learning curve and they will be viewed as very employable by studios looking to adopt this technology. 

AIE student Doug Hall, is a mature-age student who is the director of a cyberpunk, sci-fi, time-travelling, thriller called Timeline. 

The opportunity of learning innovative virtual production technology to complement my current industry experiences has accelerated my next film career direction said Doug. 

The projects produced include a John Wick style parody involving Mimes and Clowns and a street dance music video to Canberra-based hip hop artist Citizen Kay, who kindly donated use of the track to the students. The music video also contained numerous dancers from well-known Canberra dance studios. 

AIE launched its world-first course combining Film and Virtual Production in 2021 to train more filmmakers in the ACT as well as upskill film practitioners to meet the demand to support the rapid global adoption of this technology. 

People interested in learning about Canberra’s vibrant film industry, virtual production, filmmaking careers and filmmaking courses can find out more at AIE’s Open Day on Sunday 14 August 2022 at the AIE Watson Campus.   

For more information about AIE’s Open Day, visit 


About AIE 

AIE is Australia's most awarded specialist games and film educator. Established as a non-profit organisation to grow the creative digital sector, AIE pioneered the development of specialist qualifications and continues to innovate through industry partnerships and dynamic teaching.  To find out more, visit 

Creating new worlds using Virtual Production. Photo by Doug Hall
Creating new worlds using Virtual Production. Photo by Doug Hall
The final shot - still from film project thriller 'Timeline'
The final shot - still from film project thriller 'Timeline'