Wakefield will house next-generation film tech. Credit: via Wakefield Council

Wakefield’s Production Park to house R&D hub

Funding has been secured for one of four UK labs, to drive the next generation of virtual production technology for film, TV and stage.

Wakefield Council has worked with a consortium led by the University of York, including Screen Yorkshire, North Yorkshire LEP, Production Park and Vodafone.

The specialist lab will be part of a £76m investment to try and grow the UK creative industries by £50bn.

Mark Lynam, Wakefield Council’s corporate director for economic growth and regeneration, said: “This has confirmed the district’s place in the future of new and exciting technology.

“It will bring high quality jobs and skills opportunities for residents and businesses, as well as acting as a catalyst for further inward investment from the creative, digital and technology sector – putting us firmly on the map as a great place to do business.”

Virtual production covers a range of techniques that use computer-generated imagery, hyper-real sound, augmented reality and motion capture to create virtual sets and environments.

It enables the creation of large-scale digitally generated environments that performers can interact with in real-time using LED panels. The technology has been used at events such as the ABBA Voyage live show in London and on Disney’s The Mandalorian.

Lee Brooks, chief executive and founder of Production Park, said: “Partnerships are hugely important in driving the creative industries forward, allowing us to bring together expertise and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

“We’re thrilled that Production Park will be home to a new R&D lab dedicated to using advanced technology for live, film and TV production. With the support of Wakefield Council, we can work together to ensure this opportunity has maximum benefit to the local community and economy.”

This new set up is part of the UK Research & Innovation Infrastructure Fund’s (UKRI) Convergent Screen Technologies and performance in Realtime (CoSTAR) programme, supported by £75.6m of government funding and £63m of new industry investment, which will form the largest virtual production research and development network in Europe, with four facilities across the country.

The network will include a national lab at Pinewood Studios, and a new Insight and Foresight Unit led by Goldsmiths and the British Film Institute. The Wakefield hub and the other regional hubs in Dundee and Belfast are expected to add a combined £33m to the economy and support 423 jobs.

As examined in Place North’s Subplot, film and TV production is fast becoming a key target sector across Northern cities. A consultation started this week on Sunderland’s proposed 1.6m sq ft Crown Works Studios complex.

Similarly, consultation has begun on the long-awaited redevelopment of the former Littlewoods HQ in Liverpool into a £70m film and TV production hub.

Production Park has an ambitious growth plan mapped out. Currently standing at 100,000 sq ft of studio, rehearsal and workshop space, the facility wants to include a young people’s hub and add in elements such as green space and hospitality areas as the facility matures.

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Related Articles

Subscribe for free

Stay updated on the latest news and views in Yorkshire property


Keep updated on the latest news, deals, views and opportunities in Yorkshire property, in your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to Place Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below