Q&A with Shanna Koopmans: Directing a virtual production

Q&A with Shanna Koopmans: Directing a virtual production

12/06/2023 - 14:42

We sat down with Shanna Koopmans, a fourth-year Creative Business student, to delve into her recent experience working on a virtual production. Shanna, along with her team, worked on the short film, ‘Vessel 2.0 – The Rescue of Aiden’, and shares insights into the creative process, challenges faced, and her future aspirations within the world of virtual production.
  • Stories
  • Student work

Can you tell us about the project 'Vessel 2.0 – The Rescue of Aiden’? 

Shanna: ‘Sure! "Vessel 2.0" is a short film produced as part of the Production House course at Creative Business. It's a sequel to ‘Vessel 1.0’, a story involving two crew members flying to another planet in search of their lost friend, Aiden.’ 

‘The project spanned two semesters, with the first semester focusing on initial setup and filming the first few scenes, and the second semester on script development and filming. I was involved in the second semester.’  

How was the production process, and what role did you play? 

Shanna: ‘We worked in a team of three Games students and five Creative Business students with two supervisors. I took on the role of the director, responsible for decisions related to the visual aspects.’  

‘During preproduction, I collaborated with the Director of Photography (DOP) on storyboarding and camera movements. In production, I focused on directing actors, ensuring the emotional depth and coherence in their performances. The collaboration with the cameraman was crucial. Post-production overlapped with production, making it a lengthy but rewarding process.’  

'We worked in the XR stage on campus at Breda University of Applied Sciences. An XR (Extended Reality) stage combines film production with game technology. The stage is basically a massive video wall to give the film crew a better understanding of the environment. As a director you can work directly with the environment artist to change the scene on the fly, with no need of reshoots at a later stage.' 

What was your experience working in the XR Stage? 

Shanna: ‘Stepping into the XR stage was a challenge as we had zero knowledge of virtual production. Coming from a more traditional filmmaking background in the Creative Business study programme, dealing with camera, light, and audio equipment in a virtual space was entirely new. Despite initial technical difficulties, we learned a lot and appreciated the experience, even working during holidays to meet the project's demands.’ 

Could you share your experience at the Student XR Awards? 

Shanna: ‘We were nominated for the Student XR Awards (part of the Immersive Tech Week in Rotterdam) and presented "Vessel 2.0". Although we didn't win, it was a valuable opportunity. The jury was curious, and the event provided a platform to showcase our virtual production. Networking with industry professionals and other students was enriching, and it was fascinating to witness the diverse projects at the event.’  

Any advice for fellow students? 

Shanna: ‘If you get the chance to work in the XR stage, grab it. It's a challenging but rewarding experience. I'm proud of our team's hard work, and personally, it helped me regain confidence as a director.’   

What are your future plans within virtual production? 

Shanna: ‘I'm interested in continuing work within virtual production, possibly focusing on lighting and camerawork. I'm also learning Unreal Engine. My graduation project will explore these interests, and until June, I'll be at Cradle (our research and development lab), enjoying the diverse learning experiences.’ 


For a more information about Shanna, you can check out her LinkedIn profile.