Government looks to Soho’s virtual reality experts to help grow UK’s creative industries

  • Culture Secretary John Whittingdale visits Soho-based virtual reality (VR) experts, The Foundry, to discuss the future of VR for the UK economy
  • New findings from The Foundry reveal two thirds of the industry see growth opportunities in VR for their business
  • The Foundry releases new VR toolset, CARA VR, to solve content creation challenges

London, July 5, 2016 -  Leading creative software developer The Foundry today hosted the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, John Whittingdale, to discuss proposals on how virtual reality (VR) can boost the UK’s economy. 

Following yesterday’s government announcement of its new creative industries strategy ‘Create Together’, the Secretary of State discussed with senior members of The Foundry how the UK has the opportunity to become the global centre of VR content production. This comes as the latest figures from the government show that the creative industries are now generating almost £10 million an hour for the UK economy, with jobs in the sector increasing three times faster than the UK average. Occupations which have particularly flourished include programmers and software developers, where jobs are up by 30 per cent.  

John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport said , “The Creative Industries are one of the UK's greatest success stories. That success is built upon the extraordinary talent which exists in this country, an amazing cultural heritage, the English language and a tax system designed to support and encourage growth in the creative sector. 

“None of this is changed by the UK's decision to leave the EU and I am confident that our creative industries will continue to thrive and take advantage of the new opportunities which are opening up to do business across the world.”  

The visit coincided with the launch of new research by The Foundry which reveals that almost two thirds (61.5%) of people employed in the entertainment and advertising industry believe that producing VR content will open new growth opportunities, with nearly a quarter (23.2%) being ready to invest in VR tools and expertise1

Alex Mahon, CEO of The Foundry said, “It’s highly promising to see the latest government figures showing growth in the creative industries – and our research indicates this shows no sign of stopping as new opportunities arise. With 2016 anticipated to be the year VR breaks out, as major new hardware launches are expected, the current opportunity for those working in VR in London’s tech centre is palpable. A major opportunity for the UK lies in VR content creation and post-production. 

“We truly believe that the UK can be at the forefront of worldwide virtual reality content creation and post production, and it is important that, as an industry, we understand and equip people with the skills needed to ensure we seize this opportunity. We are delighted to be speaking to the government about the opportunities the technology can offer to the economy.” 

Today, The Foundry’s CARA VR2 software launches for public use. The highly anticipated CARA VR toolset is a new plug-in designed to work within the industry-leading NUKE environment, used by the likes of Dreamworks and Framestore, to enable the creation of high-quality VR content. The latest addition to The Foundry’s product portfolio has been developed by its award winning research team and is a huge step forward in streamlining the creation of 360° video content. 

About The Foundry 

The Foundry is a leading global developer of creative software used to deliver high-end visual effects and 3D content for the design, visualization and entertainment industries. The portfolio empowers artists to create inspiring and technical images and visual experiences in media production (film, commercials, episodic television, gaming, and virtual and augmented reality), and product and industrial design. 

The company was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in London, with offices in Silicon Valley, Manchester, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Dublin and Austin. In November 2015 Alex Mahon was appointed as CEO. 

Clients include Pixar, Mercedes-Benz, ILM, Double Negative, The Moving Picture Company, Walt Disney Animation, Weta Digital, Framestore, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Skullcandy. 

In 2015, the London Stock Exchange named The Foundry one of its “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain.” 

© The Foundry, its logo and product names are registered trademarks in the UK, USA and/or other countries.

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