This Area of Concentration prepares you to utilize and contextualize dominant emerging technologies–including virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence–for artistic expression and social impact. Examine an expanded overview about the ISET Concentration.

Area of Concentration Courses

Four courses are required to earn this Area of Concentration within the MA in Film and Media program. Learn more about several more in-development courses and descriptions on the "About the ISET Concentration" page.

This introductory course will provide students with the tools and the mind set for making compelling VR/AR experiences. While the industry is nascent, the technological and storytelling innovations move forward at breakneck speed. Students will also, each class, dissect to understand the approaches to the current catalog of immersive experiences, ranging from 360 film, to animation and room scale installation experiences, often with creators who made them to understand challenges and lessons learned. Subsequently, after this overview, students will have the option to build their own prototypes and, also, to support a VR/AR project housed within the program with a leading artist.

This course will explore the ways in which emerging technologies and immersive media—including artificial intelligence, mixed reality, machine learning, spatial computing, and blockchain—can be used to advance the goals of social impact and social justice. Covering the topics of interactivity and storytelling, it will also discuss questions of flow, agency, design thinking and human centered technology. Each session will include case studies, and there will be presentations by leading experts in the field, followed by in-class discussions. Students will be expected to design and prototype original immersive projects, as well as read and write short essays throughout the semester.

Humanity at once refers both to all human beings, in their different forms and manifestations, and to standards of humaneness – including love, benevolence, care, and dignity. This course will examine questions of how are we to be in this world (individually and collectively) with technology; how are we now; and how should we be. It will do so by engaging in a wide-ranging survey – delving into questions of ethics (of information, of privacy, of environment) and complexifying what forms of knowledge we ascribe value to (drawing on indigeneity and indigenous forms of knowledge, for example). The course will then examine specific instances of humane applications of new technology in the fields of peacemaking and peacebuilding, psychiatry and intergroup relations, and storytelling by those on the margins (indigenous communities, victims of climate change, conflict and violence, and the socioeconomically disempowered). From that point, using a speculative design and thinking framework, the course will challenge students to reflect on desirable and undesirable futures, and likely futures. With a backcasting approach, the course will ask students to consider what systems, milestones, decisions, activities, policies and strategies need to be in place to effect desirable futures.

An introductory course that provides students with an overview of the process to create innovative and meaningful cinematic stories in the evolving field of interactive games. From concept to completion, the class will explore the creative architecture, production process and technical considerations necessary for developing for the new wave of interactive entertainment across platforms. Drawing from theoretical and production frameworks in game design, narrative and documentary filmmaking, art, immersive theatre, and motion capture––critical attention will be given to intuitive and engaging design. The hands on portion of the class will culminate with students developing a prototype for their own original interactive cinematic project.

This intermediate course takes you through the workflows of producing compelling narratives with emerging technologies like VR, AR and AI. Students will get an opportunity to work collectively on a project with the deadlines, pressures and challenges that come with delivering a quality product for a world class client. Students will also prototype existing ideas and proposals developed in other ISET courses, or new ideas generated from class, to create something that can be showcased in their portfolio, or be utilized long term as a capstone project. Prerequisite: Students must have taken as least one ISET course though some exceptions will be granted on a case by case basis.

Lush and realistic virtual worlds that were recently impossible are suddenly commonplace. These synthetic scenes surround us, hidden in sweeping virtual backgrounds on film sets or featured prominently in seemingly endless videogame landscapes. While breakthroughs in computer graphics and game engines make this possible, new tools make it common. The hidden development conjuring up seemingly anything is a new class of reality capture and filmmaking tools that creators to quickly bring the real world into virtual spaces. These are the tools of virtual production and volumetric filmmaking.

This course starts with personal stories, transforming a vivid memory into a sharable immersive experience with tools and insights from volumetric filmmaking, virtual production and game design. Students learn how to adapt a script for immersion, 3D modeling, photogrammetry scanning, and applying techniques like virtual lighting, virtual cinematography, and the basics of motion capture and volumetric capture to bring their scene to life. The course invites students to create lush and imaginative worlds immediately with common hardware – mobile phones and computers.


Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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