Full Sail University

‘Space Pups’ Filmed on Full Sail’s Campus

The family-friendly alien adventure was shot in several campus facilities, including Studio V1: Virtual Production.

Space Pups’ director Jason Murphy stands onstage in a virtual spaceship set. He is talking to a crew member while another crew member holds a boom mic.

At the end of 2022, Studio V1: Virtual Production welcomed a pack of dog actors to campus for a professional film project. But these dogs weren’t playing themselves: They were playing aliens in Space Pups, a family-friendly sci-fi adventure.

Space Pups is about a group of extraterrestrials whose ship crashes into Earth. They disguise themselves as dogs in hopes of receiving a warmer welcome from humans, and they wind up befriending a couple of kids. The children discover their secret and race to help the aliens repair their ship before they’re discovered by an alien chaser.

In order to film Space Pups, director Jason Murphy and producer Kenny Beaumont needed a virtual stage to build the interior of a spaceship for an important scene in the film’s climax. Studio V1 was the perfect setup for their production.

“The advantage [to filming at Full Sail] for us is we're able to do a professional quality movie on a tight budget,” Kenny says. “Instead of building that spaceship set, which would've been very, very costly to do, we built the interior of the spaceship virtually and then shot those portions at Studio V1.”

Studio V1 is a full-fledged production studio with hundreds of LED tiles spanning large digital screens on the backdrop, floor, and ceiling. Productions using the studio can build virtual sets, like the Space Pups spaceship, in a video game engine, then display those sets on the digital screens during filming. Instead of spending time and money building multiple physical sets and traveling to and from filming locations, virtual production technology allows filmmakers like Jason and Kenny to switch sets, adjust lighting, and add special effects in seconds.

Studio V1 wasn’t the only Full Sail facility that the Space Pups team used. “We shot some scenes on the sound stages. We shot some in the Backlot in the woods and in the Backlot proper where they have the city facades… having so many different looks with such close proximity, it saved us so much time and effort. We were able to do several things in the same day just by walking down the Backlot. It was great,” Kenny says.

Two crew members holding cameras and lighting equipment work on an outdoor set. One of them is giving a command to a small brown dog.

Space Pups crew members work with one of the film’s canine actors during an outdoor scene at Full Sail.

Filming Space Pups on campus came with additional advantages: The filmmakers brought on dozens of Full Sail grads to work in crew positions.

“About 90 percent of our crew were Full Sail grads,” shares Kenny. “We had grads doing the camera department, we had grads doing the lighting department… And the advantage for the grads is they're getting to do something a little bit higher up on the department chain, because when you come out [of college], usually you have to do entry level film positions, but we were hiring some of them for higher positions.”

A number of grads also contributed to the movie’s audio post-production process in Full Sail’s Dub Stage. Dub Stage Manager Dave Chmela worked with a crew of grads and student volunteers to put together more than 3,000 sound cues.

“We recorded voices, cleaned up the production [sounds] from the set, created the sound design, performed all of the foley, and mixed the film in surround sound,” says Dave. “[The students and grads] were tasked with creating all of the footsteps, cloth movements, and prop handling for each of the characters in the film. They did a great job.”

Space Pups is currently available to stream on Amazon, Vudu, and other streaming platforms.