Helix Core Combines Tech and Design at Vancouver Film School

Some of the most compelling entertainment produced today is a blend of art and tech. Helix Core provides the version control platform that empowers students collaborate on digital movies and games. It stores all work, from initial sketches to the final rendered video. The partnership between Vancouver Film School (VFS) and Perforce enables the next generation of creators. VFS currently has 2,000 educational licenses provided to their students for free.

What is it about Helix that Vancouver Film School likes so much?


Prevalent within the industry


Technically superior product

Reliable technical support

Helix Core is so prevalent throughout the industry, it goes without saying that we needed it integrated here.

We’re happy that through this partnership we’ve been able to do just that."


Student Gain Industry Experience with Helix Core Over SVN

Vancouver Film School offers 13 post-secondary entertainment arts programs. These one-year curriculums balance theory with hands-on production. Graduates can go on to make major waves. In 2004 then-student Seth Lochhead scripted the motion picture "Hanna.”

“One of the constants at VFS is to ensure that, whenever possible, we emulate the real world within our educational model,” says VFS Managing Director Marty Hasselbach. “Helix is so prevalent throughout the industry, it goes without saying that we needed it integrated here. We’re happy that through this partnership we’ve been able to do just that.”

“Our faculty specifically requested Perforce Helix as being the most industry-relevant product for our Game Design program,” says Operations Manager & Business Applications Architect Owen Lambert. Helix Core was added into the Game Design curriculum in June 2001. This graduating class was the first to use Helix Core. They could track their project files and learn production skills that will be vital in their future careers.

“We evaluated open source options such as Subversion (SVN) and Git but found that not only was Helix Core a technically superior product, it also came from a commercial partner we can rely on for solid support of our student experience,” says Lambert.


Peer Mentorship Strengthens Skills

VFS Game Design is unique with its one-year program and non-traditional class schedule. New students can start every two months. Students start using Helix Core in their Technical Design course. They work in groups to create project prototypes and evaluate technical requirements.

The students help bring each other up to speed on Helix Core and Helix Visual Client interface. “We have a Senior Instructor who is our resident expert in Helix Core, and he spends an hour walking through it in class, along with other things having to do with the pipeline,” says Lambert. “Then there are four hours of mentor time. It’s easy to spot the students who aren’t doing it properly; they say they can’t find their files.”

With Helix Core, VFS students learn source management, data security, how to develop logical workflows, and change tracking. “One of the things we’re teaching is how to make mistakes correctly and be able to roll back,” says Lambert. “It’s ludicrous to assume you’re going to go on to the job and never make a mistake.”


Looking Beyond Gaming

With the success of the Game Design program, VFS is preparing to extend Helix Core to other programs. While the Writing program may not have a direct need, Lambert believes “it’s not a huge leap to say we could load in scripts.” He also thinks that web programming, digital design, motion graphics, and traditional print media could be part of “a really clean build-out.” This means that could mean a faster road to box-office success.