Yes, film and TV crews flock to Georgia to take advantage of tax incentives and the state’s creative talent pool. But they also roll in and make the most out of the cityscapes, countrysides, and waterfronts from Atlanta to Savannah and everywhere in between.
But with the work of the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), films with scenes of arctic tundras or desert backdrops could be happening right in the Peach State.
The idea of bringing far-off filming locations to Georgia is thanks to the extended reality (XR) stages SCAD is opening across the state. The university has opened two stages in 15 months, including the latest one at SCAD’s Digital Media Center in Midtown.
Extended reality encapsulates parts of AR/VR, two technology practices that are bridging the virtual and physical worlds. In the entertainment industry, extended reality stages use tracking and real-time rendering techniques to create hyper realistic sets for the next era of virtual productions.
SCAD’s latest XR stage is a partnership with Meptik, an Atlanta-based and SCAD alumni-founded experimental design and virtual production company.
It is all about bringing the next iteration of immersive filmmaking to the Georgia creative community.
“The geographical limitations of filmmaking are being erased by this technology,” said Dan Bartlett, Dean of SCAD’s School of Animation & Motion. “It’s really exciting and it just means that our students can just continue to become even more ambitious with the stories that they want to tell.”
DRIVING HOMEGROWN FILM INNOVATION
SCAD film and virtual effects students get access to the stages as early as freshman year. Bartlett said XR stages allow for student projects to be even more ambitious, giving the example of one student attempting an Indiana Jones-esque saga built entirely in a virtual location.
While the XR stages themselves can transport filmmakers to anywhere in the universe, Barlett said he sees them as a retention tool for the State of Georgia.
“Historically, people would come to us because there is this opportunity to build these amazing technical, creative, and commercial skill sets. Then they would fly off all around the world and deploy those skills wherever they choose. But what’s happening with film in Georgia in general is so ambitious at an industrial level. Now students are coming to SCAD Atlanta or SCAD Savannah and saying ‘I’m not leaving Georgia because I know that there are feature films and TV shooting here constantly. I know that this is where my skills can be utilized in the long term,” he added.