Salt Lake Community College plans to pair a class and workshop with its new virtual studio, which has also seen its completion timeline shift from this fall to the first half of next year.
Officially announced in April, the virtual production studio — currently in development at the South City Campus — will allow students to utilize different backdrops without the need for a green screen or on-location shooting. This is accomplished with an LED wall — 16 by 28 feet in size, in the case of SLCC — that displays imagery that can be changed in real time with a workstation computer.
The wall was originally set to become available this fall, according to the announcement press release, but Josh Elstein, program manager for the college’s Center for Arts and Media, said students can now expect an early to mid-2024 completion window.
“[The virtual studio] will be the technical training center for our digital media center,” Elstein said. “Other institutions have their digital media, but this is a one-of-a-kind facility and technical space for this kind of training. It is the first [LED] wall in the state.”
In the meantime, David Lehleitner, assistant professor of film production, said the film department is working out the details of a new production class in which students use the wall. The department also plans to implement a workshop that involves non-students.
“There will be two varieties: a traditional class for SLCC students and a workshop that will be open to SLCC and non-SLCC people,” Lehleitner said.
In recent years, the use of this LED-wall technology has become more commonplace in Hollywood. Disney, for example, uses the technology for some of their productions, albeit with wider screens that surround their actors in a half circle, as seen in “The Mandalorian.”
“We are excited that Salt Lake Community College will be jumping into this latest innovation in film production,” Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission, said in the original press release announcing the studio and wall.
“By making this cutting-edge technology accessible,” Pearce continued, “[SLCC] will open up opportunities to new storytellers and media makers in both the film and game design fields.”