HEBER CITY, Utah – A piece of Hollywood is now in Heber City, as film students at Utah Valley University’s Heber City campus now have access to a state-of-the-art motion capture stage.
Characters like Gollum from “The Lord of the Rings” and many of the chimps in the latest “Planet of the Apes” films were brought to life using digital motion capture technology.
Now, students at UVU will be able to utilize the same tools that Hollywood uses to bring such characters to the silver screen.
Mike Walker, assistant administrator for UVU’s Wasatch Campus, said the stage gives students opportunity.
"It's a diamond in the rough,” he said. “It's amazing for us to be able to engage with these types of individuals and have our campus be involved in these types of projects."
Ron Fischer is the Chief Technology Officer for Park City Film Studios, a job he took on after a long career in the film industry. The studios collaborated with the school to bring the stage to Utah. Fischer has helped create virtual environments for films like “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Polar Express.”
“I think that this technology is used throughout the world on a lot of films, but very few stages commit to putting up a green screen like this with a virtual set technology ready to go,” Fischer said.
Fischer said Utah is a great setting for the new stage.
"There's a vision here, and this place in general--Park City and Utah--it's a big chunk of the heart of the American West, and there's a lot of great storytelling out here, and there's some good opportunities to bring the technology out into independent film in this area, but in a way that respects story,” he said.
Students at UVU will have access to the stage when film classes begin this fall. For more information about UVU’s Wasatch Campus and their offerings, visit the school’s website.