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Trilogy Studios Is Building Three ‘State-of-the-Art’ Virtual Production Stages in Fort Worth

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Now you see it, now you don’t.

With the flick of a switch, a virtual production stage can bring an entire world to life—from the deepest jungle to the hottest desert to skyscraper-clogged cities and more. Instead of spending a fortune on location fees and battling bugs, 120-degree temps and worse, producers can ease back in their director’s chairs and watch the action unfold in climate-controlled comfort.

By blending physical and virtual filmmaking techniques, virtual stages can make an indoor set seem like almost anything—and anyplace—you can imagine. And now more of this “virtual action” is coming to North Texas.

Three virtual stages are part of a ‘multi-city plan’—including one in Irving

Joe Worth

Three new virtual production stages are being built now in Fort Worth by Trilogy Studios, the result of a partnership between Fort Worth-based Trinity Broadcasting Network and Seattle-based Optic8. The stages aim to cater to “the growing demand for premium virtual production facilities in the film, television, and commercial markets,” Trilogy Studios said.

The first build-out in a “multi-city plan,” the stages are going up inside a 214,434-square-foot Class A office-flex building at 5501 Alliance Gateway Freeway, just south of Roanoke. The 5-acre production facility will house all three stages, a shop for set construction, and dedicated production support spaces for each stage, to accommodate concurrent productions.

“We believe virtual production stages are the future of filmmaking, and we’re thrilled to bring this world-class facility to the state of Texas as the new creative beacon of the industry,” Trilogy Studios Studio Director Joe Worth said in a statement.

Trilogy Studios plans to build virtual stages in three other cities—another North Texas site in nearby Irving; one in the Anaheim suburb of Tustin, California; and one in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Virtual cinematic ‘Action!’ on a 157-foot-wide LED screen

All three Fort Worth stages are slated to be operating by September, offering filmmakers and commercial production companies “an innovative way to bring their creative visions to life in a controlled environment,” Trilogy Studios said.

The largest of the three studios is a “spectacular Cinematic Volume” featuring an LED wall that’s 157 feet wide and nearly 24 feet tall—offering what Trilogy Studios says is “the largest LED Volume in the state of Texas.” It’s designed to meet the “complex requirements” of cinematic features and episodic TV productions.

“Let’s make some movies!” Optic8 Sales and Marketing Director Eric Nienaber wrote last week on LinkedIn, showing a video clip of five relatively ant-sized crew members dwarfed by the cinematic virtual-stage-in-progress. 

Nienaber told Dallas Innovates the cinematic stage “may be up and running as soon as June.”

Stages for virtually moving vehicles and ‘commercial tabletop’ shoots

The second individual build is a “car processing stage” which will be used for car commercials and film and TV series—”anything that requires car movement.” Featuring six rolling LED walls and five height- and tilt-adjustable LED ceiling sections, that stage will be able to adapt for “vehicles of all sizes” for moving vehicle shoots.

The third, “commercial tabletop” stage will feature a curved LED wall that’s 50 feet wide and 20 feet tall, along with a full LED ceiling, “to create an ideal setting for commercial and broadcast productions.”

Both the second and third stages should be up and running by September, Nienaber said. “Our Seattle-based crew of six will be down there Monday for 10 days, wrapping up the cinematic stage,” he told us Friday.

Along with its stages, Trilogy Studios says it will offer “data-driven digital marketing and distribution capabilities to serve filmmakers.”

DHD Films founder: ‘Same impact to storytelling as electricity had on factories of the early 1900s’

The prospect of a new cinematic virtual stage in North Texas is welcome news for filmmakers like Shezad Manjee, founder and creative director of Dallas-based DHD Films. As a third-generation filmmaker and an early adopter of virtual production technology—and a seed investor in Florida-based Vu Studios, the largest virtual studio network in the world—Manjee says DHD Films is “very bullish on this technology and its potential.”

“The great thing about virtual production is that for the first time, we can transport the talent and the audience without leaving the studio,” Manjee told Dallas Innovates. “This in my estimation will have the same impact to storytelling as electricity had on factories of the early 1900s. Freed from the constraints that came from power distribution, the industrial revolution was unleashed.

The Trilogy Studios stages should make North Texas an even more attractive hub for the film, TV, and commercial production industry, Manjee added.

“Dallas is rapidly becoming a hub for many industries that once only existed on either coast,” he said. “Trilogy’s five-acre campus with three virtual production stages will further establish Dallas as a destination both for commercial production and feature film projects. It’s no coincidence that we are seeing this level of investment within months of the historic $200 million film incentive passing in legislature.  I may be biased, but there has never been a better time or a place to be a storyteller.”

Texas A&M is bringing its own ‘extending reality’ tech to Fort Worth

Trilogy Studios won’t have a monopoly on virtual production in Fort Worth. In February, we told you about Texas A&M’s Virtual Production Institute, which will be part of the Texas A&M School of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts. It will be based on the Bryan-College Station campus with an extension at the new Texas A&M-Fort Worth campus, the system said. 

The “first-of-its-kind” institute will integrate real-world scenarios and the latest in extended reality technology to advance problem-solving and support workforce development across industries.

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