A multi-million dollar digital studio will be one of the main tenants of a $45 million research and innovation center in Queenstown.
The New Zealand branch of UK-based Target3D will build its first studio on the ground floor of the building, director Shannon Dowsing announced on Friday.
The company specializes in motion capture and virtual production used in film and television as well as high performance sport, robotics and biometrics.
Recent projects include Bjork’s music videos, an augmented reality performance by singer Liam Payne at the 2021 Bafta Awards and Clays, a UK chain of virtual reality clay bird shooting themed bars.
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After working with the company’s directors in London, Dowsing set up sister company Rāngai in his home town of Tairāwhiti Gisborne, to train students in virtual production and enable the creation of Target3D.
Developers at the Queenstown Research and Innovation Center approached him to consider basing the company there, which also resulted in the company securing a $2 million government loan to expand. establish.
The funding came from the $18 million Queenstown Economic Transformation and Resilience Fund set up to diversify the local economy beyond tourism, increase economic resilience and develop well-paying jobs.
On Friday, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash also announced a loan of up to $1.25 million to Loaded Reports Ltd, a Queenstown-based software company specializing in hotel management.
Founded by James Arnott and Richard McLeod in 2004, the company has 13 outlets across New Zealand and 900 software customers.
It plans to enter the Australian market next year, having raised $3.25 million in equity and debt, including government loan and backing from investment fund Invest South.
Research and Innovation Queenstown is in the early stages of constructing a 5,400m² building to serve as a base to attract, enable and facilitate research and innovation activities and businesses to diversify Queenstown’s economy.
It includes office space, networking areas and complementary commercial uses such as recreation, cinema and visual presentation rooms.
The $45 million building attracted a loan of up to $22.5 million from the government’s start-up infrastructure fund.
The idea for the digital studio project within the Queenstown hub was originally conceived by local tech entrepreneur Rod Drury, who said it was great to see it come to life.
“I am very excited about the educational aspects of this facility and the opportunities it will create for Southern Lakes learning providers,” he said.
Target3D co-founder Allan Rankin said it was exciting to bring the studio to New Zealand.
“Due to soaring demand for virtual technology, we expect the space to be in high demand from creatives and industry, but also as a center for R&D and learning. .”
Dowsing said the total project would cost around $6 million and would likely employ six people as core staff, but up to 45 people during production times.
It would be useful for educators, filmmakers, game designers and content creators, he said.
He expected it to be operational in early 2024 with a full slate of projects ready to go.
There were already plans being discussed, but he couldn’t give details on those due to commercial sensitivities.
Nash said the studio would bring diversification within the screen industry to an area better known for location shoots than studio screen production.
“The studio will include infrastructure to support virtual production which includes LED screens, motion capture, game engine servers, lighting, production equipment and staging.
“This will give filmmakers, game designers and TV producers access to the latest technology.
“It also aims to encourage screen production companies to stay in the district for longer periods of time, thereby increasing district and regional spending,” he said.
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Nationally, the screen industry employs approximately 16,200 New Zealanders and contributes $3.3 billion to the economy annually.
To further support infrastructure conducive to research and innovation,
Chorus has also partnered with the development, making its next generation fiber broadband, known as Hyperfibre, available to development tenants.
Queenstown director of research and innovation Johnathan Chen said the studio would be an anchor tenant and focal point for the collaboration.
“This studio creates a multidisciplinary collaboration to deliver innovative solutions across a number of industries, such as film, games, IT, tourism, and even cities of the future.”
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