AUSTIN (KXAN) — From movies and TV shows to commercials and online videos, Central Texas is experiencing a boom in film production. Some local production companies are bringing science to the set to make it happen.
Co-Production House in south Austin is using virtual studios to make it seem like actors in Austin are elsewhere.
Following the pandemic, many had to find a new way of filming, especially when people couldn’t travel as easily or be around each other. That’s where this technology comes in.
Earlier this month, Co-Production House celebrated its grand opening. It’s one of the first studios to bring this virtual technology to life in the city.
Using an LED wall, the production house is able to create an immersive background anywhere in the world for as long as someone needs it, essentially replacing the green screen.
For example, if someone wants to shoot a scene at sunset, they can do so all day and not just have an hour to do it.
“It looks like you’re there, you know, all you really need to do is match the lighting, and it just looks like you’re actually in the environment,” said CEO and Cofounder of Co-Production House Justin Kirchhoff. “And what that does for, you know, all of these different entities is it allows them to shoot anywhere in the world at any time for an elongated amount of time.”
It’s this same technology a new studio coming to San Marcos will house. Hill Country Studios will feature 12 sound stages across 310,000 square feet and two of the largest virtual stages in the country.
The $267 million studio is expected to open in early 2023.
The film industry in Austin
In 2018, the Austin Film Commission said there were around 800 shoot days. In 2021, that number increased to just over 1,200 — something the CEO of Hill Country Studios has taken notice of.
“Texas is poised for a boom in this industry,” said Cory McLoud. “Our lack of state income tax, you got right to work, all these, just great benefits of being here, but as well … from the industry side, this is where the people want to be.”
But industry leaders said Texas might be behind.
During the last legislative session, the state allocated $45 million in incentives to the state’s film industry — $5 million less from the previous session because of the pandemic.
Those at the Texas Media Production Alliance said for the next session, they’re hoping that amount can at least be doubled.