Canterbury University making waves in film gaming industry with new $97m digital screen campus

Canterbury University is making waves in the film and gaming industry with a $97 million digital screen campus. 

The facility will be the first of its kind in Australasia and will cash in on the booming gaming and film industries to lead the next generation into the future. 

From a tropical island to Antarctica and then into the boardroom, all from a state-of-the-art digital screen studio in Christchurch. 

"It's pretty wild, we're just starting to scratch the surface of how virtual production is going to change our industry, it's really disruptive," Resonate Films managing director Simon Waterhouse told Newshub.

The combination of three kinds of major technology - the LED wall, observation cameras and the cinema camera itself - provides a whole new way of doing things.  

"It allows us to shoot in places that we wouldn't have access to or shoot in a safer way that we wouldn't normally be able to," Waterhouse said. 

Canterbury University is leading the charge and plans to open the new digital screen campus next year.

"A key thing about the plan is we intend for students and the industry to be working together in the same place," acting executive dean of arts Kevin Watson told Newshub.

"So students are working then getting their experience, so they're doing it all together at the same time."

The University already has programmes for film and game development and this new facility will create an ecosystem of existing and brand new qualifications.

"It really boils down to this idea of converging the way we make films, games and interactive apps. It is increasingly merging together," University of Canterbury Professor Andrew Phelps told Newshub.

"So that provides an opportunity to think about how we are going to provide for the next generation."

It's redeveloping 14 hectares of its Dovedale campus including four existing buildings. 

The auditorium is being transformed into a recording studio that's big enough for a 90-piece orchestra.

This new technology could be key to growing New Zealand in the gaming industry. 

"The industry both separate and together is huge, worth billions of dollars internationally," Watson said. 

Watch the full story above.