The Reel FX tours scheduled in March have been delayed until next fall for the ACU Digital Entertainment Technology department.
Reel FX is an award-winning animation and visual effects company based in Dallas. Some of their recognizable works include a Kit Kat commercial, Despicable Me animation and Katy Perry’s Firework music video. The DET department was planning to tour their facilities until a movie client caused them to postpone the tours.
However, the DET department plans to tour 900lbs of Creative as well as Captured Dimensions later on this semester. Both of these companies have a growing interest in how ACU students have been using digital technology.
Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology, met with representatives from both 900lbs of Creative and Captured Dimensions at a press conference in January. He has been a key contributor in connecting with these companies in Dallas.
“They were very interested in our work with the Oculus Rift,” Burton said. “We are doing some interesting things with it, so they have invited us to see their facilities later on in the semester.”
Captured Dimensions is a 3-D company in Richardson that was started by ACU Alum, Graeme Williams. The company brings people in and captures a very high-resolution, three-dimensional model of people, Burton said.
“They’re interested in the same technology we are using in the classroom,” Burton said. “They are very excited about the fact that our students are coming out with that same skill set of being able to develop for these virtual environments that will be used for advertising and film.”
Tim Holt, junior digital entertainment technology major from Plano, shared his excitement about the upcoming tours.
“There are a lot of students in the DET program that are really excited about going and touring the facility and potentially getting an internship,” Holt said.
For Holt, the DET program is not just about the potential internships, but telling and creating stories.
“I got my first camera when I turned fifteen, and ever since then, film has been my passion,” Holt said.
Holt has made a total of six short films, 15 videos on YouTube and 30 or more videos for his personal entertainment. He is currently working on two films for FilmFest, and is participating in the experimental movie in the DET department using the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift is a headset that creates a projection in three-dimensional depth. Students in the DET department are currently working on a short film using the Oculus Rift that shoots at a 180-degree-angle.
“You can be watching at one angle, but something is happening on your other side at the same time,” Holt said. “If you aren’t looking over there, you won’t see it, which is really cool because you can watch a movie five different times and see a different thing every single time.”
The students are just testing the technology. To Holt’s knowledge, no one has ever done a three-camera shoot and played it in the Oculus Rift before.
“There is a good chance this might tank. We are really just trying to see if this is even possible,” Holt said. “If we see that it is possible, it completely changes the whole dynamic of film.”
The students working on this film hope to finish it by the Thursday after spring break.
Holt looks forward to finding an internship, and apply for the Los Angeles Film Study program to pursue his dream of working in the film industry.
“I just love getting to make movies, whether I’m in California, Texas, New York, Chicago or even Atlanta. Who knows?” Holt said. “If I just end up teaching film somewhere or doing film production for some random corporation, that could be cool too.”