APU Unveils Galileo Film Studio

by Jared Thornton '12

With the help of director Barbara Harrington and a private donor, Azusa Pacific University recently unveiled its newest addition, the Galileo Film Studio. What makes this studio stand out from others?—3D. That's right, the studio offers nearly everything a filmmaker needs to shoot a 3D movie including a camera, green screen, monitor, and lighting, and is available for students, church groups, and filmmakers to rent. On June 15, the studio hosted an opening to allow filmmakers to see the facilities and its available technology.

According to Harrington, the Galileo Film Studio is a high-tech addition and one more amenity APU can offer prospective and current students. Named for the Italian scholar Galileo, who was on the cutting-edge of science in his time, the studio strives to encourage forward thinking. Enabling students to use and explore cutting-edge 3D technology and shadow film shoots with outside groups gives them hands on experience in the field, making APU Theater, Film and Television graduates more marketable in the competitive entertainment industry. Harrington said that by 2014, the industry predicts 40 percent of movie theaters will be 3D theaters, reaching 80 percent by 2016.

Harrington believes the studio will also help students and other Christian filmmakers show that Christian filmmakers can compete with the “secular” world of the entertainment industry. "The term, ‘Christian filmmaker’ has often been a derogatory term because Christian filmmakers have been 20 years behind the trends of the ‘secular’ industry,” said Harrington. The studio aims to change that perception.

The Galileo Film studio has already caught the attention of some Hollywood technicians. Shannon Lynch, a senior Cinematic Arts Production major, was involved on a 3D film shoot, and worked alongside a specialist from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. “The more you meet industry standards, the more impact you have,” said Lynch.

One of the most prominent features in the studio is a green screen that covers two full walls. One side is 40 feet, while the adjacent side runs 35 feet. Where the two walls meet, a rounded corner was created, which allows filmmakers to shoot people moving in real time. Most studios have a considerably smaller green screen with no corner, forcing actors to pretend to move, which may not look as natural.

Harrington is excited to start renting out the studio now that it is complete, and looks forward to seeing more opportunities open up as a result, for APU and the film industry.