NYU to open state-of-the-art ‘Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center’ at Industry City

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New York University will open a massive new film production studio at Industry City next year.
File photo courtesy of Industry City

New York University will open a new, state-of-the art film virtual production facility named for legendary director Martin Scorsese at Industry City next year, the school announced on Thursday — further strengthening the film industry’s presence in Brooklyn.

The 45,658-square-foot Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center, named for the famed director of “Goodfellas” and “Taxi Driver,” will sit on the top floor of Building 8 at the Sunset Park Complex. Outfitted with two massive sound stages, and a pair of television studios plus broadcast and control rooms, dressing rooms, offices, and training spaces, the facility will offer next-level tech to NYU film students and faculty — and opens the door for collaborations with the city’s top production companies.

Construction of the center will be funded by a large donation in Scorsese’s name from the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, an organization headed in part by “Star Wars” director George Lucas. The donation — the largest in the history of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts — created the Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts, which includes the new production center and the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies at Tisch. 

“The foundation’s generosity has allowed us to begin building the Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center, a place where our filmmakers, actors, dancers, and designers will push forward the boundaries of storytelling,” Allyson Green, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, said. “We feel very fortunate to be joining the innovative community of makers and creators within Industry City. The partnerships we forge, along with the inspiring legacy of Martin Scorsese, will make it possible for the Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center to become a place that fuels the development of new and exciting talent in all areas of the cinematic arts for NYU Tisch students and for the New York City film industry at large.”

Before he became one of the world’s most famous directors, Scorsese earned his bachelor’s degree from NYU in 1964, then his master’s degree in 1968. Years later, he was awarded an honorary degree from the school, and serves as a member of the Tisch School’s Dean’s Council. 

When it opens in 2024, the Center will help pioneer the next generation of movie technology — it will be one of the first facilities of its kind on the east coast. Virtual production takes a step further than traditional moviemaking. Whereas big action sequences currently are often filmed in front of a green screen, with characters, backgrounds, and effects added in post-production, virtual cinema brings those elements to life during filming. Augmented and virtual reality software, video game engines, and camera techniques allow actors and directors to work with virtual effects in real time, in the studio

That allows directors to plan their shots more precisely, while actors can interact with their surroundings face-to-face, rather than trying to imagine them on an empty soundstage. Virtual production can also cut costs, by reducing the need to shoot on-location and the cost of post-production.

Industry City is a natural fit for a pioneering studio named after a legendary filmmaker — the campus already houses production companies, set design workshops, film equipment companies, and more. NYU already has one facility there — the Veterans Future Lab, where members of the military can learn to establish and grow small businesses. 

“Congratulations to NYU Tisch School of the Arts on the establishment of the Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center, the first of its kind on the East Coast, cementing NYC’s role as the premier center for cinema studies and film production,” said NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “We are thrilled with this exciting addition to the Industry City campus, which is a fast-growing hub for creativity and innovation.”

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