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Sony Pictures Launches Innovation Studios Facility (EXCLUSIVE)

Sony Pictures Entertainment is in the process of building out a new state-of-the-art digital technology facility dubbed Innovation Studios, which is scheduled to open later this fall. Innovation Studios is being housed on the Sony Pictures lot in Culver City, Calif., and is designed to bring advanced technologies like volumetric capture to filmmakers, TV show producers and even Hollywood outsiders.

The facility is being led by Glenn Gainor, who has been named Innovation Studios president in addition to his existing leadership role at Sony’s Screen Gems division.

“Sony has some magnificent technology,” Gainor told Variety this week. Innovation Studios now wants to combine some of the tech that Sony has been developing on the entertainment and technology side of the business with tech and expertise from partners including Deloitte Digital, Dell and Intel, with the latter two supplying some of the computing hardware and other technology used at the facility.

Innovation Studios will offer creatives the ability to scan film sets, and then reuse them as digital assets in future productions. This is effectively doing away with the need to rebuild assets by the time a film’s sequel is being made, and will even allow producers to capture a set halfway around the world, and then use it to shoot scenes back in Culver City.

“If I can compress geography, we can help producers of TV shows shoot locations that were off-limits before,” Gainor said, adding: “This will be technology that will be affordable for lower-budget TV shows.”

There are also plans to support volumetric capture, which can be used to record holographic content for virtual and augmented reality applications.

Innovation Studios is being positioned as a research and development facility, but one with a real impact on actual productions. “It’s not an experiment, not a toy, but a tool,” said Gainor about the tech that is going to be used in the space. The goal was not to come up with moonshot bets, but technology with actual impact on the studio’s work. “We want to be practical,” he said.

Sony also wants to give outsiders access to its tools, which could include educators as well as industries like health care and retail. “We want to share — that’s the bottom line,” said Gainor.

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