UT RTF department introduces country’s first 3-D production program

Klarissa Fitzpatrick

A new 3-D production program in the radio-television-film department will challenge students to take 3-D filming to another dimension.

The program will begin fall 2013, with a $2.17 million grant from the Moody Foundation for the next five years. Associate professor Don Howard will direct the program, which is the first of its kind in the country. Although a concrete curriculum has not been announced, courses will be taught on campus and at the Moody Theatre, during filmings of Austin City Limits Live.

“That theater has been turned in — in the last few months — to the best permanent 3-D production facility in the country,” Howard said. “This is a production program so it’s pretty much a professional thing.”

Although the program will have a permanent staff, many courses will be taught by working professionals from Los Angeles. Most peoples’ exposure to 3-D productions has been through large-budget films, but Howard said the curriculum will focus on all types of production.

“Our program is going to be built not just around movie production, but we’re going to be shooting documentaries and sports stuff, [and] we’ll probably shoot some dance stuff [as well],” Howard said. “A lot of it will be kind of a lab atmosphere, where we’re going to give people different challenges and let them use the equipment to see how it can be best used.”

To construct the program, Howard collaborated with UT alumnus Wayne Miller, a radio-television-film graduate who currently owns a 3-D production company in Los Angeles. Because Howard has never worked with 3-D production himself, Miller will bring his expertise and connections in Los Angeles to the program.

“The world is changing quickly in terms of production and consumption of our entertainment,” Miller said. “And 3-D is a format medium that’s growing pretty quickly into a very prevalent format of the future, to where all of our displays and televisions and tablets and phones will have the glasses-free capability.”

The program is open to undergraduate radio-television-film students, who have a basic background in production, Howard said.

“We’re expecting this program to be pretty competitive, as far as getting into it,” Howard said. “We have a significant number of spots but it’s pretty limited. So I’m just hoping that people with all kinds of experience and interests will be applying.”

Becca Rushworth, TSTV manager and radio-television-film senior, said while she is excited to see the department expanding classes rather than cutting them, she believes 3-D production is a fad.

“I want to go into television, and 3-D TVs are not going to sell well because the accessories are far too expensive to enjoy,” Rushworth said. “While 3-D sports on ESPN look super high-definition, it’s a product I don’t believe many viewers would be interested in.”

Published on March 4, 2013 as "RTF production course teaches 3-D techniques".