New studio lights the way as Cairns eyes movie production

Published:05 December 2018

TOP: Recent CQUniversity Digital Media graduate Shelley Cullen says the new CQUni Cairns studio is a very exciting development. BELOW: Info Evening participants enjoyed a screening of the award-winning short film Gus by Queensland animator and CQUni Lecturer, Andrew Martin.

While Cairns is still preparing its pitch for a movie sound stage enabling it to compete for major productions, a new digital media studio could at least pave the way by boosting the local talent pool.

That’s according to Associate Professor Steve Pace, Head of Digital Media at CQUniversity and winner of several state and national awards in his field.

Dr Pace says the new facilities, scheduled for completion by March 2019, should galvanise interest in courses including video, animation and visual design.

“We will have a cutting-edge computer lab, a media production studio, a chroma-key infinity wall, a lighting rig, an audio-visual control room, a multi-camera production system, and a sound-recording booth,” Dr Pace says.

“We currently have Digital Media students in Cairns via distance education but the physical facility should really focus interest in this field. There are natural cross-overs with our Cairns-based Creative Arts students doing acting and popular music too.”

CQUniversity’s Digital Media academics recently earned a University-wide Opal Award for a decade of work-integrated-learning projects, enabling students to help community clients source resources including documentary videos, mobile application proofs-of-concept, 2D and 3D animations, and social-history recordings for museum-augmented reality hotspots.

Recent CQUniversity Digital Media graduate Shelley Cullen says the new CQUni Cairns studio is a very exciting development, especially for people wanting to work in the creative industry.

“Web design is the area I'm most keen on currently, but I've also gained skills in areas including film, illustration, visual design, and animation, so there are synergies there,” Ms Cullen says.

“Attracting more creative projects to Cairns will mean more creative work. I think it's very cool! So, I will definitely be keeping a keen eye on this one in the meantime of looking for job opportunities and working on some projects to sharpen my skills.”

Current Digital Media student Courtney Billing says he’s been thinking about the wider range of opportunities that a movie industry could offer.

“I was recently listening to a podcast in which a graphic designer explained her role designing all the pieces that might be found on a movie set, from notebooks to office stationery to posters, all unique to the film she was working on,” Mr Billing said.

“There's far more than just sound and video production. It would be great for a wide range of professions.

“North Queensland has a huge range of scenery and environments to choose from. Mountains, jungles, rivers, islands, the Tablelands etc. Having a high-quality production facility in close proximity to all that would make it an attractive place for companies to consider setting up.

“Studying digital media through CQUni exposes you to a wide range of subjects and technologies, so it could have someone well placed to find a support role in that industry.

“It would also be invaluable to learn on a real project, so partnerships between the Uni and production companies should be a major goal.”