There’s a prominent motto on a wall at Rochester Institute of Technology’s MAGIC Spell Studios: “We Learn By Making Things.” This space is about the magical process of transforming artistic visions into realities.
Students can walk in with ideas for film and animation or games and digital media—then use state-of-the-art resources in the building to make it—and walk out with a marketable product. The space is also being used by industry for commercial use, because the new production resources rival those found in New York City and Los Angeles. MAGIC (which stands for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction & Creativity) houses a 7,000-square-foot film sound stage; a 180-seat movie theater; sound-mixing and color correction studios; game and media development labs; 2D and 3D animation labs; and an AR/VR room.
The new building opened in 2018. The massive sound stage, which meets the requirements for the New York state film tax credit, has been used to shoot commercials and films. MAGIC also provides resources and mentoring to encourage area indie developers to enter the growing games industry.
On October 5, MAGIC is hosting the Rochester Game Festival—the area’s only dedicated game convention—which is free and open to the public. Members of MAGIC are already putting Rochester on the map, helping RIT become the first university to publish a game to the Xbox One platform. Student game designers also created Crazy Platez, a Rochester-themed mobile game available on iOS and Google Play.
The collaborators on creation of the space included RIT, SWBR architects, M/E engineering and Welliver as the construction manager.