Rochester Institute of Technology’s MAGIC Spell Studios facility opened this week. The Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity studio, a Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council priority project, will allow RIT to bring together the academic programs and high-tech experimental facilities needed for technology development and commercially viable startup activity.

David Long, right, director of MAGIC Spell Studios, said that its goals include incubating startup companies. Photo credit: A. Sue Weisler

The facility is the university’s creative approach to the convergence of digital media disciplines, including film and animation and game design and development, and is a first-of-its kind effort in higher education. It is also expected to foster entrepreneurial activity for area startup companies, retain graduates, and create an industry hub with tremendous growth potential to generate new jobs in the region.

“MAGIC Spell Studios will be a wonderful resource for our students and also will serve as an economic engine for the Finger Lakes region and New York State,” said RIT President David Munson. “The programs, labs, and studios in MAGIC Spell will help build and retain a vibrant workforce and send exciting products into the marketplace.”

The $34 million project is supported by $13.5 million in state incentives, including a $12 million capital grant from Empire State Development and $1.5 million from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. RIT also received $3 million from Dell, $12.4 million from Cisco Systems Inc., $1.5 million from The Wegman Family Charitable Foundation and $1 million from RIT Trustee and Datto founder Austin McChord, a 2009 graduate of the college.

MAGIC Spell Studios features:

  • A state-of-the-art, 7,000-square foot sound stage;
  • A 180 seat movie theater with a projection booth;
  • A cinema-quality audiovisual system;
  • Sound mixing and color correction rooms;
  • Numerous labs and production facilities that will help support RIT’s designation as a NYSTAR funded Center of Excellence digital gaming hub; and
  • An innovation zone that mixes faculty, staff, students, technology and infrastructure across programs from the School of Film and Animation, the School of Interactive Games and Media, and the RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC Center).