Since 2009, movie shoots have pumped $300 million into the regional economy, so it makes sense to attract more high-tech and post-production work here, too. Last Monday, Pittsburgh entered a new phase in its relationship with Hollywood. Four movie-making entities announced an alliance that will make the region even more appealing to future productions.
The 31st Street Studios in the Strip District will host Paramount On Location, the special effects giant Knight Vision and classes for Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center. CMU students will work on high-tech movie productions in a 300,000-square-foot space on 10 acres along the Allegheny River.
Knight Vision is best known for its spectacular digital effects on "Avatar," the highest-grossing film of all time. Knight Vision 31, the Pittsburgh division, promises even more innovation. The company's founder was attracted to the project because of the opportunity to work with CMU's Entertainment Technology Center.
Paramount On Location, a division of the Paramount Studio Group, will be the regional base for supplying lights, rigging and equipment to movie shoots in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. Together, these four groups bring a formidable alliance of skills, resources and experience.
The region has been fortunate to have the leadership of the Pittsburgh Film Office laying the foundation for this alliance by attracting so much business in the first place. The administrations of former Gov. Ed Rendell and now Gov. Tom Corbett also deserve credit for helping the film industry bloom in Western Pennsylvania.