Entertainment technology is the discipline of using manufactured or created components to enhance or make possible any sort of entertainment experience. Because entertainment categories are so broad, and because entertainment models the world in many ways, the types of implemented technology are derived from a variety of sources. Thus, in theatre, for example, entertainment technology practitioners must be able to design and construct scenery, install electrical systems, build clothing, use motors if there is scenery automation, provide plumbing (if functioning kitchen fixtures are required, or if "singing in the rain"), etc. In this way, the entertainment technology field intersects with most other types of technology.
Traditionally, entertainment technology is derived from theatrical stagecraft, and stagecraft is an important subset of the discipline. However, the rise of new types and venues for entertainment, as well as rapidly advancing technological development, has increased the range and scope of its practice.
Entertainment Technology includes:
- Scenery fabrication
- Show control
- Interactive environments
- Computer simulation
In animation and game design the phrase entertainment technology refers to a very real world of entertainment experiences made possible by the advent of primarily computer-mediated digital technologies.
Traditionally, people interested in careers in this field either presented themselves as apprentices within craft unions, or attended college programs in theatre technology. Although both are appropriate in limited ways, the growing world of entertainment technology encompasses many different types of performance and display environments than the theatre. To this end, newer opportunities have arisen that provide a wider educational base than these more traditional environments. A seminal article "Rethinking Entertainment Technology Education" by John Huntington describes new teaching philosophies that resonate with the need for a richer and more flexible educational environment.
"We need to bridge the worlds of ivory-tower theatre education
with the commercial world of live entertainment production. I believe this bridge would be beneficial not just to the technical students, but to the whole art of performance. When high-tech systems such as video, moving lights, computerized sound, mechanized scenery and show control are mastered by even average entertainment technicians, they can advance the state of their craft, which will allow artists to advance the state oftheir art."
Schools that offer programs or degrees in entertainment technology include:
- Carnegie Mellon University - Entertainment Technology Center
- New York City College of Technology Department of Entertainment Technology
- University of Southern California Entertainment Technology Center
- Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
- Entertainment Technology Training in New Zealand
Currently, the only university offering a degree specifically in Entertainment Engineering and Design (EED) is the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). Because UNLV's program is in its infancy, current entertainment technologists come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds, the most prevalent of which are theater and mechanical technology. Several other institutions of higher education offer similar programs for entertainment related ventures.
A bachelor's degree in these areas will typicalfew specialized classes.
- Huntington, John (2002). "Rethinking Entertainment Technology Education". Theatre Design and Technology Magazine, Vol 38 No. 4. Retrieved 2008-05-25.