PITTSBURGH—In a notable example of the growing interest in virtual production services, the NEP Group has launched a new virtual production business, NEP Virtual Studios and has acquired the Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment.
The acquisitions will provide NEP with a group of experts and world-class talent to jumpstart its virtual production efforts.
These experts include entertainment industry veteran Cliff Plumer from Prysm Collective, who will lead the division, and Jeff Ruggels who will be senior vice president of finance and operations.
Phil Galler and Zach Alexander will serve as co-presidents of the Lux Machina NEP Business Unit.
Daniel Gregoire has been named executive creative director and Chris Ferriter will become the president of the Halon NEP Business Unit.
“The vision for NEP Virtual Studios is the same as we have for our Broadcast Services and Live Events businesses: to be the world leader in helping clients and creators bring their content to life,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, NEP Group. “When we first started talking to Prysm Collective we were amazed at how closely they were aligned with one of NEP’s newest strategic objectives of building out the leading global virtual production business. It was clear that joining forces would accelerate the path forward for NEP, Prysm, Lux Machina and Halon together.”
Sullivan also explained that “we’ve worked closely with many of the people in the new group before and know just how good they are. Having Cliff and the teams from Lux Machina and Halon on board adds some of the most experienced talent in the business to our existing world-class people, leading this charge into the future.”
Plumer, who will report to Sullivan, has more than 30 years of experience on the cutting edge of entertainment technology. He has served as CEO of visual effects studio Digital Domain, and as CTO of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. Plumer also served as the President of Jaunt Studios and CEO of THE VOID and has contributed to more than 100 Hollywood feature films and television series, including the Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Transformers franchises.
“I was looking for a partner to help scale the vision for Prysm Collective, and could not have found a more ideal match than NEP,” Plumer said. “One of the biggest hurdles to accelerating growth in the virtual production sector is that demand, both for stages and the hardware required to build them, is far exceeding supply, and joining forces with NEP gives us immediate access to a massive footprint and one of the strongest global production teams and set of resources in the industry.”
Prysm Collective, Lux Machina, Halon Entertainment and NEP all share significant experience with Unreal Engine integration, the companies said.
Prysm Collective is an Epic MegaGrant recipient for development of virtual production cloud workflows; Lux Machina has built multiple LED stages for Epic Games, consulting closely with Unreal Engine developers on new virtual production features; Halon is one of the earliest adopters of Unreal Engine for real-time film and television content creation; and NEP has been using Unreal Engine to service broadcast clients with real-time graphics for several years.
Lux Machina is a leader in developing and engineering technical video solutions for film and TV, broadcast, live events and permanent installations, NEP said. They specialize in virtual production, in-camera visual effects, display technologies and creative screen control solutions. Lux Machina is known for its pioneering work facilitating virtual production workflows and stage buildouts for “The Mandalorian: Season 1,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” The Oscars, The Emmys, League of Legends World Championship 2020 and many more projects across feature film, television, live events, fashion shows, and eSports.
“Since building the earliest LED stages that drove widespread industry adoption of virtual production in entertainment, we have been swimming upstream to meet the demand for the talent and technology that our team delivers in this space,” Galler explained. “This deal will allow us to scale globally and innovate new software and solutions to streamline virtual production with the industry’s most influential players by our side. We have worked with NEP for many years and are excited to have access to their breadth of technical and creative resources,”
Halon Entertainment is a full-service visualization company offering animation, design services, virtual art department, real-time solutions, and robust project management systems to help clients bring their creative visions to screen. Working with major content owners, creators and VFX houses, Halon has contributed real time visualization to productions such as “The Mandalorian: Season 1,” “The Batman, Suicide Squad” and many other game, film and television productions.
“As one of the first creative companies to specialize in visualization for film, tv and games, we were well-positioned to make the leap into real time workflows,” explained Gregoire. “Our work in virtual production and providing virtual art department services has exploded in the past two years. Partnering with Lux, Prysm, and joining the NEP family is incredibly exciting and we look forward to helping define how the next generation of content creation will evolve.”
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.
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