PITTSBURGH, PA — NEP Group (nepgroup.com), a technology partner for content creators, has launched a new virtual production business segment called NEP Virtual Studios, as well as brought on board leaders in realtime production with the acquisition of Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment. Cliff Plumer will lead the new operation, with Jeff Ruggels serving as SVP of finance and operations; Phil Galler and Zach Alexander acting as co-presidents of the Lux Machina NEP Business Unit; and Daniel Gregoire and Chris Ferriter serving as executive creative director and president, respectively, of the Halon NEP Business Unit.
With the rise in streaming services and consumers demanding content at a faster pace, producers are under significant time and cost pressure to deliver. Virtual production processes enable directors and creative staff to see an entire scene, complete with visual effects and CG enhancements, live on-set, and to restage, revise digital sets, make lighting changes, adjust camera angles on the spot. This ability to iterate shots interactively has transformed the way movies and shows are being made, speeding-up collaboration and production, and opening new creative options and solutions, all while reducing costs. In addition, carbon footprints can be reduced by eliminating the need for travel and physical set construction.
At the same time NEP was targeting opportunities to expand its existing virtual production business, Plumer was building a coalition of creative production and technology specialists to deliver a streamlined virtual production solution. Prysm Collective partnered with Lux Machina and visualization specialist Halon Entertainment in that effort, and by now joining forces with NEP, enable an accelerated path to realizing both the NEP and Prysm strategic visions.
“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,” explains 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.
“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 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.
Prysm Collective, Lux Machina, Halon Entertainment and NEP all share significant experience with Unreal Engine integration. 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 realtime film and television content creation; and NEP has been using Unreal Engine to service broadcast clients with realtime graphics for several years.
“This unification of awesome technical and creative talent is a testament to realtime technology's essential role in the future of film and television production,” says Kim Libreri, CTO, Epic Games. “The teams coming together today have been at the forefront of Unreal Engine storytelling for broadcast, movies and immersive experiences, and we look forward to seeing what they will create,”
Lux Machina is a leader in developing and engineering technical video solutions for film and TV, broadcast, live events and permanent installations. 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 build-outs 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, eSports, and more.
Halon Entertainment is a full-service visualization company offering animation, design services, virtual art department, realtime 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 realtime visualization to productions such as The Mandalorian: Season 1, The Batman, Suicide Squad and many other game, film and television productions.
NEP has production-proven expertise in display technology and many aspects of virtual production, and the largest footprint and depth of display capabilities worldwide, with an existing inventory of almost 60,000 square meters of LED, and operations across 25 countries. Virtual production presents a huge opportunity and, together with its private equity partner The Carlyle Group, NEP is committed to investing in the roll out of new cloud-based workflow products, services and a global network of stages to grow its presence in the film and TV entertainment market.