The NEP group acquires 3 companies as it moves into the production of virtual films

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NEP Group puts great images on concert screens and other screens. And today the company acquires three companies as part of the drive towards virtual production of films, television and interactive exhibitions.

Pittsburgh-based NEP has created a new division, NEP Virtual Studios, which includes the acquired companies: Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment. This is good for Epic Games, the creator of Unreal Engine, which has expanded as a tool beyond games to the movies.

NEP does not become a production house. He will continue to be a technical and creative services partner for content creators around the world, Carrie Galvin, strategy director for NEP Group, said in an email to GamesBeat.

“This agreement accelerates NEP virtual production solutions that begin in the creative stage and end with an exceptional execution [special effects], augmented reality, LED stages and more, ”Galvin said.

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Above: NEP Group has acquired Lux ​​Machina.

Image credit: NEP Group

These offerings allow NEP to accelerate its offering of services to Hollywood studios and feature film and television production companies. NEP Virtual Studios will operate as a service provider, from LED phases to providing visualization services and virtual art department to productions. Customers will be studios and production companies from all over the world.

Entertainment industry veteran Cliff Plumer will lead the new division alongside finance and operations executive Jeff Ruggels. Phil Galler and Zach Alexander are co-chairs of the Lux Machina NEP business unit; Daniel Gregoire will be the executive creative director and Chris Ferriter will be the president of the Halon NEP Business Unit.

With the rise of streaming services and consumers demanding content at a faster rate than ever before, producers are under significant time and cost pressures to deliver. Virtual production processes allow directors and creative staff to “see” an entire scene with live visual effects and computer-generated enhancements on set, and reset, review digital sets, make lighting changes, adjust angles from the camera and more at the time.

This ability to iterate captures interactively has transformed the way we make films and shows, accelerating collaboration and production, and opening up new options and creative solutions, while reducing costs and often even carbon footprint reducing travel and the construction of physical sets.

At the top: placement of LED lights for a great show.

Image credit: NEP Group

At the same time that NEP was looking for opportunities to expand its existing virtual production business, Plumer was creating a coalition of creative production and technology specialists to deliver a streamlined virtual production solution. Prysm Collective partnered with pioneering Lux Machina and visual leader Halon Entertainment in this endeavor. Now these companies are joining NEP and merging their visions.

Plumer has over 30 years of experience in entertainment technology. He has been executive director of the Digital Domain visual effects studio and head of technology at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. Plumer was also president of Jaunt Studios and CEO of The Void virtual reality centers. He has collaborated on more than 100 Hollywood feature films and television series, including Harry Potter, pirates of the caribbean, i Transformers franchises.

Plumer said in a statement that he was looking for a partner to help broaden Prysm Collective’s vision and found an ideal match at NEP. One of the most important obstacles to accelerating the growth of the virtual production sector is that demand, both for phases and for the hardware needed to build them, far exceeds supply, he said. Joining NEP gives you immediate access to a massive footprint and one of the world’s strongest production teams in the industry, he added.

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine 5 can capture an open world.

Above: Unreal Engine 5 can capture an open world.

Image credit: Epic Games

Prysm Collective, Lux Machina, Halon Entertainment and NEP share significant experience with Unreal Engine integration. Prysm Collective is an Epic MegaGrant recipient for developing workflows in the virtual production cloud. 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 first Unreal Engine adopters to create real-time movie and TV content. And NEP uses Unreal Engine to serve streaming customers with real-time graphics for several years.

Kim Libreri, chief technology officer at Epic Games, said in a statement that the unification of technical and creative talent in the deal shows the essential role of real-time technology in the future of film and television production. Teams coming together today are at the forefront of Unreal Engine’s narrative for broadcast, movies, and immersive experiences, he said. Unreal Engine 5 is in early access and will be released next year.

Lux Machine

Lux Machina performs technical video solutions for film and television, broadcasting, live events and permanent installations. The team specializes in virtual production, in-camera visual effects, display technologies and creative screen control solutions. Lux Machina is known for its pioneering work in facilitating virtual production workflows and creating scenarios The Mandalorian, Solo: A Star Wars story, The Oscars, The Emmys, League of Legends World Championship 2020 and many more projects in feature films, television, live events, fashion shows, sports and more.

Halon Entertainment

ILM used Unreal Engine to build virtual sets that then projected onto giant LED walls.

At the top: ILM used Unreal Engine to build virtual sets that then projected onto giant LED walls.

Image credit: ILM

Halon Entertainment is a visualization company that offers animation, design services, virtual art department, real-time solutions and project management systems to help clients showcase their creative visions. Working with leading content owners, creators and VFX houses, Halon has contributed to real-time viewing of productions such as The Mandalorian, The Batman, He committed suicide, and many other productions of games, movies, and television.

NEP has experience in display technology and many aspects of virtual production, and the world’s largest display capacity and screen depth, with an existing inventory of nearly 60,000 square feet of screens and light-emitting diode (LED) operations. in 25 countries. Virtual production presents a great opportunity and, together with its private equity partner The Carlyle Group, NEP invests in the deployment of new cloud-based products, services and workflows to increase its presence in film entertainment and television. market.

“We provide services across the entire end-to-end workflow and value chain,” Galvin said.

Founded in 1986, NEP has more than 4,000 employees.

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