August 6, 2021
NEP Group is buying three companies in order to offer virtual production (VP) services for films, TV and interactive exhibits. Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment will form NEP Virtual Studios, a new division that, says NEP Group chief strategy officer Carrie Galvin, will be “a technical and creative services partner for content creators around the globe.” She added that NEP’s existing virtual production tools “start at the creative stage” and include special effects, augmented reality, and LED stages.
VentureBeat reports that the new acquisitions will “enable NEP to accelerate its service offering to Hollywood studios and feature film/television production companies.” Entertainment veteran Cliff Plumer will lead the new division “alongside finance and operations exec Jeff Ruggels, Phil Galler and Zach Alexander [who] are co-presidents of the Lux Machina NEP Business Unit.”
In addition, “Daniel Gregoire will be executive creative director and Chris Ferriter will be president of the Halon NEP Business Unit.” Plumer, who had been building a coalition of virtual production companies, said that, “he was looking for a partner to help scale the vision for Prysm Collective, and he found an ideal match in NEP,” which provides “immediate access to a massive footprint.”
All three companies have had “significant experience” with Epic’s Unreal Engine. Halon is one of the game engine’s first adopters for TV and film content; Lux Machina built many LED stages for Epic Games; and Prysm Collective is an Epic MegaGrant recipient for developing virtual production cloud workflows.
Epic Games chief technology officer Kim Libreri said that, “the unification of technical and creative talent in the deal shows real-time technology’s essential role in the future of film and TV production.” Unreal Engine 5 will launch early next year.
Lux Machina has facilitated “virtual production workflows and stage build-outs” for notable series, awards programs and gaming championships, among other projects. As a visualization company, Halon Entertainment offers “animation, design services, virtual art department, real-time solutions and project management systems.”
NEP, founded in 1986, offers expertise is in display technology and has “an existing inventory of almost 60,000 square meters of light-emitting diode (LED) screens and operations across 25 countries.”
Deadline reports that Warner Bros. and Netflix have also set up “dedicated VP sites,” which they are using to shoot Netflix’s “1899,” Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder,” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania.”
For more details about NEP’s Virtual Production unit, click here.