NEP Announces NEP Virtual Studios

The new business segment incorporates the company's recent acquisitions Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment.

NEP Group has launched NEP Virtual Studios, a new virtual-production (VP) business segment that incorporates the company’s recent acquisitions Prysm CollectiveLux Machina and Halon Entertainment.

Cliff Plumer will lead the new venture; Jeff Ruggels 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, and Daniel Gregoire and Chris Ferriter will serve as executive creative director and president, respectively, of the Halon NEP Business Unit.

VP 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 and adjust camera angles on the spot. This ability to iterate shots interactively has transformed the way motion pictures are made, speeding up collaboration and production and opening new creative solutions while eliminating the need for travel and entirely physical set construction.

“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,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO of NEP Group. “When we 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 VP business. It was clear that joining forces would accelerate the path forward for NEP, Prysm, Lux Machina and Halon together.

Plumer has more than 30 years of experience in entertainment technology. His past positions include CEO of Digital Domain and CTO of Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic.

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 VP cloud workflows; Lux Machina has built multiple LED stages for Epic Games, consulting with Unreal Engine developers on new VP features; Halon is an early adopter 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.

“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,” says Kim Libreri, CTO, Epic Games. 

Lux Machina develops and engineers technical video solutions for film and TV, broadcast, live events and permanent installations. The company is known for facilitating VP workflows and stage buildouts for The Mandalorian: Season 1Solo: A Star Wars StoryThe OscarsThe Emmys and League of Legends World Championship 2020, among other projects.

“Since building the earliest LED stages, we have been swimming upstream to meet the demand for the talent and technology that our team delivers in this space,” says Galler. “This deal will allow us to scale globally and innovate new software and solutions to streamline VP 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 project-management systems. The company has contributed real-time visualization to such productions as The Mandalorian: Season 1The Batman and Suicide Squad

“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,” says Gregoire. “Our work has exploded in the past two years. Joining the NEP family is incredibly exciting, and we look forward to helping define how the next generation of content creation will evolve.” 

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