NantStudios, a leading technology-driven virtual production studio based in Los Angeles, announced that the company, through its wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, has built two new LED in-camera VFX stages at Docklands Studios located in Melbourne, Australia, and will operate the world’s largest LED volume. The construction includes a 40-foot tall radiused wall of 6,000 ROE panels running 289 feet on a 25,000 square-foot stage and a huge 59’ x 39’ x 10’ deep water tank in its center.
UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, and Matchbox Pictures chose NantStudios as the virtual production vendor for upcoming projects set to shoot in the State of Victoria. The NantStudios stages will be available to local and international productions considering locating in Australia’s State of Victoria. NantStudios is led by Michele B. Chan Soon-Shiong, President; Gary Marshall, VP, of Virtual Production; and Keaton Heinrichs, VP, of Operations & Business Development, and is part of the NantWorks ecosystem of companies.
The company offers fully integrated services, including digital asset creation, AI machine learning expertise, motion control, consulting, performance capture, and on-set operations. NantStudios is led by a global award-winning team and integrated with a secure layer one fiber network, with a family of issued patents covering cloud hybrid fabric, machine vision, and computing technologies.
Comprising cinema-grade displays and large clusters of VFX render hardware, LED volumes have caused a seismic shift in media production methodologies in film, TV, and commercial production. The ability to generate photorealistic 3D environments and visual effects on set in real-time delivers unparalleled creative flexibility.
“We are thrilled to bring the next generation of film and television production to Australia,” says Soon-Shiong. “Building on our studios’ success in Los Angeles, the NantStudios technology team has engineered a truly next-generation LED stage design. We are honored that UCP will be the first to utilize our stages in Melbourne.”
We are thrilled to bring the next generation of film and television production to Australia.Michele B. Chan Soon-Shiong, President of NantStudios
The state-of-the-art volume will incorporate a fully articulating ceiling architecture that can be dynamically manipulated directly from proprietary 3D software to craft and shape light as an integrated component of typical production lighting. The facility will accommodate a large immersive set and multiple sets simultaneously using modular wall sections to partition smaller footprints built within its ample volume. The second LED stage will stand 26 feet tall and offer the same articulating ceiling design, perfect for small to medium-sized set pieces and moving vehicle scenes.
“We are so excited about the infrastructure and cutting-edge technology NantStudios is bringing to Docklands Studios Melbourne,” says Matt Vitins, Chief Operating Officer of Matchbox Pictures, part of Universal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group.
“We are thrilled at what is coming together for our immediate pipeline of international projects, but the broader aim is to make Melbourne a hub for virtual production in the southern hemisphere. In this, it is incredible to have the commitment and technical talent of NantStudios, following on from the considerable enthusiasm and support of VicScreen, the Victorian Government, and the Australian Government,” Vitins adds.
“NantStudios’ commitment to expanding in Australia is a testament to the technology and its impact on the industry in such a short time,” says Heinrichs. “The Victorian Screen Incentive has created a compelling financial rationale to enhance Melbourne’s reputation as an international production hub. We are fortunate to be working with UCP, Matchbox Pictures, and VicScreen in helping launch the stages with one of the world’s most significant and technically ambitious screen productions.”
“The marriage of the creative juggernaut of UCP’s projects and the novel technology NantStudios will implement in Melbourne is a dream partnership. We are braced to redraw the frontiers of virtual production once again, and we look forward to bringing this technology and services to all productions shooting in the region,” says Marshall.
VicScreen CEO Caroline Pitcher says, “Together, VicScreen, Nant, UCP, Matchbox Pictures, and Docklands Studios Melbourne are pioneering a new frontier in virtual production, delivering the next installment of sophisticated and dynamic LED stages backed a world-class team of technicians. The build includes the largest permanent LED volume in the world, creating a multitude of new possibilities for both local and international productions, allowing the most ambitious and imaginative stories to be brought to life in Melbourne.
”Docklands Studios Melbourne CEO Antony Tulloch adds, “The scale and functionality of the NantStudios LED stages will energize the whole Docklands Studio offering. We look forward to seeing the impressive visuals, local talent development, and industry growth flowing from the ambitious projects currently slated.”