By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
Vū Technologies is a rapidly expanding, Tampa-based creator of disruptive virtual production studios for film and video that just opened its second location in January in West Nashville and followed-up on that opening with an even larger studio in Las Vegas last month.
We were intrigued with the concept of “virtual production,” so we took time during our trip to Nashville for Launch Tennessee’s “Innovation Week” to get a taste of one of Music City’s newest innovators and the capabilities housed in the 16,000 square foot facility. While substantial in size, the Nashville location is the smallest of the three with Tampa checking in at 35,000 square feet and Las Vegas at 40,000 square feet.
The demonstration of the technology during our visit reminded me of the old saying that “seeing is believing” as we watched several examples of backgrounds on the curved and massive high-resolution screen that can project all sorts of visuals. We saw one landscape example where the visualization went from morning to evening, and the weather changed from bright sunlight to rain and eventually snow.
And, when we say “massive,” we are not kidding. As described in this promotional material about the Nashville location, the measurements of the LED-powered screens total 123.25 feet wide by 19 feet 8 inches in height!
In a recent news release, Vū Technologies described its studios as “advanced sound stages utilizing value-added integration of proprietary and patented Vū technologies with key third-party vendor products, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, Mark Roberts Motion Control, and Mo-Sys motion tracking devices.”
What’s the benefit for a video producer or director? Tim Moore, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Vū Technologies, answered the question in a recent news release this way: “With our fully immersive, photorealistic virtual environments, we are empowering world-class directors and talent to shoot scenes as if they are on-location anywhere.” That means that Vū’s immersive virtual environments can allow scenes to be shot in a Vū studio rather than requiring travel to a specific location, saving both time and money.
“Vū’s network will forever change the filmmaking landscape, presenting limitless opportunities for creatives,” Moore has been quoted as saying in articles.
The company was spun off from Tampa’s Diamond View Studios in 2021 and had secured a $10 million seed investment commitment from Minneapolis-based ADX Labs Inc. in December just before opening the Nashville studio. According to this article, the investment valued Vū Technologies at $50 million. In March, the company closed that round at $17 million with additional investors.
How good is virtual production? The company has a webpage (click here) that lists five videos that were virtual productions, but unknown to most people.
Vū Technologies’ clients include Mercedes, Apple, Neiman Marcus and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE), according to the firm. By the end of 2022, the company plans to add campuses in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Stanford and Toledo.