Virtual production - the process of filming on bluescreen stages with virtual sets, as used for films such as Avatar and The Jungle Book - has become one of the fastest-developing areas of visual effects.
With that in mind, 20th Century Fox Film has acquired virtual production and facial capture tool developer Technoprops, signing a multiyear agreement with the company's founder, Glenn Derry, who will serve as vp visual effects and oversee virtual production efforts.
Technoprops will operate as Fox VFX Lab and the division is planning to open a virtual production facility and new headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Derry - who has contributed to the virtual production processes used on films such as Avatar and The Jungle Book - will report to John Kilkenny, president VFX.
"Technoprops is quite simply the entertainment industry's top shop in the world of virtual production tools and real-time visualization techniques," Kilkenny said in a statement. "From the biggest directorial names in film to the hottest videogame designers, Glenn Derry has collaborated with innumerable major players in the creative community, and we couldn't be more excited to have him join Fox to run the newly created Fox VFX Lab."
While production on James Cameron's Avatar sequels for Fox was not mentioned in the announcement, shooting is expected to begin in the fall.