Entrepreneur purchases controlling interest in Lucasfilm spinoff

Entrepreneur Eric Edmeades has purchased a controlling interest in Lucasfilm spinoff Kerner Group and has assumed the CEO role there.

Kerner Group began as the former Industrial Light & Magic models-and-miniatures shop. Its businesses also extend to advanced video compression software called FrameFree and 3-D camera rigs for stereoscopic movies. In addition, Kerner has plans for a 3-D TV network.

Terms for the acquisition were not disclosed. Edmeades closed the deal and assumed the CEO post last week.

Kerner’s current management will otherwise remain in place.

Edmeades told Daily Variety that the deals for Kerner’s 3-D broadcasting plans (Daily Variety, April 15) had to be put on hold while he completed his acquisition. He said those efforts are now being resumed, though what approach Kerner will take to 3-D broadcasting is still being investigated.

“We are also getting back into film production,” said Edmeades, “which is something that Kerner largely left behind when it left the Lucasfilm family. We are excited about getting back to moviemaking and, of course, we will be focusing on live-action 3-D feature films and, when the time comes, television programming.”

The company’s FrameFree compression software is also going to be applied to 3-D, he said.

“The next release of FrameFree will allow anyone who wants to get in on 3-D to produce HD commercials in 3-D that can be shown in cinemas, on the coming 3-D laptops or in homes as the 3-D home cinema industry takes off,” Edmeades said.

“Nothing is more convincing than a genuine explosion or a genuine textured practical effect combined with great composition and CG,” he said.

Edmeades also said the surging number of 3-D titles will create demand for high-quality 3-D camera rigs, which are in short supply.

Kerner’s staff, most of whom have been there for many years, have extended their experience in electronics and engineering to fields far beyond f/x. For example, their creature shop is working on extremely lifelike dummies for training combat medics, and their electronics experts are working on a new approach to autostereo (3-D without glasses) flatscreen monitors.

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