Kerner shifts focus to 3D

Former ILM company re-organizes

A year after changing hands, Lucasfilm spinoff Kerner Technologies has reorganized to focus on 3D technology and production.

Among its new initiatives: a production fund for financing 3D pictures.

As part of the reorg, Kerner has set aside or dropped some of its early efforts, including its FrameFree software, an “autostereo” monitor (3D without glasses) and plans for a 3D network via satellite TV.

Now to be known as the Kerner Group, the company owned by entrepreneur Eric Edmeades will have multiple divisions.

  • KernerFX is the new monicker for what had been Kerner Optical, the former models and miniatures shop of Industrial Light & Magic. “We’ll stay focused on our specialty of destruction,” Kerner Group prexy Tim Partridge said. Brian Gernand will oversee KernerFX with the title of senior creative director. Geoff Heron is practical effects supervisor.

    Company is adding limited digital vfx services to its offerings, mainly to enhance and work in tandem with its practical f/x work.

  • Kerner 3D Technologies refocuses the company’s advanced electronics and rig-building efforts on stereoscopic 3D.

    The outfit is working on new Kernercam rigs for 3D capture and promises more developments in that area. Engineer Greg Beaumonte, also a longtime ILM vet, is co-designer of the Kernercam 3D system. Deployment of early Kernercam 3D systems remains limited, though the rig was used by David Arquette on his short “The Butler’s In Love,” which will screen at the Hollyshorts fest at the DGA HQ in Los Angeles Aug. 5.

    Kerner will be showing its rig at the DGA’s “Digital Day” on July 31.

  • Kerner Studios makes the soundstages and production gear on Kerner’s San Rafael campus available for rent for shooting, particularly

    for 3D productions.

Other divisions: Commercial Production; Corporate and Government Research; Model and Miniature Design for nonentertainment clients; and a group dedicated to production of original 3D film and television projects.

“We currently have three projects that we’re either producing or co-producing,” Edmeades said.

The Kerner Group is in conversations with interested investors, Edmeades said, noting that investors may have the opportunity to put money into the business directly or into a 3D film fund.Kerner has shelved its work on FrameFree, a potentially revolutionary method for recording and distributing video, pending a re-org at the Japanese company that holds some underlying patents, said Edmeades.

Kerner Optical began as Industrial Light & Magic, but as ILM’s digital business outgrew its practical f/x shop, George Lucas the sold the original ILM in a management buyout. That became Kerner.

Kerner Technologies sprang up as the company branched out into advanced electronics.

Edmeades acquired a majority stake in the company and became CEO in 2009. Among the other key personnel for the Kerner Group are Partridge, who was hired by Edmeades after helping develop Dolby’s 3D exhibition system, and executive producer Rose Duignan, a longtime ILM marketing vet and TV producer.