A visual effects studio which has worked on BBC’s Poldark and Netflix series The Innocents has had its first virtual production commissioned after receiving vital grant support during the pandemic.
Award-winning company Lexhag VFX which has offices in Norwich and London, applied for a grant from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Growth Through Innovation Fund so it could investigate a virtual production studio.
Used most famously in Disney’s Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, this is an emerging and complex method of filmmaking which requires numerous specialist skills and can be expensive.
After being awarded a grant of £24,995, Lexhag was able to carry out a feasibility study and work with the best specialists in the industry without jeopardising the business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Founder and Creative Director Alexis Haggar said: “The global pandemic presented us with opportunities to evolve our services, but as with many small businesses during the pandemic we had to batten down the hatches financially to keep our team employed and the business afloat.
“This left us with little left to invest in innovation and expansion, essential for survival in our increasingly competitive industry. So, the grant was critical as it allowed us the time and flexibility to explore virtual production, which we would not otherwise have had.
“Creatively the results have exceeded our expectations and we’re just about to shoot our first commissioned virtual production project.”
Lexhag is located at Scottow Enterprise Park, near Coltishall, a 600-acre site which forms part of the LEP’s Space to Innovate Enterprise Zone and is home to more than 100 businesses. The independent visual effects company was started in 2009 and combines practical and digital techniques to create award-winning effects for clients in the film and television industries. Some of its high-profile credits include the BBC drama Poldark, Netflix series The Innocents and most recently ITV’s Too Close.
Commenting on the application process, Alexis said an adviser from New Anglia Growth Hub helped the business fill out the forms and explained how it should monitor its progress and spend.
“Once the application was submitted, the team were able to review our case to help us meet deadlines and once our application was approved, we received our grant payment promptly,” he said. “We would certainly recommend the New Anglia LEP grants to any business in need of support for innovation and business growth.”
If you have plans to invest in a research and development (R&D) or innovation project, you could receive a grant of between £1,000 and £25,000 from the Growth Through Innovation Fund. The grant can pay up to 50% of the total eligible costs of your projects.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the scheme has awarded £748,000 to 43 projects, generating £912,000 private match funding.
Call the Growth Hub on 0300 333 6536 or email [email protected].