When people think of video or film production, the first thing that comes to mind is probably Hollywood. Vū Studios is hoping to change that perception.
“I truly felt like the city needed this,” said Jason Soto, General Manager of Vū Studios in Las Vegas. “I’m a native and a big champion for Las Vegas. With all the pro sports team, awards shows, and conventions in town, plus our proximity to the Los Angeles market, there was a need in Southern Nevada for a world class film studio.”
Vū is a virtual production studio that works on both film and commercial video projects. The Florida-based company opened a new 43,000 square foot state-of-the-art studio in Las Vegas in April 2022, complete with a 140ft x 20ft LED screen with LED ceiling, and a proprietary LED dome.
“I’m excited to show the world that the future of film production can be centered in Southern Nevada,” said Soto. “We’re the entertainment capital of the world, and there is a need for this here. I think the perception that you must film in a Hollywood studio is going to go away.”
Unlike traditional filmmaking, virtual production allows filmmakers to shoot realistic environments in the studio instead of having to travel on location, saving both cost and time.
“The creative services industry is one of our target industries,” said Perry Ursem, Vice President of Business Retention & Expansion with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance. “As the region’s sports and entertainment industry continues to grow, we continue to see the need for more creative technologies as well. Vū is going to help fill that need.”
Vū Studios reached out to LVGEA in summer 2021 seeking assistance with the state incentive process. The company was approved for tax abatements by the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development in September 2021.
“In addition to the incentives process, LVGEA was also a champion for introductions,” said Soto. “LVGEA was able to plug us in with folks at the city, county, and state level that helped make our business successful.”
Vū currently has about 10 fulltime and freelance employees and plans to hire up to 25 fulltime employees within the next several years. The company is also working on a partnership with UNLV to create a training program and utilizes UNLV students for events.
“There is a huge gap within the creative market in Southern Nevada. We’re creating high wage good quality jobs. There is a lot of talent here in Vegas when it comes to traditional video editing folks. Now we’re giving them the opportunity to start working here in Las Vegas.”
Creating more diverse job opportunities is a big part of why the LVGEA identified creative technology and services as a target industry.
“Hollywood will always be Hollywood,” said Ursem. “But when you look at film production on a global scale, it’s moving to other locations. Our proximity to Hollywood is an opportunity. Our industry here isn’t very mature, but with the addition of projects like Vū, it’s helping put us on the map.”
Soto says he loves seeing the look on people’s faces when they first visit the studio, and that he can sense the pride locals have in knowing something like this exists in their community.
“Vegas has been doing stuff big for 50 years,” said Soto. “I’m excited to show the world that the talent is here, and the technology is here for Las Vegas to be a city of film as well as entertainment.”