Donning A New Chapeau: Production, Design, Technology & Post Unite
Ben Looram
  • LOS ANGELES
  • --

Chapeau FX has evolved into Chapeau Studios, expanding its core team from its VFX/animation foundation into production, design, and creative IP development (both for digital content and technology). Leading Chapeau Studios are Chapeau’s founders--VFX supervisor Ben Looram and managing partner/experience design director Karuna Venter--along with creative director/partner Lauren Mayer-Beug, head of creative content development Jesse Hoy, head of film/video production José Nuñez, and business strategist Chris Gunn.

Chapeau Studios’ expansion builds upon the leadership team’s effects, design, and user experience backgrounds, adding increased capabilities to take projects from creative concepting and look development into technical development and live production, all the way through post and activation. Chapeau Studios was borne out of Chapeau FX’s history of innovation which has helped bring to life category-defining and award-winning projects. Notably among them, Facebook’s customizable bespoke films--Friends Day, Birthday and Friendversary--for which Chapeau FX, led by Looram and Mayer-Beug, worked with Facebook engineers to develop a smooth, processing-light “dynamic compositing” methodology that rendered users’ personalized content into the films that Chapeau and Facebook created together.

“In many ways, Chapeau Studios is a natural progression of what we’ve built with Chapeau FX. We’ve always worked outside of the lines, fearlessly investigating what-ifs and how-tos. That’s what we love, and (Chapeau) Studios allows us to investigate and create from a deeper place,” said Venter.

“Along with traditional disciplines, like visual effects and live-action production, we can do integrated explorations and problem-solving across media disciplines,” she continued. “We believe that the future of content is multi-modal, and Chapeau Studios is here to help brands transition into their own futures.”

As creative director of Chapeau Studios, Mayer-Beug is able to create for a variety of media, in roles as varied as director, animator, photographer, designer, and conceptual lead. A RISD-trained artist and creative engineer, she is well-versed in illustration, design, and photography, which combine to inform her many years in animation and film.  She’s spearheaded visual effects and design campaigns at major design and VFX houses, as well as in-house at brands like Beats and Apple. Keenly interested in ever-changing digital narrative formats, her honed eye and technical prowess pushed her to elevate creative for projects like Dr. Dre’s “I Need a Doctor” and Canon’s “Project Imagination” short films, and proved uniquely valuable for the work she and Looram did for Facebook. For over 12 years, she has collaborated with Chapeau’s Looram on projects serving millions of views and activations across all platforms, and brings a new design leadership role to Chapeau Studios.

Joining as Chapeau Studios’ head of creative content development is Hoy, most recently a content producer with Apple. As director of development at Superjacket Productions, Hoy developed TV show ideas, connected with new talent, and managed relationships with networks and buyers. He was also the showrunner for Fatal Decision (from CollegeHumor’s production arm Big Breakfast), producing 52 four-minute episodes for Verizon’s Go90.

Leading the live-action production expansion is veteran producer Nuñez. He brings years of experience producing shoots for directors at companies like MPC, Caviar, and RSA to Chapeau Studios. He is also a founding partner of SpaceNative, specializing in immersive media and emerging technologies.

Strategist Gunn has worked with clients across key digital media sectors both via his own consulting company and in-house at companies operating at the intersection of technology, communication and entertainment, including UFan8, Digital Communications Group, and Poynt. He has also held executive business development roles with both startups and well-established media companies, including an advisory role at Twitter.

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