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Hit The Lights!!!

Wow, I can't believe I finally got to this point of writing this post but I made it! So much has gone into getting this ready for everyone over the past couple of years and I'm finally at a point where I can go public and share it with others. It's been an amazing journey but at the same time, very hard and took everything I had to get to this point. Ever since I was a little kid getting to program for the first time in BASIC at age 5 and getting the original NES in the mid-80s, I've always dreamt of having a video game company and there has been nothing that I am more passionate about than video games. Back in 2014, I quit my job at the time to shift gears and start working towards that dream. I was working heavily on a title in pre-production that had a lot of potential and interest from a couple publishers over the years. While in early development back in 2014, I also had an idea of being able to use the Philips hue lights to do 3D lighting and adding it as a feature to the game. I started the following year doing some very early programming of an interface to the hue system and being able to do simple things like controlling my lights in my apartment. I spent a couple years working on various projects and a majority of the available time left working on the game. Around 2017/2018, I was thinking a lot more about the potential of what the tech could do and started ramping things up. Shortly after in 2018, I was hired by Sony Pictures to help them launch Innovation Studios and we executed on the first ever major virtual production for TV on the hit show Shark Tank where by combining UE4, camera tracking and other technologies, really helped us elevate what could be done in a major live production using Unreal Engine.

Sitting on set watching the other entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, I couldn't help but think about getting my dream off the ground. I would also think a lot about how the "surround lighting" technology could be leveraged for virtual production and other industries and the more I went down the rabbit hole and seeing its potential across multiple industries beyond gaming, the more I realized I needed to put the game on ice and start development on IL. I ended up going into full production in 2019 on getting a prototype of Immersive Lighting up and running.

Roughly around April, I had an early pre-alpha of the tech and was spending the following months getting it in a more working state and filling out some of the functionality across plugins. Development slowed down a little when I ended up working on the recent The Walking Dead: Onslaught VR game for Survios over the following 8+ months. By the time Covid-19 hit, I was back to focusing on the tech full-time and investing what I had into getting it officially off the ground.

Around the weeks leading up to May 2020, I had been planning to create a DMX plugin for UE4 but after realizing Epic had their own implementation coming to 4.25, I moved quick to get an IL extension built off of it that could leverage it. At that point, I had full support for both Philips hue and the Corsair iCUE line of RGB products.

By June, I was ready to debut the first look of the technology that I showcased on LinkedIn. Even though I was getting incredibly far and felt I was fairly close to the finish line, there was a tremendous amount to still be done and things had yet to reach their lowest.

In September, I suffered an extremely deep personal loss that derailed everything. I lost my dog Sydney, who was my kid, heart and inspiration along this journey the past 6+ years. I was not ready or prepared for something like that to happen and it was all of a sudden. She had been with me since day one while trying to build this dream and without her, I honestly wouldn't have gotten here or potentially be here today. She is even visible in some of the early videos and I had no choice but to put everything on hold and I simply could not function. Life was impossible and it seemed nothing was going to get better. I stopped caring about myself and a lot of things during those first couple of months. There were days I tried hard to drag myself to work in hopes I could keep my mind a little more focused but when I sat in front of my PC, I was empty of all life and too depressed to function. All I needed though, was time and a lot of support and love. I had a lot of amazing support and I was lucky to know a lot of great people who were there checking in on me. One of my closest friends and fam, Brandon was there everyday checking in, taking me out and having me over to hang with his fam who's my family practically. Without him doing that as much as he did and me being able to get out of my apt that much for the first month or two, I would've been in a much darker place and I might still be there.

About a couple weeks right after all of this went down, I reunited with an old friend, brother and mentor, Scot Barbour who was the former Head of Production for Sony Pictures and the two of us teamed up to work with FanTracks and Matrix on the Goo Goo Dolls virtual concert using UE4. Working on that went a long way in getting me back to square one, especially in a fast paced environment where you didn't have a lot of time to think.

Ironically enough, one of the other things that also helped me get through the holidays was playing the PS5 and getting my mind off things. In January, I started feeling a lot more positive, rejuvenated and ready to get back into finishing Immersive Lighting. Life was incredibly difficult but I've had to pick myself up, dust my shoulders off and move ahead. I know Sydney would want to see me succeed at this and no matter what, she'll always be with me and in my heart.

For the past couple of months, I've been working 12-16 hour days each week getting Immersive Lighting ready for its launch. Aside from my advisors, I've been operating as the one person handling everything at the moment so to even try and quantify the amount of work I've had to accomplish from the tech, website, business, licensing, app, etc. the past two years is insane but it took me a little longer than I had initially planned. I decided to delay raising a round from investors until I was past the finish line as that would've simply been too much to manage. It's been a hard road to get here... so much has gone into this and it is a little surreal being able to type this after all this time. I'm proud to be able to get this in developers and content creators hands finally and a massive thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you out there who have supported me. This just wouldn't have been possible without you!

Today is an exciting day and this is just the beginning for this technology. We're excited to share a lot more details in the coming future and we've got a lot more planned.

Thank you!

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