Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Two heavy-hitter in VFX land get together.

Prime Focus World and Double Negative have agreed to merge in a deal that represents a major shakeup at the top of the visual effects business.

The combined entity will be the world’s largest provider of visual effects, animation and 3D conversion services. It will have the Double Negative name, and be led by DNeg managing director Alex Hope and CEO Matthew Holben. “We’ve made it clear from our side: You guys run visual effects, we’ll run 3D conversion and animation,” Prime Focus founder and CEO Namit Malhotra told Variety. ...

London-based Double Negative is one of the world’s top vfx studios. Christopher Nolan routinely brings his pictures there and the company won an Oscar for his “Inception.” His next picture, “Interstellar,” is in production there now. The company has also announced a feature animation division.

The last sentence grabs my attention. One more big player will be jumping into feature animation, lured by the possibility of Big Bucks.

Of course, to do feature animation takes more than throwing money at crew and computers. You must also have a story development game plan. And they need to understand that it ain't just script, storyboards, kabboomski! Eight months of production followed by a gangbuster wide release.

There will be lots of false starts and dead ends along the way. Much heartache and sorrow. As Ward Kimball once said:

... We finished Snow White and we said, "Ha! We know how to do features!" And everybody went into Pinocchio with this great load of confidence. Boy, six months later we found out, and Walt found that, that what you learn in one picture doesn't necessarily work on the next picture. ...

Think the boys and girls and the merged Double Negative notice that Pixar has a wee gap in its release schedule? Because it's "fixing story"?

Let's hope the DNeg crowd knows what it's plunging into.


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