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April 2014
Issue: August 1, 2006

HERE A STUDIO, THERE A STUDIO...

By: Randi Altman
…everywhere a studio, studio. Ok, yes, I have young children and there is constantly a nursery rhyme or Barney song playing in my head, but by dumb luck this one happens to be appropriate. Usually, we’ll hear about a new studio popping up every week or two, but today I received news from four new businesses in a 24-hour span. That is pretty impressive, especially considering the economic climate these days.

One of those brave, new studios is Thomas Tannenberger’s Gradient Effects. This Venice-based boutique is focusing on visual effects for feature films. Another place that probably smells like new paint is a Chicago-based commercial editing boutique owned by veteran cutter Marcelle Feldt, called Vue Editorial. “I am very excited about working as an independent and being able to make my own decisions about the future course and direction of my company,” she says.

And while it’s not a new company, established VFX house Zoic Studios in LA has launched a Vancouver-based location called Zoic BC. "Vancouver and Los Angeles are the two biggest production centers in North America,” reports Zoic president Chris Jones. “Zoic felt it could assemble an international team that would continue to uphold the standard of excellence it has established in Los Angeles. Vancouver also allows us to aid our production partners to gain additional fiscal efficiencies they were seeking by shooting in the city, without sacrificing their creative partner in Los Angeles. We have also put time and effort into creating a large bandwidth pipeline between us with redundant servers, giving the two offices the ability to access, render and view work as if we were in the same building.
Why now? Because it makes sense for integrated global production."

And back in Southern California, Jeff Maier, who had been a producer at Bozell Worldwide, has opened Freddy’s Barn Service (FBS), a new, full-service commercial production company in Santa Monica. He explains, why the time was right: “With the shrinking budgets, the days of having $300K or $400K jobs are getting smaller and smaller and the competition is getting bigger and bigger. I can take a $100K job that most people couldn’t shoot for that and I could do the shoot and the post. Basically, if you give me the post and the production I can make the same mark-up as if I was just doing the shoot.

“I opened up Freddy’s to do some good work and have fun as well as make a living. I don’t need to make $250K a year. That’s not me. And I don’t think that’s the wave of the future.”

If this current trend lasts, the future includes more and more studios.