Visual effects house Origin Digital Studios is opening for business in Burbank, even as VFX companies increasingly flee Los Angeles for more enticingly incentivized cities. The new mid-sized indie studio is backed by Miami-based Lincoln Road Advisors and already has a key strategic partnership in place, with Origin HQ operating out of a Fotokem facility in Burbank and its NY outpost fiber-connected to Fotokem’s network.
Origin is headed by president Mark Miller, the Emmy-nominated VFX veteran who previously held exec posts at Pixomondo, Eden FX, and Digital Magic and is a founding member of the Visual Effects Society (VES). He should know the pains and pitfalls of the current VFX landscape, grown increasingly tumultuous in recent years. Earlier this month, the monster merger of VFX houses Prime Focus World and Reliance MediaWorks marked an industry shift toward global consolidation.
The merging of those VFX giants, however, could leave room for smaller-scale companies to work locally. Origin’s mission is to focus on high-profile television programs, commercials, feature films, and special venue presentations. Its offices outside of LA and NY are also strategically engineered: A third studio operates in Albuquerque, NM and additional studios are in the works for this year in Atlanta, GA, two production hubs that are drawing TV and film shoots out of Hollywood with generous tax incentives. According to Miller, Origin aims to staff around 50 across its locations with 15-20 employees based out of the LA-area headquarters.
Said Miller: “Having enjoyed long-standing partnerships with studios, VFX Supervisors, and post production producers for many years, I, along with our newly assembled collective of veteran artists, producers and supervisors, have developed a unique culture. We have long been trained to help our clients efficiently manage visual storytelling, from concept to completion. Our experienced and award winning staff is available for a diverse range of new productions. Our Burbank studio is located in one of Fotokem’s production centers, which instantly allows us the ability to connect to their high speed networks which cross the country. With their nextLAB and Global Data technology, our clients can get plates to us simply and quickly, no matter where they are based. Our studio in New York is fiber connected to Fotokem’s network, to ease the transport of information to our Burbank location. The same will hold true for each of our future studio locations. These unique services allow us to do what most other mid-level VFX companies simply cannot.”
“Through [the relationship with Fotokem], Origin has the advantage of not only providing top tier VFX work, but they can also offer all of the support services their clients need – from on-set dailies to final color,” said Lincoln Road Advisors’ Eric J. Bertrand. “When a deal can be packaged that includes all needed services, the project can run much smoother, thus saving time and money for their clients.”
Origin’s client roster already includes Fox series Sleepy Hollow, on which Miller serves as visual effects executive producer.