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Cinesite VFX Ltd (also known as Cinesite) is a digital visual effects and post-production facility in London and one of the largest such companies in Europe. It has a reputation for photorealistic visual effects and environments.
Cinesite offices in Hollywood and London were established in 1991 and 1994 respectively, as test sites for Kodak's Cineon computer system, an end-to-end solution for 2K and 4K digital files. Cinesite became so successful in its own right, however, that after Cineon was discontinued by Kodak in 1997, Cinesite developed into a visual effects facility. In 2003, Cinesite's Hollywood branch became incorporated, by Kodak, into LaserPacific, a multimedia, DVD authoring, digital intermediate and post-production facility.
Initially, the company worked solely as a film visual effects facility, completing effects in the 1990s on Space Jam (1996) and Titanic (1997). In 1999, it became increasingly involved in television work, creating effects for several HBO productions, including Generation Kill (2008), Band of Brothers (2002) and Rome (2006), as well as the BBC production The State Within (2006). Recent television credits include HBO productions Into the Storm (2009) and a remake of the cult series The Prisoner (2009).
Over the years, Cinesite's feature film work continued to grow, and in 2000 the company was awarded work on Warner Bros.' first Harry Potter film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001). Cinesite has gone on to complete visual effects work on all eight films in the Harry Potter franchise, putting them in a position of being one of the main UK visual effects houses to have done so. The company's former model-making division, Cinesite Production Services, was based at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England. It was credited with creating the scale model of Hogwarts which features in the first six films. The division also created Wonkaville in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and the grand finale parliament explosion sequence in V for Vendetta (2006). The division was closed in December 2011.
In January 2009 Cinesite launched the "Inspire Programme", an annual internship for graduates. The programme was devised to provide a formalised visual effects internship to the next generation of visual effects talent. Successful applicants benefit from close tutorial from some of the industry's most experienced visual effects professionals.
In August 2010 the company announced plans to expand its Soho facility and move into providing stereoscopic 3D visual effects services, catering for films shot in stereo, as well as conversion of 2D films into 3D. Its first stereo visual effects project was completed in early 2011 for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It then undertook the stereo conversion for John Carter, released March 2012.
In May 2012 Cinesite announced the sale of the company from Kodak to UK private investment firm Endless LLP. The deal involved Cinesite's existing management team, supported by its new investment backer. The sale will give Cinesite the resources and stability to fulfil a desire to expand the company into new territories, diversify its services and become a global player in the media and entertainment industry.
Cinesite has worked with a variety of directors, including Sam Mendes, Andrew Stanton, Chris Weitz, Tim Burton, Wolfgang Petersen, Christopher Nolan, Brian De Palma, John Woo, Alfonso Cuarón, Joel Schumacher and David Dobkin.
Cinesite has been nominated for, and won, various awards for its visual effects. It won Emmy Awards for Rome in 2005 and Generation Kill in 2009, as well as an Emmy Award nomination and a Royal Television Society award for Band of Brothers in 2001. Cinesite also contributed almost 500 visual effects shorts to The Golden Compass, which won a visual effects Oscar and a BAFTA award in 2007.
- 2D and 3D digital visual effects
- Stereoscopic visual effects