FXhome Limited

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FXHOME
Type Private limited company
Industry Computer software
Founded 2001
Founders Joshua Davies
Toby Walsh
Headquarters Norwich, England
Products Special Effects and Video Software
Owners Joshua Davies
Toby Walsh
Employees 18
Website http://fxhome.com

FXHOME is a technology company specialising in imaging and visual effects products for film makers and photographers. Founded in 2001 by graduates from the University of East Anglia, their current headquarters is St. Giles House in Norwich, UK.

FXHOME develops products for both consumers and professional users, works in partnership with major global companies including Sony and offers consultancy and technology solutions for a wide range of clients.

Current products include the visual effects and compositing application HitFilm, and PhotoKey, a green screen application for photographers.

PhotoKey[edit]

PhotoKey is a chromakey application for photographers. It works as a standalone program, and the Pro version also works in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop as a plugin.

Originally released in 2006, it is now on version 6, and is available as PhotoKey 6 Pro, PhotoKey 6 and PhotoKey 6 Lite.

HitFilm[edit]

HitFilm is hybrid program, bringing together video editing, 3D compositing and visual effects functionality into a single application.

HitFilm utilises Graphics Processor Unit & Graphics Card technology, originally developed in the PC gaming industry, to bring high end visual effects capabilities to a wide range of consumer & professional level computers.

Originally released in July 2011, it is currently on version 2, and is available as HitFilm 2 Ultimate or HitFilm 2 Express on the Windows & Mac platforms.

Company History[edit]

The company was formed in early 2001. Founded by Joshua Davies, Toby Walsh and David Cranwell, the company originally went by the trading name "CSB-Digital".

The company specialised in developing visual effects applications for amateur filmmakers, taking advantage of the changes in camera technology and the increased computing power available to customers.

Early Products[edit]

The company's first product was AlamDV, a bespoke application written entirely in Macromedia Director. AlamDV was a 2D, bitmap-based special effects program for applying stock footage of muzzle flashes and lightsabers to digital video. As development progressed it became clear there was an untapped niche in the home video market, so the company was formed and in 2001 AlamDV became a priced product, sold through the website AlamDV.com as a download.It was featured on the BBC[1] and gathered an online following. AlamDV2 was released in September 2001 and attracted interest from the local media and a number of independent filmmaking/computer publications.[2]

2003 saw a rebranding of AlamDV.com to FXhome.com.[3] This was to accommodate the introduction of two new software products: "Chromanator", for compositing and greenscreen keying and "Digigrade", for digital color grading. Chromanator was released in 2004 and the AlamDV series returned as AlamDV3 entered development.

The Lab Series[edit]

2005 marked a change, with the original company's trading name "CSB-Digital" changing to the trading name "FXhome". AlamDV3 appeared under a new name - "EffectsLab DV" and its release in Q2 2005 marked the first appearance of the company's Lab series of products.

EffectsLab DV was a completely new program, introducing new features whilst retaining AlamDV's original functionality. Based on a new Common Interface, AlamDV2's 2D sprite system was replaced by four procedurally generated 'Effects Engines', all capable of creating customisable effects. Regular updates were released, with feedback from the community playing a key role in the addition of new features and tweaks.

Chromanator became "CompositeLab DV" in the process, continuing the 'Lab' branding. In late 2005, enhanced versions of both products were released, called EffectsLab Pro and CompositeLab Pro. An entirely new product, "VisionLab HD" was also created and released at the end of 2005, which combined CompositeLab and EffectsLab into a single interface and added additional features aimed at more advanced users. A new feature common to all 3 products, was the ability to create 'Presets', which stored and packaged a user's effects engine or grading settings, for use by other users.

In 2006 the product line was rebranded, with the 'DV' versions being renamed to "Lite" and VisionLab HD being renamed "VisionLab Studio". Around this time, "FXhome" began to distribute boxed products for the first time through a number of software resellers.

The Lab series was available until 2010 on the PC, although it ceased to be supported on the Mac when Apple removed PowerPC application support.

PhotoKey Range[edit]

November 2007 saw the release of a new product, PhotoKey, a chromakey compositing tool for photographers.[4]

New versions of PhotoKey would be periodically released, with improvements to the chromakey technology, including Adapative Color in the most recent releases.

HitFilm Range[edit]

In 2011, "FXhome" announced a new video product called HitFilm. It was released in July and utilised 3D compositing, one of the most requested features in "FXhome" software. HitFilm supported 3D camera tracking data and a 3D particle system.[5] HitFilm Ultimate & HitFilm Standard [6] replaced VisionLab, EffectsLab, and CompositeLab products, and was a Windows only application.

HitFilm 2 Ultimate was launched in November 2012 and introduced 3D model import functionality as a headline feature. It also included 'mocha Hitfilm', a special version of mocha from Imagineer Systems which is included with every copy of Hitfilm 2 Ultimate,[7] and is used for 3D camera solving using planar tracking. Other new features included improvements to the 3D particle simulator and new in-built effects. HitFilm Standard was replaced by HitFilm 2 Express, which included the full 3D compositing engine, plus features such as 2D point tracking.

In May 2013 "FXhome" utilised crowdfunding and the popular platform Kickstarter to help fund the development of HitFilm on the Mac[8] as there had been interest in a cross-platform version since the initial product launch. The Apple range of computers available at that time had significantly improved graphics capabilities and were therefore finally suitable for running the HitFilm 2 application.[9] "FXhome" asked for £25,000, but received pledges worth £58,126 in the 30 day period, and HitFilm 2 Ultimate was released on the Mac in November 2013.[10]

FXHOME[edit]

In the summer of 2013, the company was rebranded and the name became "FXHOME" in all capital letters. The new identity was developed by students at Norwich University of the Arts as part of the university's ideasfactory creative consultancy.[11] This new branding was rolled out in Q4 2013.

Community[edit]

FXHOME has always been focused on establishing a strong community to surround their software. After the success and increasing popularity of the AlamDV.com forums, FXHOME made the decision to transfer them to the new FXhome.com website in 2004. At its current peak the FXHOME community[12] is home to over 100,000 registered users from around the globe with an extensive discussion forum, including a Movie Wall[13] in which users can view and upload their movies, an IRC chat channel and a large library of user-created presets for FXHOME software. The community also enables the FXHOME staff to provide one-on-one support via the chat channel, support forums[14] and tutorials.

Early users of the FXHOME forums included young film-makers who would go on to become major figures on YouTube, such as Freddie Wong, Brandon Laatsch [15] and Sam & Niko from CorridorDigital. Other members took a more traditional film making route into the industry, such as cinematographer & director AJ Rickert-Epstein.

The launch of the HitFilm application lead to the migration of the forums to HitFilm.com. Community interaction continues to influence the future direction of FXHOME's software development.

While the company pre-dated YouTube, they were keen to share their video content on the platform as soon as it became available. They currently maintain two YouTube channels with over 4 million views between them.

FXHOME continues to work with original community members, with CorridorDigital creating the film PRISM[16] for the launch of HitFilm, and FXHOME creating a bespoke effect[17] for the Freddie Wong & RocketJump web-series VGHS.

FXHOME in the News[edit]

FXHOME and its software has been covered by many different online and printed publications. Named one of Norfolk's Future50[18] companies in 2013 by the EDP for the second year running, it also received a Growing Business Fund in early 2014 to expand the marketing team.[19] In response to a successful January promotion where they gave away HitFilm 2 Express and PhotoKey 6 Lite free for two weeks, FXHOME's giveaway was recognised globally by sources such as CNET,[20] CreativeBloq,[21] MotionVFX,[22] Photographic News [23] and the Photography Blog.[24]

Products[edit]

Video products[edit]

  • Hitfilm 2 Ultimate
  • Hitfilm 2 Express

Photo products[edit]

  • PhotoKey 6 Pro
  • PhotoKey 6

Discontinued[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BBC article: Sci-fi buffs get low budget sfx boost
  2. ^ DVFormat.com, SlashCam and WEVA International
  3. ^ Mah Ung, Gordon (April 2007). "FXHome EffectsLab Studio". Maximum PC: 64. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  4. ^ "FXhome Releases PhotoKey". PR.com. 14 Nov 2007. Retrieved 7 January 2009. 
  5. ^ HitFilm 6 Star Review in PC Pro
  6. ^ HitFilm Standard 5 Star Review in Expert Reviews
  7. ^ HitFilm 2 Ultimate 5 Star Review in PC Pro
  8. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fxhome/hitfilm-for-mac
  9. ^ http://www.hitfilm.com/ultimate/requirements
  10. ^ http://community.hitfilm.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-315-hitfilm-2-ultimate-for-mac-is-here/
  11. ^ Logo development
  12. ^ http://community.hitfilm.com/
  13. ^ http://www.hitfilm.com/movies
  14. ^ http://www.hitfilm.com/questions/submit
  15. ^ The origins of FreddieW
  16. ^ PRISM - a sci-fi short film
  17. ^ http://community.hitfilm.com/index.php?/blog/1/entry-185-derez-tutorial-freddiew-interviews/
  18. ^ http://www.norfolk-future50.co.uk/class-of-2013/fxhome/
  19. ^ http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/norwich_future_50_firm_fxhome_strengthens_its_team_after_securing_30_000_growing_business_fund_investment_1_3281372
  20. ^ http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-57617663-58/get-hitfilm-2-express-win-mac-for-free/
  21. ^ http://www.creativebloq.com/photography/make-your-own-movies-free-video-and-photo-editing-software-11410548
  22. ^ http://www.motionvfx.com/mblog/download_all_in_one_editing_compositing_software_hitfilm_express_for_free,p3043.html
  23. ^ http://www.photographicnews.com/?news=get-hitfilm-2-express-and-photokey-6-lite-free-for-a-limited-time
  24. ^ http://www.photographyblog.com/news/hitfilm_2_express_and_photokey_6_lite_free_in_january/

External links[edit]