Manex Visual Effects

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Manex Visual Effects (MVFX) was a motion picture special visual effects company located in Alameda, California. Though a small company active only for a short period of time it provided visual effects for a number of high profile movies and the company received international recognition including two Best Visual Effects Oscars and one Academy Award for Technical Achievement. As the company that created Bullet time for The Matrix their work has been highly influential.

History[edit]

In 1995 Cinergi Pictures acquired an effects company from visual effects pioneer Doug Trumbull. It was originally known as Cinergi F/X but was subsequently named Mass Illusions. In 1997 Cinergi was acquired by Disney and Cinergi pulled out of Mass Illusions. The company was rescued from liquidation by the Columbus, Ohio based company Manex Financial Management Inc and in 1998 it was again renamed, this time to Manex Visual Effects, headed by managing director Robert Bobo.

In 1998 Manex completed work on the movie What Dreams May Come. This featured an extended sequence in which the character played by Robin Williams entered a painted world. Manex provided the visual effects for this sequence and partly as a result of this work the movie was awarded an Academy Award for Visual Effects.

In 1999 Manex completed work on The Matrix which again received an Academy Award. The team at Manex, led by John Gaeta, created the signature bullet time sequences from the movie. They also developed a system for image-based rendering allowing choreographed camera movements through computer graphic reconstructed sets (also known as Virtual Cinematography) for which Manex was awarded an Academy Award for Technical Achievement.[1] Manex further developed their virtual cinematography work in movies such as Michael Jordan to the Max and Mission: Impossible 2.

In 1999 Manex expanded, acquiring the Los Angeles operations of the Computer Film Company. The company underwent reorganization including the formation on an interactive division headed by Bill Dawson, formerly of Softnet, Xoom.com and Apple. Dawson recruited Kawika Maszak, also from Softnet and formerly of Gannett, as the division's executive producer. Manex Interactive received a New York International Independent Film & Video Festival award for its experimental short film Seriality. Manex Studios also converted thousands of square feet in old hangar space to film studios where dozens of commercials, special events and feature films were shot.

In 2001 Manex expected to carry out work on the Matrix sequels. However, after extensive pre-production Warner Brothers instead gave the work to ESC Entertainment (which was funded indirectly by Warner Bros.) in an effort to save money on the production. In addition, Manex was released from the bidding for the Matrix sequels because of internal mismanagement issues, and an inability to properly submit materials needed for the bid. Many artists became disillusioned and joined the ESC team, literally across the street. (ESC as in the Escape key on the qwerty keyboard). Manex was later involved in a litigation action against Warner Brothers regarding the bidding process, and lost revenues. Manex were, however, credited on Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions for their extensive work leading to the cutting edge effects.

Manex subsequently moved to Trenton, New Jersey and in 2002 became involved in a project to build movie production facilities.

Subsequently to management and key staff leaving in 2001 there has been little or no creative output from Manex.

Sources[edit]

Movie credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Image-based rendering and some ancient history, A Neighborhood of Infinity