Brings together top talent from industry

FROM NAB
LAS VEGAS — Silicon Graphics Inc. has created an in-house consulting division, Entertainment Professional Services, to provide creative and technical solutions for the entertainment industry.

With a staff culled from some of the highest profile post-production facilities, including Pacific Ocean Post and Cinesite, the Mountain View, Calif.-based group, founded by SGI vet Blake White, has already provided services for CNN, MTV and LucasFilm Ltd.

“The collaborative needs of filmmakers and broadcasters have crossed over into the manufacturers’ realm,” White said in announcing the unit Tuesday. “Suppliers and manufacturers who never thought about in-house consulting now have to. We were never able to provide those types of services for anyone except to present them with a laundry list of items for purchase. Now we give them the tools as well as the creative solutions for high-end compositing or animation, and it has opened up a whole new business opportunity for the company.”

SGI, which saw stock prices fall dramatically last year, recently received a creative boost after three pics which utilized the company’s technology — “Titanic,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Starship Troopers” — were nominated for visual effects Academy Awards.

The consulting division is divided into two sectors: television and feature films. Its TV arm will help broadcast and cable networks develop strategies for HDTV development as well as graphic and distribution needs of satellite broadcasters and network newsrooms. Led by former Quantel and Integrated Broadcast Systems topper, Chris Bishop, EPS has been awarded the contract to develop the field production system for M2, the sister cable net of MTV. The channel, headquartered in New York, will localize music video delivery, enabling regional advertising and promotional material to air as if the station were run in different cities.

The feature film division of EPS is headed by Carey Capaldi, who comes to SGI after stints at Pacific Title/Mirage and POP. Capaldi also developed the infrastructure at Santa Monica-based Pacific Ocean Post for the visual effects on “Independence Day.”

“By choosing industry leaders to head up our divisions, we’ve established ourselves as more than just a supplier,” White told Daily Variety. “We’re now involved in projects from the beginning, and, based on the response so far, there seems to be a need for that.”

The EPS team comprises post facility leaders as well as engineering vets. Included on the team — in Santa Monica-based Silicon Studio training facility — is Frank Dutro, who helped solidify Universal’s in-house post-production operations; Alan Lasky, previously of Digital Domain; and Mike Connell, who served as facilities development manager at Crawford Communications in Atlanta.

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