CIS grows 3D arm

Lands 'Core' client

F/x shop Composite Image Systems’ new 3D computer graphics division has landed its first major client, Paramount Pictures’ summer adventure pic “The Core.” The division, which has been revving up since December, will allow the 35-person boutique to expand the work it offers clients.

Hollywood-based CIS has supplied film and TV projects with 2D visual f/x services including compositing, rig and wire removals since opening 18 years ago.

“For a long time, especially in the last five years, many of our marquee clients have asked us when we would offer 3D,” said founder and prexy Joe Matza. “Frankly, we’ve waited to do that until the 3D business matured. Until recently there has been too much supply and not enough demand. But now the hardware and software are more affordable, and there’s a terrific talent pool to draw from, especially in Los Angeles. So we’ve decided that it’s a good time for us to move into 3D.”

Going underground

For “The Core,” the division will create 40 key computer-generated f/x shots of the pic’s scientist characters traveling deep underground after an unknown force has caused the Earth’s inner core to stop rotating. Number of shots is expected to increase to 60 or more once post-production has been completed. Canadian f/x shop Frantic Film also is working on the pic.

Greg McMurry is the pic’s visual f/x supervisor. “The Core” is helmed by Jon Amiel and stars Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Alfre Woodard, Bruce Greenwood, Delroy Lindo and Stanley Tucci.

Head of the new division is Bryan Hirota, whose credits include “Hollow Man” and “Queen of the Damned” while working for facilities VIFX, Rhythm & Hues and Manex. He will work closely with general manager Don Fly, who oversaw now shuttered f/x studio MVFX-LA and also worked at Boss Film before its closure.

Enterprising CIS is the lead f/x shop behind UPN’s “Star Trek: Enterprise” and has recently worked on pics “Kate and Leopold,” “We Were Soldiers” and “Planet of the Apes,” as well as upcoming releases “Panic Room,” “Simone” and “Spider-Man.”

Company upgraded its hardware with computers running on the Linux operating system instead of Windows or costlier SGI workstations to build its 3D group. It a scalable crew, hiring freelancers according to the needs of production.

“Our goal is to do high quality work as a medium-sized company and give our clients the focused attention that is harder to get at the big shops,” Matza said.

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