London's top post shops lure offshore jobs

Despite last year’s fears that the good times might end, the U.K.’s vfx sector is set to boom again in 2009.

The collapsing value of the pound against the dollar has combined with the soaring reputation of London’s post houses to draw a slew of Hollywood blockbusters to town.

London’s big four — Double Negative, Framestore, MPC and Cinesite, all conveniently located within a square mile of each other — are gearing up for “Clash of the Titans,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” “Prince of Persia,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Salt” and the latest Harry Potter and Narnia films.

Talent isn’t the only factor turning London into a vfx mecca. “It’s always a question of price,” admits Double Negative CEO Matt Holben. “We were forced to become very lean and cost-competitive when the exchange rate was $2 to the pound, so having it suddenly swing to $1.40 makes us really cheap.”

From MPC’s color grading of “Slumdog Millionaire” to DNeg’s cityscapes in “The Dark Knight” to Framestore’s Greek lighting for “Mamma Mia!,” London’s post houses were centrally involved in creating the imagery of last year’s biggest hits.

Increasingly they are also supplying their skills to movies with no particular British connection. Cinesite animated “Bedtime Stories” and “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and DNeg supplied the creatures for “Hellboy 2.”

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