The latest sign of volatility in the visual effects business is the news that effects legend Richard Edlund is launching duMonde Visual Effects in New Orleans.
“I recently made a deal to build out a facility there since you can’t get any work here in town,” said Edlund, who won Academy Awards for the original “Star Wars” trilogy and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
He’s partnering with WhoDoo EFX visual effects supervisor Helena Packer and Deborah Peters of GPI, maker of the PRO camera stabilizing system.
A key impetus for situating the facility in Louisiana is the state’s rebate program. As Edlund explains, “If a production opens a company in Louisiana and pays us through that, once they reach $300,000, they get 30% back.”
Edlund expects duMonde will offer a range of services, including vfx supervision, 3D matte painting, compositing and on-set coordination of visual effects. “We’ll have to import mentors from Hollywood to magnetize the facility to attract people,” he said. He’s hopeful that New Orleans’ proximity to CG-intensive schools like Ringling in Florida will attract young talent to duMonde.
As to his own hands-on role, Edlund noted, “I’m there to make sure the shots are done correctly.”
Edlund is also betting that specialists can be called upon as needed. “I can bring in people like that in to do niche projects.” Edlund also recognizes “Visual effects has become a big industry, and parts of it have become commodities.” The downward pressure on prices has been dramatic, he notes. “There are wanna-be companies bidding against you at half your price.”
It’s a far cry from the ’70s, when Edlund helped launch ILM, or even the fourteen years he ran Boss Film during the ’80s and 90’s. “We had to build all of our tools so you had to know what you were doing to get into the business. Now you can graduate from school and get a movie job. By the time you’ve done two movies you’re up to speed.”