Visual Effects, Postproduction Studio Cognition Targeting Hollywood

Also eyeing augmented reality and 3D printing, it’s led by producer-entrepreneur Brian Pope, ‘Hobbit’ alum Dave Hollingsworth and VFX vet Jeff Barnes.
Courtesy of Cognition
Brian Pope

There’s a new, independently owned post house in Hollywood.

Cognition, which also offers visual effects and emerging technology, moved into space near Red Studios a few months ago. A 3,000 sq. foot space in the building is up and operational, with an additional 13,000 sq. foot expansion in the works.

The facility currently offers color grading and finishing via SGO’s Mistika system, closely linked to its visual effects services. With scheduled completion in the fall, the expansion is expected to include a pair of 4K digital cinema finishing theaters, a full visual effects pipeline and creative office space. By early 2016, it plans to have in place an emerging technologies research center; it's already working with partners to develop capabilities in areas including photogrammetry and augmented reality.

The company is led by producer and entrepreneur Brian Pope, and a management team that includes colorist Dave Hollingsworth (The Hobbit: An Uexpected Journey) and industry vet Jeff Barnes.

Pope was most recently a partner in the former Lit Post. He explained that earlier this year, he bought the assets, closed the company and created Cognition with many of the same people, including Hollngsworth and Barnes. “I wanted to continue with VFX and color and the fusion of these technologies," he said.

Hollingsworth — whose credits also include The Adventures of Tintin — serves as director of operations, having previously served as head of picture/senior colorist at Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post in Wellington. He was part of the team that created the high frame rate, 3D pipeline used on The Hobbit; that involved development work with SGO, which is expected to continue at Cognition. “We are heavily focused on the DI and visual effects service side. I believe we can challenge the market by providing filmmakers with a flexible approach that maximizes time for creative exploration," he said.

Barnes added that Cognition's model is "based on building teams, pipelines coupled with in-house alliances that are tailored to the individual project, and thoroughly integrated with other aspects of production and post." The exec is a past chairman of the Visual Effects Society, past vp of Digital Domain and co-founder of CafeFX and The Syndicate. He has supervised creative teams that have contributed to more than 90 studio-released feature films include Pans Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland and Sin City.

Pope told The Hollywood Reporter that part of the goal is also to keep more VFX-related work local. “One of the philosophies we are working with is that a lot of model shops and in-camera FX services died a premature death. We want to do 3D printing for [those uses]. [3D printing services] are also closely associated with my Last Rocket Out Pictures (a production company specializing in scifi) and ARC/K, a nonprofit working on creating an archive and 3D recreations of endangered cultural assets.”

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