Deluxe to Combine Visual Effects Companies Method, CIS (Exclusive)

Dan Glass

The combined companies will be led by "Tree of Life" senior visual effects supervisor Dan Glass.

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group plans to formally announce Wednesday that it has combined two of its visual effects companies: Method, which Deluxe acquired from Ascent Media in December; and Deluxe's CIS Visual Effects. The company will operate under the moniker Method Studios, targeting feature film and commercial clients.

Upcoming credits include work on X-Men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger.

In Los Angeles, the CIS Hollywood-based team has been relocated to Method's Santa Monica offices. The new Method Studios also has bases in Vancouver (previously CIS), and in New York and London (both previously from the Method unit).

Dan Glass -- who served an independent senior visual effects supervisor on Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life -- will lead the combined companies as executive vp. Glass has been heading Method since late 2010.

The company has also brought on Paul Ryan, formally chief technology officer at Weta Digital, to act as Method's vp technology.

Deluxe acquired Ascent Media Group's Creative and Media Services businesses in December. Last week, Deluxe announced that Next Element by Deluxe postproduction operations were merged into Encore and Level 3 Post, two postproduction facilities for TV that were previously under the Ascent umbrella.

"By combining CIS with Method, we are able to provide our clients a broader range of visual effects services with an integrated workflow across Deluxe's multiple locations," said leading colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld, who also serves as president of creative services for Deluxe.

On Method, Ryan said: "As a group, we can comfortably take on large and complex jobs by drawing on the expertise across all of our facilities. In addition, each individual studio is self-sufficient enough to be agile and able to adapt quickly to the special needs of local projects."

The bases will be networked to enable shared work. Deluxe suggested that the international structure might benefit clients by way of tax incentives and credits. Dennis Hoffman, senior vp, continues to oversee daily operations in Vancouver and Drew Jones remains vp features in the London office. Gabby Gourrier remains vp production in L.A. and Jay Lichtman heads up the New York operation as executive producer. Deluxe declined to comment further on staffing.

Method has worked on such films as Fast Five and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Upcoming credits includes J. Edgar, Tower Heist, Contagion, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, This Means War, Clash of the Titans 2 and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Also this month, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, acquired privately owned Burbank-based 2D-to-3D conversion company StereoD.

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