Market Outlook and Industry News
Issue: Volume: 27 Issue: 11 (November 2004)

Market Outlook and Industry News

Despite the chaos, at the beginning of this year, some 20 percent of US visual effects and dynamic media studios were working with HD, with a greater number of independent filmmakers, post houses, and production companies using it than other types of studios. That said, of the effects and animation studios that create content at HD resolutions, fewer than 25 percent acquire and shoot in HD.

It would be easy to say that "merely" 20 percent of studios are using HD, but we were surprised that even this percentage reports using the technology, given its historically slow adoption rate. Also noteworthy was that of the studios currently using HD, nearly 80 percent say that their HD production capabilities are a key new business tool for 2004.

In terms of popular HD formats, by far the greatest number of HD users (more than 80 percent) report that they use the HDCam format. Of studios that believe that their HD production capabilities are a new business tool, all use the HDCam format, 75 percent use the D5 HD format, and almost 50 percent use the D7-HD (DVCProHD) format.

Jim Whittington, principal of market research firm TrendWatch, Inc., Mill Valley, CA. All data from TrendWatch's Visual Effects/Dynamic Media Report, Winter 2003–4 and Summer 2004 issues.

Alias Systems (Toronto, Canada) has completed its acquisition of Kaydara (Montreal, Canada). Alias also announced its plans to begin shipping Alias MotionBuilder 6 in the coming months. Corel (Ottawa, Canada) has announced its intention to acquire Jasc (Minneapolis), developer of the Paint Shop line of image-editing software. DAZ Productions (Salt Lake City) has acquired Bryce, the award-winning 3D landscaping and animation software, from Corel (Ottawa, Canada). DAZ anticipates not only launching new versions of Bryce for the Macintosh and Windows platforms, but also enabling users to bring existing DAZ 3D content into Bryce. DreamWorks (Los Angeles) has revealed plans to separate its animation unit, DreamWorks Animation (Glendale, CA), from the parent company, which was founded by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg in October 1994. In forming a new public company that will focus on producing CG movies, DreamWorks Animation plans to offer 29 million shares of Class A common stock, with the goal of raising roughly $700 million in its initial public offering. Boston-based Cecropia has formed a new animation and production studio in Orlando, for which it has hired Walt Disney Feature Animation alumni and other film-industry veterans. For its work on Battlestar Galactica, Zoic Studios (Los Angeles) will serve as the effects team for a Battlestar Galactica TV series scheduled to premiere in January 2005. John Lockwood and Steve Street, formerly of Cinesite (Europe), have formed Machine, a new film effects house in London. Machine will concentrate on delivering digital visual effects for motion pictures, high-end TV spots, and broadcast. Charles River Media (Hingham, MA) has contracted Raven Tales Productions (Vancouver, Canada), the animation studio responsible for the Raven Tales animated TV show, to develop a how-to book designed for filmmakers, game developers, multimedia producers, and students.