Cognition, a hybrid post-production facility, visual effects studio and creative campus, has launched in Los Angeles. The company is led by writer, producer and entrepreneur Brian Pope, and features a high profile management team that includes veteran colorist Dave Hollingsworth (The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey, The Adventures of Tintin) along with former Digital Domain vice president and creative consultant, Jeff Barnes.
Cognition aims to serve as a local alternative for Los Angeles-based studios, independent producers and others seeking visual effects and post-production support for motion picture and television projects. It will tap into Southern California’s large talent pool, while pursuing an innovative business model based on leading edge technologies, flexible staffing, adaptable workflows and controlled costs.
Located near Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Cognition currently offers high resolution color grading and editorial finishing via SGO’s groundbreaking Mistika platform, as well as visual effects supervision and production.
The company is in the process of expanding its existing 3,000 square foot facility through the construction of a multi-million dollar, 13,000 square foot addition. With completion expected by fall, the facility will feature a pair of 4K digital cinema finishing theaters, a scalable visual effects pipeline, an emerging technologies research center and creative office space, all arrayed in a campus-like environment.
Cognition’s service offerings will grow to encompass on-set and remote dailies, visual effects concept and design, on-set supervision, animation, graphics and deliverables. The company is aggressively developing cutting-edge capabilities in such technologies as photogrammetry, augmented reality and other new emerging fields as tools for previsualization, location scouting, visual effects production and other applications, helping to further blur the already diffuse lines between pre-, post- and primary production.
The creative office space is earmarked for production companies, editorial operations and others who want to develop their projects in a collaborative, communal environment. “Cognition represents a smarter way to produce movies and television,” says Pope. “Our business model positions production and what was traditionally called ‘post’ to be much more intimately—and interactively—linked, where producers and directors work in close proximity to the people producing the visual effects, color work and distribution packages. We believe the seamless integration of production with services such as color and VFX is not only a more organic way to fulfill the complex needs of today’s filmmakers, but will also serve to keep more work in Los Angeles and deliver a stronger, more innovative end product.”
Hollingsworth, who serves as Director of Operations, previously occupied the post of Head of Picture/Senior Colorist at Park Road Post Production in Wellington, New Zealand. There he managed an operation featuring two DI theaters, six mastering suites, a VFX department and various support facilities. He was also part of the team that designed, built and implemented the award-winning, high frame rate, 3D pipeline used on The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey. His credits include more than 50 films, among them The Adventures of Tintin, District 9 and The Lovely Bones.
Hollingsworth says that Cognition is responding to a demand for a more responsive and creative approach to post production. “We are heavily focused on the DI and visual effects service side,” he says. “I believe we can challenge the market by providing filmmakers with a flexible approach that maximizes time for creative exploration.”
Barnes is a past chairman of the Visual Effects Society and co-founder of CafeFX and The Syndicate. He has built and supervised creative teams that have contributed to more than 90 studio-released feature films, as well as numerous commercials and special venue projects. Credits include Pans Labyrinth, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Sin City and Armageddon.
Barnes says that Cognition is offering new pathways for visual effects production. He sees the company working with projects from the early stages of storyboarding and conceptualization through final execution. “Producers and directors are looking for a fresh approach to visual effects and emerging media,” he says. “Our 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.”