FuseFX has opened full-scale production facilities in New York and Vancouver.
FuseFX, New York, is currently producing visual effects for the hit NBC series The Blacklist as well as Powers, a drama set to debut in January on the new Sony PlayStation network. Located in the heart of the city’s media district in Soho, the 3300 square foot production complex is designed to accommodate a staff of more than 30 artists. FuseFX, British Columbia, located in Vancouver’s Yaletown section, is currently servicing Backstrom for Fox and The Returned for A&E. It can accommodate 20 or more artists. Capabilities at both facilities include 2D and 3D visual effects, 3D animation, compositing, finishing, matte painting, cosmetic enhancement and pre-visualization.
Founded in 2006 by visual effects supervisor David Altenau, FuseFX has been growing on a fast arc. Its headquarters facility, which occupies three buildings in Burbank, has a staff of nearly 100 artists, supervisors and producers, and is currently providing visual effects services for 26 television shows and several features. “We’ve grown every year, but recently the curve has accelerated,” Altenau said. “We’ve been considering expansion and were presented with unique opportunities to enter the New York and Vancouver markets with some really great shows.”
The company has hired Greg Anderson to lead its New York operations as senior visual effects supervisor and head of production. Anderson’s background includes senior visual effects roles with 1stAveMachine, Ring of Fire and Sony Pictures Imageworks, and credits including Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Spider-Man 2 and The Day After Tomorrow. He is complemented by Ariel Altman and Dave Reynolds as composite supervisors, and Joe Gunn as CG supervisor in the New York office.
FuseFX, British Columbia, is led by visual effects supervisor and producer Mike Leeming. His previous postings include VFX houses Zoic Studios and Stargate Studios, and freelance roles on major studio shows. He most recently served as on-set visual effects supervisor for the Fox Television series Witches of East End. Leeming has the experience to creatively drive VFX design and supervise on set, and also works as lead producer for Vancouver-based work.
FuseFX, which along with Altenau is led by co-founders Tim Jacobsen and Jason Fotter, has been successful at a challenging time in the visual effects industry by focusing on quality and long-term, stable growth. “Our aim is to produce great visual effects and to be responsive to the needs of our clients,” Altenau explains. “We made the decision early on that we weren’t going to chase rebates but were going to work better and smarter.”
Altenau adds that FuseFX has developed a proprietary production pipeline and shot management system that enables it to deliver feature quality results on a television schedule. The new facilities are designed to leverage this unique pipeline and are staffed by high-level personnel so that projects can be managed independently while drawing on the support of the full organization when needed.
The company has also been careful in hiring talent, according Tim Jacobsen, who serves as executive producer. “We hire people with experience, people who have worked in the industry for a while,” he said, “and we hire them with a long-term horizon.”
“We’re also different in that all three of the company’s founders are involved hands on in the work,” Jacobsen adds. “When staff people have ideas on how to make the company work better, they have direct access to all three of us.”
The current growth in television production is creating new demand for visual effects services, Altenau points out, but that’s not something FuseFX takes for granted. “We do not treat visual effects as a commodity,” he says. “We respect how difficult it is to do it well and to do it consistently over time. It requires a strong foundation and hard work. That’s the approach we have taken and our clients have responded.”