Pixomondo’s stunning work on the feature film, Hugo, helped company contributors win a 2011 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but few moviegoers could appreciate how the studio accomplished the feat. Pixomondo deployed hundreds of artists in nine locations on three continents to create a seamless stream of production for Hugo. The 24/7 production cycle defines the innovative approach of Pixomondo, which opened its twelfth location in Baton Rouge, La., in May 2012.
John Parenteau, managing producer of Pixomondo North America, says working across time zones and languages allows the company to harness worldwide talent and deliver finished products fast. Founded in Germany in 2001, Pixomondo operates in Berlin, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Toronto, Southern California and other sites. Recent projects include Snow White and the Huntsman, Red Tails and the second season of the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones.
“The way we work is that we treat each division, no matter where it is, as though it’s an office in the same building,” Parenteau says. “We use video conferencing and technical data management systems to allow our teams to communicate quickly. It’s an intimate process that allows us to work on several aspects of a project at once, and increase efficiency and responsiveness to our clients.”
In Baton Rouge, Pixomondo chose a location at Celtic Media Centre, a 23-acre campus founded in 2005 with more than 231,000 square feet of stage and office space. It’s the largest film and TV production studio in Louisiana, where film production ranks third in the U.S., behind California and New York. Louisiana’s pioneering film production tax credit is the leading program of its kind in the country; it is widely respected and valued from Hollywood to New York City.
Visual effects studios gravitate to cities with talent hubs, but Pixomondo believes visual effects artists are all over the globe. “We like the idea of finding these artists in their own communities,” Parenteau says.
Pixomondo Baton Rouge will hire 75 full-time employees by the end of its second year, and will recruit local and national talent. The company is working with LED FastStart®, LED’s turnkey workforce solutions program, to find and train workers.
Despite its decentralized business model, Pixomondo cultivates locations with strong local markets, Parenteau says. Choosing Baton Rouge related to the high frequency of film production in the state. The Louisiana site hosts projects from studios with which Pixomondo regularly works.
“Our clients asked us to be in Louisiana,” Parenteau says. “We don’t expand on a whim. For us, it’s very pointed growth, and is often in response to our client base, to access to artistry, and to give all of our artists a wider base of work.”