Star Trek: Picard Star Trek: Picard

Amid numerous reports of layoffs throughout the visual effects industry, global vfx producer Double Negative has shut down its tv vfx unit in Los Angeles, Cartoon Brew has confirmed.

The shutdown, which DNEG attibutes to the disruption of production schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic, will result in the loss of around 20 jobs in Los Angeles, according to the studio. At the studio’s peak, which was a few months ago, the tv production unit at DNEG LA employed around 40 workers, including both staffers and freelancers.

DNEG’s Los Angeles office will remain open, serving as a business office for producers, as well as housing previs and art teams for film projects. Only the tv vfx group, which comprised the largest part of the L.A. office, is closing. DNEG’s other studios in the U.K., Canada, and India will pick up the slack and continue television vfx production.

Lee Berger, executive vice president, head of DNEG LA, provided the following statement on the shutdown:

In response to the growth in demand for our services, we’ve built significant TV VFX teams in Canada and India over the last couple of years, as well as in London, while our LA team has remained at the same size. The current disruption to production schedules as a result of COVID-19, and delays in the production of new content, are affecting all companies in our industry, and we have taken the decision to centralise our TV production work in our main hubs in London, Canada and India.

This unfortunately means that we are unable to continue the employment of our talented LA-based TV team. Our global TV teams still work closely with DNEG TV Executive Producer Andy Willliams in LA, who continues to liaise with our West Coast clients on new business and in support of the TV VFX work being done in all of our global offices. We’d like to thank the wonderful artists who have delivered outstanding TV VFX work from our LA studio over the last few years, and wish them all the best for the future.

The laid-off group of artists include compositors, lighters, and generalists. The studio most recently completed work on the first season of Star Trek: Picard (pictured at top) and the third season of Westworld. Vfx for Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu) and the upcoming Defending Jacob (Apple TV+) were also produced at DNEG LA. Additionally, the studio assisted other DNEG studios on shows such as Altered Carbon, Dark Crystal, Locke and Key, and Chernobyl.

The L.A. tv vfx production office was a short-lived experiment for DNEG. It was first announced in August 2016 and lasted just over three years. Its closure is unfortunate not only for the loss of jobs, but also because the group had established a positive reputation within L.A.’s vfx industry, and was known for its artist-friendly environment and the limitations it placed on the amount of overtime worked by its crew.

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