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5 Factors to Check Before Choosing An Agency for VFX Outsourcing

by Altaf Shaikh
5 Factors to Check Before Choosing An Agency for VFX Outsourcing

Visual Effects have become an integral part of filmmaking in today’s world, even for non-animated films. Much of the work is done with green screens replacing actual locations or providing locations that can’t be possible physically. That’s where VFX studios come in.

VFX outsourcing by movie makers is what is driving the VFX industry by and large. It thus becomes essential for any filmmaker and/or studio to choose the right agency to get the best results for their work, as not all of them will fit the same.

Checklist for Choosing the Right Agency

Budget:

The cost of production is a significant factor in determining the choice of agency for VFX. Generally, smaller studios come within a smaller budget as they don’t have to maintain enormous resources. But they might also come with the penalty of large turnaround time for the project, which might affect the overall budget due to delay.

Additionally, one might have to compromise on some minute aspects of the final product because of the lack of capability of the small studio to produce the results.

Large studios, or even medium-sized ones, tend to have the resources required to produce the best visual results. The extra resources also give a quick turnaround time. But they most certainly will come with a higher cost cap, pushing up the overall budget.

Also note an agency’s partners and connections, as many do have large studios or big institutions backing them, thus skewing the size-budget ratio. Local laws play a large part, too, if agencies have a worldwide presence and a distributed workload model.

Location:

Traditionally, VFX agencies have been located in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, where most demand has existed. This is no longer the case, as globalization has affected the industry too. For example, California has had its core business in the industry nearly cleared in the past two decades.

There is now demand in places like India, China, and many other such countries for VFX because of their growing movie and TV industries.

Many VFX agencies have moved their businesses to those locations to cater to their demands easily and reduce labor costs. Studios with the best of computer hardware and software still reside in the traditional markets, though.

Tax incentives in various markets have also played a large role in the repositioning of the agencies. Choosing an agency now means knowing where they’re based, where the actual work will be done, how that location will affect turnaround time, quality, and budget.

Technology:

VFX demands some of the best hardware such as Graphics Cards, Processors, etc. and the best software such as Photo Editors, Animation Software, Editing Software, etc. for it to be created.

Agencies continuously need to keep updating their resources in those departments to keep up with the competition. Generally, smaller studios have a harder time doing so due to their smaller budgets. Still, they might be sufficient for the project at hand.

The demand for greater use of the latest technologies increases with the need for more visually appealing renders. High frame rates, high resolutions like 4K, 3D, multi-angle shots, etc. all add to the demand.

AI is also largely disrupting the industry, introducing a host of new possibilities for any and every type of project. Learning how an agency has included these will help with the decision making process.

Experience:

VFX agencies with a history of work on large projects are sought after more. This is because their work is there to be seen on screen, giving the assurance that any filmmaker looks for. They will also have developed more efficient techniques to do a job or figure out entirely new things that the competition might not have.

That doesn’t mean that quality will take a hit with smaller, less reputable studios. They might have done a great job on less well-known projects. It is prudent to go through an agency’s history, or at least their samples, to get an idea of their capabilities.

Security and Support:

Having a movie or game leaked before release will be a huge blow to its creators. Thus, VFX outsourcing must happen to an agency that has robust measures to ensure that it does not happen.

The company must also have a good support system that’s available anytime to clear out any issues that might arise during or after completion of the work. The right VFX provider will turn a good product into a real treat for its audience and creators alike.

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