By Melissa Keogh
Post production rebates, revolutionary high-speed internet networks, and a growing reputation for world class visual effects (VFX) work are just some factors Adelaide studio Resin says is boosting business.
The opportunity to grow at the small VFX studio specialising in long-form series and feature film VFX has prompted the Adelaide born and based Resin to branch out and open offices interstate.
At the end of 2018, Resin expanded with a new business partner to open studios in Melbourne and Brisbane, a huge feat for the relatively small business and its 14 staff and portfolio including the 2019 Storm Boy, Electric Dreams, Red Dog and Netflix series Tidelands.
The business’s founders, VFX supervisor Grant Lovering and VFX producer Lincoln Wogan, say Adelaide is a great location to co-ordinate production between the teams Resin is building in the other studios.
“The expansion opens up access to more projects coming into Australia and will enable more face time with less travel to be with our clients in those locations,” Grant says.
Resin was the primary VFX vendor for the beloved Storm Boy remake, creating a digital double of the famous pelican Mr Percival, along with ocean and storm VFX.
“Virtually anything you see on TV, in a series or on film, will have VFX in it,” Lincoln says. “Sometimes it’s as simple as they’ve shot at a particular location and all the signage needs to be removed, to changing a half-built location in a studio set to a dense jungle.
“Sometimes it’s simulating something too dangerous to do practically, but the most common requirement is to fill in the gaps to make the audience believe what is presented to them on screen no matter how unbelievable that may be.”
Despite Resin’s work ending up on small screens and cinemas nationally and worldwide, the business’s founders say Adelaide will remain as the headquarters.
“Fortunately the opportunity to do this work from any location means we don’t need to relocate to Los Angeles,” Lincoln says. “Regular visits make me appreciate Adelaide’s five minute commute to the studio.”
VFX supervisor Grant agrees, adding that the rollout of the city’s Ten Gigabit ultra-fast fibre optic network has been a tremendous benefit, however, it’s the state’s sound training facilities and VFX education courses training the next generation of VFX professionals that is helping grow VFX as an industry in Adelaide.
“For the younger generation that’s coming through now, there are heaps of good (VFX and post production) courses available in SA through our universities and private education institutions,” he says.
“We have great training facilities all around us and we have brilliant physical infrastructure that allows us to compete internationally.”
SA’s Post Production, Digital and Visual Effects (PDV) rebate is also making Adelaide an attractive place for large budget international productions.
The offset sees companies receive a 10% rebate on their SA expenditure. Combined with the Federal Government’s PDV offset of 30%, international films can apply for a total combined 40% rebate on expenditure on post production, digital and VFX works on eligible projects.
Resin was born in 2006, with Grant and Lincoln partnering to create a post-production and VFX studio specialising in television advertisements. The work was consistently flowing and in 2010 Resin began working internationally for clients including Disney and Braun over a two to three year period.
Despite the distance between SA, the US and Europe, Resin continued effortlessly to base itself in Adelaide and complete all works from its small studio with about 17 staff at its peak.
But due to an economic downturn in the US and with the Aussie dollar soaring, international work for Resin began to contract and so the business focused itself on more local projects.
By 2015, Resin had completed a few TV and film projects, including film Red Dog, when it became the sole VFX vendor for US series Hunters, with executive producer Gale Anne Hurd of The Walking Dead and Terminator franchises.
“At the end of that project we came away knowing this was our future … we pieced together that production in advertising wasn’t a growing market, shifts were happening,” Grant says.
“We were in the emergence of Netflix and all the other streamers as well so it was quite a good opportunity in the marketplace.”
With an increase in streamed content creating a demand for long-form VFX work, Resin changed its focus to rely solely on TV and film work, joining Ausfilm and focusing itself in LA. That focus led to the opportunity to work on Sony TV series Electric Dreams, an anthology of stories from Philip K Dick (Bladerunner). Resin travelled to Chicago and completed on-set supervision and VFX on two episodes, while also working on The Tick (Sony) and Queen of the South (Fox).
Growth at Resin has been on a healthy upward climb over the past three years. Grant and Lincoln say they are preparing for work to “explode”.
“We’ll need to make a decision about how much we want to grow in the next 12 months with some great projects lining up, it’s that significant,” Grant says.
Grant Lovering and Lincoln Wogan are Brand South Australia’s latest I Choose SA ambassadors for creative industries.
Industry in focus: Creative Industries
Throughout the month of March, the state’s creative industries will be explored as part of I Choose SA.
South Australia is home to a thriving ecosystem of creative businesses and specialists who are delivering world-class works VFX, TV and film production, app development and the VR space. Read more creative industries stories here.
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