One-stop VFX studio PHD launched


PHD, a one-stop shop founded by visual effects industry veterans John Hughes, Helena Packer and Kevin Donovan has been launched in Los Angeles. From a client’s perspective, what PHD does essentially is to provide all related services, including live-action production, all post-production, color grading, off and online editorial, visual effects, and final delivery.

The new company from Hughes which takes its acronym PHD from the last names of its founders is a full-service post-production house working across the genres of VR/AR, independent films, documentaries, select TV projects including limited series and commercials. It will also offer live action production services to its clients. PHD is also based in Los Angeles and also has offices  in India, Malaysia and South Africa.

PHD is also working with some world class VFX artists including Kristian Schmidt (best known for his underwater work) and Vern Evans (known for soulful portraits).

Hughes is best known to the industry as one of the co-founders of VFX company Rhythm & Hues. He led that studio for 26 years. The company, which won three Oscars for Visual Effects (Babe, The Golden Compass and Life Of Pi) was also heralded for creating its own proprietary software used to generate photo-realistic character animation and visual effects. That earned the company four scientific and engineering Academy Awards.

Rhythm & Hues Studios was acquired in 1999 by visual effects house VIFX. R&H laid off 100 employees before it went into bankruptcy in 2013 which then prompted a lawsuit from the Chapter trustee.

Packer has been the Visual Effects Supervisor and Flame artist for hundreds of commercials and over 20 movies including 21 Jump Street and Charlie Wilson’s War. Her expertise extends beyond feature films though with episodic TV, stereoscopic 3D, and animation.

Donovan is a film, TV and commercials director particularly well-versed in action and visual effects.He directed the feature film The Tuxedo and is currently producing the TV series What Would Trejo Do? He has shot more than 700 commercials during the course of his career, and is the winner ofsix Cannes Lions. He has also filmed projects in Thailand, Romania, South Africa, Brazil, Hong Kong, Kenya, Spain, India, Taiwan, France, Canada, China and Tanzania.