Del Rey-based digital effects studio goes independent in a rocky industry after management-led buyout

By Michael Aushenker

Del Rey-based House of Moves — a seasoned motion capture and animation studio with credits including the video games “Call of Duty,” “HALO” and “God of War” as well as this year’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film — announced the completion of a management-led buyout on Oct. 15, putting the company in local control.

The amicable buyout and separation from parent company Oxford Metrics Group allows the studio, formerly known as Vicon House of Moves, to continue along its path toward becoming a full-service animation house, said House of Moves CEO Brian Rausch, who led the buyout charge over the past two years.

Independence frees House of Moves from requirements to use only OMG-manufactured technology, said Rausch, who declined to name the investors that made the transition possible.

Rausch spent eight years with Sony Computer Entertainment’s cinematic animation and video services department before joining House of Moves.

“At big companies like Sony, you have to wait for the dude in front of you to die,” he said of why he left Sony to helm House of Moves. “I joined in 2008 and immediately set out to make it a full-service animation company.”

Rausch expressed relief at no longer being shackled by the anxieties of shareholders.

“OMG and Vicon, they make measurement tools and they’re very good at it, but as soon as we went into the creative field we fell out of their investment profile,” he said. “Being in the entertainment space, it’s bumpy.”

Over the past few years, many California-based digital animation studios have fallen victim to overseas outsourcing, out-of-town film subsidies and the instability of contract work.

Rhythm and Hues, a digital effects house that once employed 700 people in Playa Vista, filed for bankruptcy just two weeks before winning an Academy Award for its work on the 2012 blockbuster “Life of Pi” and was subsequently bought out by a larger company.

“The anxiety is pretty much industry- wide,” Rausch said. But “We’re a brick-and-mortar business, and it’s nice to have a business in L.A.”

House of Moves’ credits also include “TRON Legacy” and the “Red Dawn” remake, as well as the game “Battlefield: Hardline.”

michael@argonautnews.com

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