When Take Two, the full-service visual effects, editorial, and finishing house, recently streamlined its name to T2, it wasn’st just about updating their image. The new banner heralds the next phase of growth for this high-end Kansas City-based company, which has been an industry leader for over 20 years. Headed up by CEO Teri Rogers, T2 has expanded its visual FX presence through a move into the high-end CGI arena – fostered by a new association with four-time Emmy-nominated visual effects artist, Bruce Branit. This expansion, along with the company move into the feature film business through ‘titling and trailers’ work, precipitated the purchase of an expansive warehouse building in the heart of the city vibrant Crossroads art district. The airy, loft-like space, its over-the-top amenities and new services will all debut on May 4th, when the company new headquarters officially opens its doors under the T2 moniker.
After completely gutting and then redesigning the new building from the ground up, the award-winning local architectural design firm Helix, is putting the finishing touches on what T2 roster of top-caliber editors, designers, animators and artists considers to be a dream work environment in a creatively stimulating part of the city.
As Rogers points out, “Part of the plan when designing T2’s new building was to allow for expansion in both the visual FX area and the entertainment segment. Our first step in that expansion was to solidify an association with Branit FX and provide suite space for Bruce within our new, expansive space. The addition of high end CGI on site really rounds out our visual FX reel. And we’re looking forward to Branit credits in entertainment, on everything from ‘King Kong’ and ‘Sin City,’s as well as his work for advertising agencies’ on high-end national commercials opening doors in new business segments for T2.’
‘Basically, having a visual effects artist of Bruce caliber at T2 is a win-win situation for everyone involved,’ adds Rogers. ‘It allows T2 to expand into high-end CGI, and lets Bruce focus on his craft, while T2 provides him with all the technical and marketing support he needs.”
‘Hooking up with T2 is great, as we have very complementary abilities,’ agrees Branit, whose extensive credits also include co-creating the acclaimed short, ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§405,’s one of the first viral movies. ‘I focus more on 3D and photo-real CG imagery, while T2 tends to focus more on compositing and editing and all-around graphic design, so it a great marriage. And by working together, we’sll be able to offer a lot more than either of us could alone,” adds Branit, who will be represented by T2 in the commercial market and collaborating with the company’s talent roster on agency work, while taking advantage of the flexibility to also work independently.
Branit also notes that he ‘very happy’ to be back in Kansas City. ‘I was born and bred here, and after the crazy pace of LA and New York, it nice to move back to somewhere where people and relationships still come first, and you’sre not always stuck in traffic.’
T2 spacious new headquarters provides agency creatives with stunning lounge areas, client workstations, and lots of play and recreational space. The company two Avid Media Composer suites, two Discreet Smoke suites, an Adrenalin suite, multiple graphics workstations, and two Apple Final Cut Pro rooms were designed with agency creatives in mind.
‘The open-architecture design of the space allows us to segment our business, so that we can really focus on commercials in one area, visual effects in another, and long-form and entertainment pieces in another. It defines all those different service areas, based on the client needs, and it still centralized under one roof,’ says Rogers. ‘Yet it also supports our talents’s collaborative approach to their crafts by allowing them to work together on projects.’
For architect and Helix co-owner Jay Tomlinson, the big challenge was ‘designing a space that services the needs of all Teri clients,’ he explains. ‘She really wanted to showcase the company sense of hospitality, while at the same time accommodating all the technical requirements. It was a bit like architectural psychology, in that we had to find T2 DNA and then design to that. Ultimately, we both came up with something that feels far more like the lobby of a boutique hotel than your typical post facility, and we’sre all thrilled with the results. We got it all done on time, and it turned out the way we’sd all envisioned.’
For Rogers, the new space and immediate future offer T2 exciting possibilities in cutting-edge technologies. ‘Clearly we want to grow the visual effects, motion graphics and 3D areas of our business,’ she comments. ‘And we also plan to extend the entertainment part of our business into trailers for feature films, as well as titling.’
Rogers goes on to stress that, ‘Although our new space gives us the increased capabilities to services a broader geographic area, we remain dedicated to meeting the needs of our core agency client base, right here in Kansas City. In fact, we really see the local segment of our business growing, as we’sd like to tap into more of this vibrant production and advertising town creative talent and work.’
Indeed, while T2 offers clients the very latest in editorial, finishing and visual effects equipment, the company has always been driven by its human resources – a roster of award-winning creative talent with credits that include a long roster of both local and national commercials.
‘Over the last few years, we’sve recruited some of the best creative editorial and visual effects talent in the country,’ Rogers declares. ‘Each one of them has been handpicked as part of this high-end editorial and visual effects group ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® complementing each other and bringing their own particular creative strengths.’
The creative editorial team is anchored by Pete Meyer and Brian Hicks, formerly of Avenue Edit (Chicago) and HiWire (Mpls) and Red Car ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® respectively. Smoke and visual effects artist, Michael Ong and Allen Robbins make up the finishing segment of T2 ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® and visual effects is rounded out by motion graphic designers, Darton Simons and Cameron Pierron. Two fresh faces in the final cut suites are making big strides in the emerging media fields ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® Nick Balda and Cara Myers, both educated at Art Schools. And then, of course, Bruce Branit and his company ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® bringing the CGI component to T2.
To further capitalize on its expansion and growing market, Rogers recently announced that T2 has signed Rob Russo Productions/NY for east coast representation.
‘The caliber of T2 talent, and their commitment to quality and creativity, makes this postproduction house an ideal candidate for a broader marketing effort,’ notes Russo. ‘And the expanded space and services they soon will be able to offer clients when they move into their new building, makes the timing just right for east coast representation.
‘Kansas City has developed into a boutique-sized Mecca for quality advertising and creative services,’ Rogers emphasizes. ‘With the launch of T2 we’sre capitalizing on the great work already being done by the agencies here in KC and taking the next logical step: competing on a national and even global level in the editorial and visual effects arenas. Post houses no longer have to be on one of the coasts in order to establish themselves as a major player in their field,’ she concludes. ‘The Creative Liberation Party revolution — the platform for our new advertising campaign ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬®- is dedicated to changing that stereotypical perception that geographic location trumps high-end creativity.’
‘Kansas City has been this well-kept secret in the past, but now it as viable a resource for visual effects talent as Chicago or any other city,’ continues Rogers. ‘T2 is ready to get the message out that we have the talent and technology to provide agencies with top-caliber effects and finishing, regardless of their geographic location.’
Summing up, Rogers notes that, ‘all of this is really a culmination of the company gradual evolution over the past few years. We began using the ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§T2’s brand more and more over the last four years, and so this big move, coupled with all the growth, gave us the perfect opportunity to really move into the name as well. It really just extending the brand. We brought T2 forward and dropped the weight of ‘taketwo’ ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® but it still there ?‚àö√ë‚àö¬® for now.’
T2, is an independent, full-service editorial, visual effects and finishing house dedicated to providing advertising agencies with integrated and seamless creative resources. For additional information about its services, go to www.t2.tv. To request a reel, contact Linda Buchner, Director of Marketing, at 800.471.6554.