What Becomes a Legend Most? San Diego’s Legend3D Boasts 700 Percent Growth

Barry Sandrew, whose imaging expertise as a Harvard neuroscientist led him to a mid-life career change in Hollywood, tells me the company he founded in San Diego remains on course with a 700 percent growth rate over the past year.

As I reported in May, Sandrew founded San Diego-based Legend Films in 2001 as a digital movie colorization lab. But Hollywood’s passionate rush to embrace 3D filmmaking transformed Legend Films from a behind-the-scenes colorization lab into a renamed company—Legend3D. And Legend3D is now viewed as one of the film industry’s leading specialty houses for digital 3D conversion of feature films. In fact, “except for one client, we have pretty much stopped our colorization work to concentrate on 3D,” Sandrew told me by telephone yesterday.

Legend3D’s early lead in converting two-dimensional digital films into a three-dimensional “immersive experience” has continued to accelerate. Sandrew says the company’s San Diego headcount now stands at 280, up from 260 in May, and the number of Legend3D employees in India has increased to 750 from 700 over the same four months. The company (with venture funding from what is now Boston’s Par Investment Partners and San Francisco’s Augustus Ventures) says it has experienced growth at a rate of more than 700 percent over the last year “due to its deep industry knowledge and proprietary technology.”

In a statement released by the company, Sandrew says, “High-quality 2D-to-3D conversion work requires that skilled artistry and advanced technology be coupled successfully with a close working relationship between studios and filmmakers.”

Legend3D works its three-dimensional wizardry on both catalog film titles as well as new films that were shot in 2D and are essentially ready for release. “We’re trying to get up to the point where we could do four movies simultaneously,” Sandrew says. As part of the company’s growth spurt, Sandrew says Legend3D also is opening an office on Sunset Boulevard to help support the company’s work with Hollywood studios. “With colorization, we had a lot of studio clients, but very little interaction,” Sandrew tells me. “With 3D, there is a lot of interaction required… For the first time in 23 years, I’m finding a real need for a presence in L.A.” (Sandrew first worked with the pioneering colorizer American Film Technologies before starting Lightspan, a computer education company, and later, Legend Films.)

Most of Legend3D’s work, however, must be kept secret under non-disclosure agreements. “We did some work with DreamWorks, but I really can’t say anything about it,” Sandrew says. “We finished work on three movies about two weeks ago, but I can’t talk about that either.”

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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