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From Hollywood to Youtube – Shift in focus for Norwich special effects firm FXHome which has featured in hit movies such as Salt and The Hangover Part 2

PUBLISHED: 14:40 16 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:41 18 January 2017

FXHome chief executive and founder Josh Davies, with chief operations officer Andrea Wake, in their You Tube studio. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

FXHome chief executive and founder Josh Davies, with chief operations officer Andrea Wake, in their You Tube studio. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

While its software has been used to create Hollywood films, a Norwich company is turning away from the silver screen and looking to homegrown Youtubers to expand.

Special effects firm FXHome, based in St Giles, is hoping to inspire a new generation of film makers as it aims to increase its user base to five million, which would put it on a level with the products of tech giants Adobe and Apple.

Over the past 12 months the business has had its most successful product launch ever, with more than 10,000 sales of its updated production suite HitFilm, and released a free version of the software.

The software has been featured in films such as The Hangover Part 2 and Angelina Jolie-thriller Salt.

Founder and chief executive Josh Davies said he hoped to inspire and support a community of young creators and was expecting to reach one million users by the end of the financial year. He said: “Our software has been used in Hollywood but we don’t care about that, we care about the young people who want to be creative. We built a free version of our software because we wanted to get through some of the barriers to people making films. We were being used by 200,000 people around the world and now that is nearly a million.”

While some of those who start on the free software will convert to sales of the full product Mr Davies said that was not the focus. The software has add-ons customers can buy, but for 90% of their customers the free version would suffice, he added.

America remains a the major market for FXHome, with the United Kingdom second, and thanksgiving once again proved its busiest sales period.

The growth of video publishing websites such as Youtube and a hands-on approach from youngsters has opened a new market to software developers.

FXHome, which has a turnover of around £1.5m and employs 17 full-time staff, has created a series of educational videos to highlight how to use aspects of its software and to help youngsters to get in to film making.

Recently it teamed up with Norfolk film studio Ember Films, which worked on the BBC’s Planet Earth II series, to create a Star Wars inspired video called Rebellion. Mr Davies said: “People want to be able to create what they see in the cinema or on Game of Thrones themselves.

“We have developed a really positive and friendly community within this age group and group of users and we are happy to keep doing that.”

Other projects which the company will focus on in the coming year include a new piece of photographic software which aims to process quicker than its competitors by using the same technology as FXHome’s video suite.

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