London visual effects facility Cinesite is to undergo a major expansion that will include the launch of new stereo 3D services, a huge recruitment drive and the addition of both floorspace and extra data storage.

The number of production staff at the Kodak owned company will grow by 40% and a new floor will be taken on at its Sheraton Street building in order to accommodate the 85 to 100 additional visual effects artists.

The move will take Cinesite’s total office space to 30,000 square feet.

Having already added 250 terabytes of storage from BlueArc, the company anticipates that it will have added almost half a petabyte of disc space and around 1,000 cores by the end of 2010, with an additional 1,000 cores in 2011.

The stereoscopic 3D visual effects services will cater for films shot in stereo as well as the conversion of 2D films into 3D.

Cinesite managing director Antony Hunt said: “With the recent resurgence of stereo 3D films and our track record at the cutting edge of visual effects for high-end feature films, moving into stereo 3D is a natural progression for us.”

As well as investing in a site licence for The Foundry’s Nuke compositing software, providing an additional 500 visual effects seats, Cinesite has also purchased a Dolby stereoscopic projection system for its 36-seat screening room, a stereo 3D-capable Scratch viewing system and stereo 3D editing suites.

Cinesite’s first stereo 3D project will be Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, for which it has been awarded a significant volume of stereoscopic visual effects work.

The film will be released in 2011.