This bit of news ought to be taken as an exception not a rule.
Be it editing, VFX, animation or Digital Intermediate, any creative/technical work on an entertainment product takes good time to be executed properly. However there are instances when speed is the need of the hour.
Post production & DI biggie Prime Focus recently executed a regional blockbuster Police (Malyalam, 2hrs 6 mins) completely in Digital Intermediate in 12 days flat.
Speaking to Animation ‘xpress, Prime Focus CEO Bhaarath Sundar said,” It normally takes around 4-5 weeks to execute a film in Digital Intermediate. When renowned ad and feature film maker from the south VK Prakash approached us with such a short deadline we took the challenge headlong. We used all our infrastructure and resources to see that we could help out our respected client who was in an emergency. We are happy that we could manage to deliver not only in record time but also good quality. ”
Trends Ad Film Makers (VKP’s outfit), the producers of Police, did not have DI in mind while the movie was concieved or being shot. As the movie neared completion, the producers thought of opting for DI which is now emerging as a standard procedure for improving the look of a film. They apportioned a reasonably good amount of time (30 Days) for the process. However work at the initial studio came to a standstill due to certain issues and around 18 days were lost. It was then that they approached Prime Focus.
Recalls Ashvin Naidu, CO-director of Police,”We were in a tough spot and it was a challenge for Prime Focus to do the job in the short timeframe especially since the job requires at least a month’s time. The best thing about Prime Focus is that they deliver. They use all their infrastructural strength and resources”
Prime Focus VFX & DI superviser Rohan Desai who supervised the entire project said,” I would first like to explain why DI was important for this movie. The edit is quite complicated with a lot of dissolves, wipes, transitions and ramps. A lot of such post FX means that if only those portions were to be executed digitally then there would be a lot of color jumps over the whole movie. There are other hassles like matching the original negative with the digital negative. That is why the entire project needed to be executed in DI”
He further added, “Close to 8 people were working 24/7 on this project for all the 12 days. We told the director that if there was any compromise involved we would skip the color correction. We first worked on the portions of the movie which had a lot of FX and then took on the other reels. Getting that done in time was quite a challenge but it was great fun too”
“I hope people will not take this as a benchmark. It was a respectable client who was in an emergency and we put in all our energies and resources” concluded Rohan cautiously.
Digital Intermediate is fast becoming an essential component of film making, with a growing number of movies opting in for it. Prime Focus alone has executed around 30 films in DI in the past 24 months. The standard cost for executing a movie in DI is in the range of Rs 80 lacs to a Crore and the minimum amount of investment to set up a complete DI infrastructure (with storage, Lan,Film recorders et all) is around Rs 15 crore and could go upto double the amount depending on the scale of the setup.