Company 3 - a Digital Intermediate powerhouse in Santa Monica, CA - joined forces with FutureWorks, a Mumbai-based post-production facility, in order to offer its color grading services to Bollywood's feature film and commercial clients.
Company 3, a subsidiary of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, just followed in the footsteps of many visual effects facilities by partnering with an Asian facility. In this case, Company 3 - a Digital Intermediate powerhouse in Santa Monica, CA - joined forces with FutureWorks, a Mumbai-based post-production facility, in order to offer its color grading services to Bollywood's feature film and commercial clients. Company 3 Founder and President Stefan Sonnenfeld orchestrated the arrangement.
Company 3 Founder and President Stefan Sonnenfeld
"Stefan Sonnenfeld's relationships in India led to an introduction to Gaurav Gupta, CEO at FutureWorks, who was very impressed with the creative talent at CO3," says Deluxe's Director of Commercial Sales Alaina Zanotti. "Gaurav initially recognized the quality of the feature work coming out of Company 3, and recognized an opportunity to leverage our commercial talent in Mumbai." Founded in 2007, FutureWorks provides visual effects, visual design, digital intermediate, sound and other post services for feature films, commercials, music videos and trailers. The privately held company has clients throughout India and also works with Disney, Warner, Fox, and Paramount.
CO3 and FutureWorks initially tested how the relationship would work. "We held meetings and conducted tests to ensure the necessary bandwidth needed to maintain an outpost," says Zanotti. "Once testing was completed and we determined we could meet expectations of the market in Mumbai, we moved forward."
"Mumbai is one of the world's thriving centers of film and advertising production," says Sonnenfeld. "This 'virtual outpost' is a wonderful way to bring clients working there together with our Company 3 colorists." According to Zanotti, the time difference between the countries is not an issue. "We're able to service clients in Mumbai during traditionally slow hours in the U.S.," she says.
Now, clients working out of FutureWorks can collaborate with any Company 3 artist based in Company 3's Santa Monica, New York, Atlanta, or London facilities. The Mumbai outpost has already been used successfully for the Nokia Bollywood Pocket Dance Wire, directed by Ahmen Khan for agency AKLP, which was graded by Company 3 colorist Siggy Ferstl in Santa Monica. Ferstl was able to interact in real time with clients in Mumbai.
56 second Nokia Bollywood film directed by Ahmed Khan with a remix of the Nokia ringtone composed by Raiomond Mirza.
The technical specifications of the collaboration include exact calibration of displays in the two locations so that everyone at both facilities sees exactly the same images and image refinements. According to Zanotti, the connection between facilities relies on Aspera Faspex "for prompt file exchange between facilities' for pre or post session. "Physical color correction can occur at Company 3 in HD, 2K and 4K," she says. "Clients view the grading session in real-time in Standard Definition."
"A Polycom conferencing system allows the client and colorist to interact during the session in real-time," she adds. "We have a real-time video streaming system that is calibrated to ensure the highest quality picture integrity. Plus we have redundant hardware and training/engineering support at both locations, including proprietary test patterns and specs."
Gaurav Gupta CEO at FutureWorks Media Limited
From FutureWorks point of view, the relationship with Company 3 enables them to "raise the bar in terms of creative and technical offerings." Gupta adds, "This outpost allows FutureWorks to offer our local clients a roster of internationally-renowned colorists who have graded highly-regarded films and commercials."
Company 3 colorists include John Bonta, Sean Coleman, Siggy Ferstl, Billy Gabor, Adam Glasman, Dave Hussey, Tim Masick, Stephen Nakamura, Mike Pethel, Rob Pizzey, Tom Poole, Rob Sciarratta and Stefan Sonnenfeld. Recent commercial projects include campaigns for Apple, Audi, BMW, Heineken, Nike and others. Recent feature film credits include Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.
Both FutureWorks and CO3 expect that the majority of the work to benefit from the partnership will initially be short-form commercials. "We hope to expand our relationship with FutureWorks beyond commercial spots to include feature films and other projects in the future," says Zanotti.
Company 3's move makes perfect sense in an increasingly global environment. My guess is that there are still kinks to be worked out in the technical arena, but I wouldn't be surprised if other facilities follow CO3's lead and if CO3 expands the offering to include feature films.
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