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  • Saturday, April, 2023| Today's Market | Current Time: 04:09:26
  • Mumbai:  Mumbai based Pixion studio’s have delivered an entire package of DI, VFX, Film Prints in 4k, 2k Output Media Transfers for Cinevator and Digital Cinema and HD mastering on HDsr tapes for Balgandharva – a Marathi film by distinguished Art Director and production designer of Indian cinema, Nitin Chandrakant Desai. The film is directed by Ravi Jadhav – an icon behind the success of Marathi film, Natrang and is written by Abhiram Bhadkamkar.

    The film deals with the character of legendry Marathi singer and stage actor, Narayan Shripad Rajhans, better known as Balgandharva – a title conferred on him by eminent Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak. The movie revolves around the life episodes and era of young Balgandharva portraying some of the most remarkable and historic characters of Indian history like Lokmanya Tilak, Maharaja of Baroda, Shahu Maharaj of Kohlapur, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Anant Kanhare and young V. Shantaram on silver screen. The film talks about Balgandharva’s love for theatre that started with Kirloskar Natak Mandli in 1905, his personal life, his passion to produce impressive work for the audience and his mistakes in life that ruined his financial standing in the society.

    “We are proud to be at the vanguard of technology while being a part of a creation that’s national heritage”. Pixion is about leveraging cutting-edge creativity and state-of-the-art technology to make add value to client’s labour of love” – Sanjay Yashroy, COO, Pixion Studios

    Q. Pirates of Caribbean: On stranger tides, The Social Network, Balgandharva were all shot on Red One. How does shooting on Red One add value to the movie?

    Mithun D’Souza: The RED ONE Camera is a true native 4k Digital Still and Motion Camera. 4k as referred to by the industry refers to the resolution of the image that is represented. It is vastly superior to full HD and 2K. Almost all of our television content is still in Standard Definition. Shooting in 4k is nearly 4 times the resolution of shooting in HD. The visual quality that the RED One cameras can achieve is far superior to the imaging standards of today thus adding value to the movie by making the eventual images look cleaner, have more visual appeal and resolve more resolution both on Film Print and on Digital Projection by packing more pixels and information into the eventual frame.

    Q. The movie was shot and delivered in 4K resolution for film prints; can you please explain the significance of it?

    Mithun D’Souza: Most feature films in India follow a standard delivery pattern of mastering to 2K prints. The film is usually mastered for Film Print as most theaters are equipped with film projection. The exhibition theater numbers are significantly moving towards a digital revolution with the involvement of companies like Scrabble Entertainment (2k standards), Qube/Real Image and UFO, but even today, the main deliverable required by the clientele is a film print. With the source files originating digitally in native 4k off the sensor, we handled the footage in its native RAW format right through the post process and maintained all the metadata and source information off the file through to print. Doing this helped the Producer/ Director/Cinematographer see the visuals they had envisioned on screen in all its 4k glory which as explained earlier, is far superior to a HD or 2k Standard.

    Q. Red One is in use for more than 3 years now; how are the Indian DP’s getting along with it?

    Mithun D’Souza: In our country, the uptake of the RED One Digital Cinema Camera and other digital cameras has been wavered. Largely thanks to the lack of information and know how in the industry at large. A mistake here, a rumor there really tatters the impressions of the industry. Mahesh Limaye, a renowned Director of Photography with title credits such as Fashion and Dabangg to his name was the DP on this project and he took this camera to another level with his amazing eye for detail and his creative skills at lighting a scene. His visuals speaks for themselves and he achieved all of this on a camera system that already has two successors already, the RED One “Mysterium X” and “The Epic” both of which supersedes the RED One equipped with a Mysterium Sensor which this film was shot with in resolution and dynamic range. For him to achieve these visuals in this film is truly spectacular and we just facilitated him to bring that vision to the screen by supporting him in the process.

    Q. Pixion is known for its services on post, design, VFX and restoration and have delivered successfully several block buster films like Toonpur Ka Superrhero, Tees Maar Khan, Action Replayy and Golmaal 3. what was the contribution of Pixion in case of Balgandharva?

    Mithun D’Souza: Pixion handled the entire Digital Intermediate and VFX in the film. But prior to even beginning the DI process, the DP and our colorist set out to define the look and feel of the film. We did multiple camera tests, lens tests and look tests prior to even the first schedule being announced to design the visual aesthetic of the film. Once we were comfortable with a visual style, the DP was confident of all the lighting styles he would eventually use in the production which would then be treated accordingly in the Digital Intermediate process to help tell the story in the way he intended. We also took it up a notch by customizing our workflow to suit the needs of this project as it was one of the first projects of this magnitude to be shot digitally with such a beautiful visual style. Once the DI was completed, Pixion delivered the Film Prints and other deliverables of this project.

    Q. As an audience, can one understand the technical substance of the movie? Do you think it makes a difference to the audience?

    Mithun D’Souza: From a visual standpoint, the main difference to the audience is that movies shot digitally look digital, even if they are projected from a film print. This “issue” is definitely present in some great films like Slumdog Millionaire and other digitally acquired movies. The image often lacks the aesthetically pleasing sensibilities that we are all so accustomed to with films shot on negative. They lack the texture, the lensing (depth of field) and other elements which are taken for granted when we go to watch movies on the big screen. When you can’t tell the difference whether the film was shot digitally or on film, it becomes a win for the DP and the post studio handling the process because they have succeeded in achieving a visual style on different platform compared to film which is far more economical and doesn’t suffer from any of the tradeoffs in image quality and aesthetics. Also, this film being printed at 4k adds to the resolution factor mentioned before there by resolving a far more beautiful and detailed image than standard 2k prints.

    Q. Peter Jackson’s Hobbit is getting shot on 48 frames per second, James Cameron is planning to shoot Avatar 2 and 3 at even 64 FPS, stereoscopic is back and revolutionizing. How do you see Indian technology vis-a-vis western technology?

    Mithun D’Souza: From the technological standpoint, we are on par with our Western counterparts. We use the same equipments and are standardized to the same standards as that of our friends in the west. Films like Balgandharva and other such digitally acquired projects help with the uptake of new technologies proving that there are no tradeoffs even if you shot digitally or on film and thereby reinstating the faith in the Indian producers/directors to vie for this new medium. We are gearing up to supporting this Digital Revolution which is still in its nascent stages at the moment but will catapult into mainstream cinema very rapidly.

    Peter Jackson and James Cameron are industry veterans who have all harnessed the power and flexibility offered by the RED Camera System to shooting their current and future projects digitally. Hobbit is being filmed on RED Epics in 3D and James Cameron recently made a purchase of 50 RED Epics to facilitate his future project. 3D is also a fad that is soon catching on here and is here to stay this time around. Many producers are planning to go down that path as well in the country.

    It was a great experience to carve the digitally shot imagination of the film maker in celluoid medium & recreating the era of Balgandharva since visuals where captured on digital medium, altogether it needed a different kind of work flow was adapted which itself was a learning process for myself. It was indeed a great experience & was lucky to work on such a prestigious project “Balgandharva” – Mangesh K. Bhalerao, DI Line Producer, Pixion

    Q. Mr.Sameer Pandit, as a DI and colorist for films like Fashion, Dabangg and Jail. How has grading added flavour to this movie?

    Sameer Pandit: The major challenge in this film was to make the grade harmonise with the chronological graph that the film follows whilst always still maintaining the period look, achieving this look entailed exercising strict control over the spectrum of colour that could appear on screen and de-emphasizing colours that cued away from the period. Fairly detailed secondary corrections were used to emphasize lighting changes on the stage sequences and generally push the picture into a richer looking image. The digital acquisition of the source added a whole set of advantages and drawbacks into the mix, making it a superb experience on the whole. The fine control exerted by the cinematographer Mahesh Limaye over his craft went a long way into achieving this standard of output.

    Pixion have screened small segments of the film to many of the directors, producers and cinematographers and most of them couldn’t believe that the film was actually acquired digitally. The work done is seamless, just like excellent quality of visual effects where if the VFX looks artificial, then you can easily point it out as something that was created. But when it just flows with the film and you can’t really spot it, you have achieved what you set out to do. Pixion has managed to attend a benchmark in true sense for quality production values and metaphors with no compromises what so ever in the final outputs.


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