The Revolution of Post Production

DIGIPOST 2015We need to evolve.  We need to re-invent ourselves.  Sounds familiar?

These are the words that are commonly spoken nowadays.  With the emergence of technology coming at a breakneck pace, the post production industry is one of the industries struggling to keep up.

However where is decline, there will be opportunities.  Being in the post production business in the last decade and hearing the constant death knell in the visual effects industry, we believe there is only one path to the future.

Revolution.

Talent and passion is key

For too long, the post production business has created many visual effects operators who are simply technically competent on the machine.  Expensive software has made the industry practical inaccessible to any layman.

Technology has changed.  With cheaper software and hardware, there are no more barriers to entry.  For once in a long time, talents who are truly gifted and passionate in the art of storytelling (editors), painting (colourist), digital magicians (online artists, compositors, CG artists) can have a successful career.

They just need the imagination and the right nurturing from the studio.

 

To work in creative teams

The post production process workflow from offline to colour to online & CG to audio works no different from an assembly in a factory.  Often department do not communicate and worst, do not understand the purpose of the project.  Such environment creates a stifling and political work environment.

No practitioner in post-production ever started in the industry wanting to be worker in an assembly line.  Most enter because of a film they seen that inspires them, a fantastical world in a computer game that awes them or simply wanting to creative field.

Break the workflow.  The post production workflow needs to be destroyed totally.  We need to have organic teams that every member to understand the goal of the project.  They need to work in teams from A to Z, from concept to execution.

This brings us to the next step.

 

To possess multi-disciplinary skill-sets and be highly adaptable

The age of specialization is gone.  Factory workers are being replaced by robots, drivers are soon to be replaced by driverless cars and the internet is slowly (but surely) putting traditional advertising and media in decline.

Technology is replacing any job that is repetitive or at one time called a ‘specialization’.  Any position in post-production can soon be replaced by a plugin or a latest ‘easier-to-use’ software.

The new generation of practitioner needs to highly adaptable and possess different skill sets.  With the right tools, they can achieve the same quality that used to take more than 5 people, or even 10.

With the right team, it is amazing the quality of work that can be produced.

 

Build strong partnerships

The supplier mentality needs to be changed to a partnership.  Work with clients who value the creativity and the execution in the team.

If the client partnership lasts only because of a cheaper rate, then that is a partnership that will not last.  Lose them now, or lose them later.  It is only a matter of time.

Be brave.

 

This is not an evolution.  We cannot re-invent ourselves.  Change is all that is left.

Where there is decline, there is opportunity.

So who wants to join us on the new ship?

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‘O Color, Why Should I Bother?’

Here’s the reason why you need to hire a professional colorist to grade your works

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A screenshot from Bobby Nguyen – The photographer, a short film produced by RICE and color graded by DIGIPOST

Since “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” was released in 2000 and became the first feature film to get fully digital color grading, color grading techniques have gone through a huge evolution.

Nowadays anyone can color grade their works quickly and effectively like a pro with the assistance of advanced software. Or, so the software marketers have been telling you.

That has raised a critical question: if color grading sounds that easy, do you still need to pay high prices to hire a professional colorist to do your works?

Definitely yes. Here’s why.

In order to add the emotional engagement to your works, and big one at that, you do not need someone who masters grading techniques only.

You need someone who is also an artist, or a painter in particular. Someone who has a taste and an eye for colors. Someone who knows how to choose the right color to provoke desired emotions from audience.

And, that taste is something natural. Either you have it or you do not. Just like in arts, it’s one thing that you can paint, but whether you are a talented painter is another thing.

“Color grading is about shaping the emotional effects of a scene, rather than just fixing technical errors happening during filming such as lighting,” Laura, a colorist at DIGIPOST, said.

“It’s like sculpting,” she said.

In an old interview on the breakthrough color grading of “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Randy Starr, VFX producer at Cinesite, which did the film’s VFX, once said color was like a character in a movie.

“As a character, it let you feel the period of time. It let you feel the heat in the air. It let you feel the sweats on the body. And that’s something a filmmaker couldn’t capture on a camera.”

In other words, without a professional colorist who plays as a good director to bring out the best of that character, your works are never complete, emotionally.

It’s time to break that prejudice towards Vietnam post-production

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A screenshot from a TVC completed by DIGIPOST

Director Luong Dinh Dung recently told local media that he sent his highly-anticipated movie “Cha cong con” (Father and Son) to South Korea for post-production. He said most of local directors had their works posted overseas, since post-production technologies in Vietnam are not comparable to other regional countries.

The claim is not new, as similar statements have been reported in local media over the past decade.

But how correct are the claims? Is it true that after more than 10 years, there is not a singular improvement in Vietnam’s post-production technologies at all?

It’s not.

The high-profile movie “Tam Cam: The Untold,” released at the end of August, was praised for its visual effects that were created by Vietnamese artists. Major newspapers such as Thanh Nien and Saigon Giai Phong have reported how Vietnam’s post-production technologies have been on par with regional and even Hollywood standards in recent years.

Vietnam’s young artists even have upped their game and created an animated short film, using the latest 3D Virtual Reality technology.

“These days, how advanced your technologies are no longer matters in post-production,” Andy Ho, executive producer at DIGIPOST, commented on the evolution of post-production. “Anyone who has money to spend on high-end software and other top tools can create standard effects.”

“Post-production is now about professionalism,” he said. “What distinguishes a top post house from average ones is how professional its workflows and personnel are.”

A Ho Chi Minh City-based post house with more than 22 years of experience and a team of international professionals, DIGIPOST, for instance, has provided services for both local and international film studios.

Now, however, due to business reasons, DIGIPOST only makes post-production for feature films selectively, like when its services are meant as a support for young filmmakers, Andy said.

“While feature films demand longer workflows and more complicate technologies, they take post houses longer time to recoup investment, compared to TV commercials,” he said in an explanation why DIGIPOST has focused more on TVCs in recent years.

“When the post-production market grows, DIGIPOST will expand its range. Meanwhile, it will continue to focus on the sector of TVCs where it has proved to be a leader in Vietnam,” Andy said.