Film-maker Rakesh Roshan sat down in the freezer-cold Prasad EFX studio next to movie colourist Ken Metzker, and said jocularly: “It’s just like the old times.”
Roshan was talking about the 60 days he spent in that studio striving to perfect his action movie Krrish. Those “old times” have just become easier.
Digital post-production studio Prasad EFX, a division of the Prasad Corp. Ltd, has installed a digital theatrical projection system. The 1,200-sq. ft mini-theatre, in the suburb of Andheri West, lets the directors and their teams see how their film-edits will look on the big screen.
“India is now in step with world technology,” said A. Ramesh, director of Prasad Group, the parent company. “We couldn’t think of doing this five years back.” One reason for the new technology, he noted, was the modern Indian moviegoer becoming more quality-conscious than ever before. Ultimately, the new theatre-like production room has given directors a more efficient and effective way to manipulate the colours and images in a movie before it is finalized. For example, actor Hritik Roshan wanted his character Krishna in Krrish to have a more copper-toned skin than the father’s character Rohit, also played by Hritik.
In the past, a colourist would make the changes on a screen of around 30 inches, a process that didn’t give filmmakers confidence in how the final movie would look in theatres. So, they would run to the theatres to look at the changes. But the new 24ftX10ft screen with theatre-quality resolution has changed that.
Abraham Samuel, business head at Prasad EFX, said the company offered technologically advanced facilities to attract film-makers willing to pay for quality. Prasad EFX was among the first to offer digital intermediate technology four years ago with the movie Kaakee. Since then, the company has done Hindi and regional language films, including Rang De Basanti, Banaras and Pokiri. They are now working on Gandhi, My Father, to be released later this year. The DI technology allows for colour and image changes that help in storytelling. For example, in Rang De Basanti, half the movie was set in the past and half in the present. The technology allowed them to change the colour to signify this change in time. It also allows them to weave in visual effects more seamlessly.
“This has moved the process along for India to produce world-class quality movies,” said Metzker, who works at Prasad EFX. He said that while Hollywood had about five such rooms, Canada still didn’t have one. Europe as a whole has five and this is likely the only one in Asia, said Metzker.
While other projector rooms exist, he said, they do not have the same size screens or picture quality. Colourists such as Metzer can now make fewer trips to the theatre during post-production. And they can also stay warm. Metzker said the rooms were kept at chilling temperatures because of the old screens. With the new technology in place, they can turn up the heat.