After using the RED Weapon Brain camera for his maiden project, director-producer Farhad Vijay Arora has decided on 8K content for all his future assignments
By Vinita Bhatia
When director-producer Farhad Vijay Arora decided to create a musical as part of a non-profit national youth initiative, he had one thing in mind. He wanted it to be so visually compelling that anyone watching it would connect with it instantly. To be able to achieve this objective, he needed a camera that could capture the visuals perfectly.
And he felt only camera that could do justice to this was the RED Weapon Brain with Helium 8K S35 Sensor. He learnt of someone who had procured this camera for his personal use in India and asked him to loan it to him for the project. Seeing his enthusiasm, the person agreed.
So why was he so fixated on RED? As if the answer is obvious, Arora replied that it was due of the resolution! “I wanted to showcase the 10-minute docu-musical in 8K resolution. And we used Master Prime lenses, which are the best available here. If I had used, let’s say ARRI, whatever attributes I would have got in terms of image quality, could have been compensated in DI, but it would take much longer time in the post-production,” he explained.
Also, he added that had he shot on any other camera, he would have got the depth, the colour saturation, the cinematic image in its native form; but not get the resolution he sought. “And today, YouTube has begun showcasing 8K content, so I needed 8K content,” he clarified.
NOT WITHOUT HURDLES
However, shooting in 8K was not without its share of technical snags. Firstly, few people currently have the technical expertise of dealing with 8K content in the country. So, processing the footage with respect to editing, etc, was a major issue, since the standards for 8K have not been outlined for the existing machines.
“A lot of R&D had to go into exploring this, with respect to sourcing certain codex and getting the data processed. Else, what would happen is that the moment we would start playing the footage, the computer would shudder, then stall,” Arora recalled.
Rendering was another huge problem as rendering even the smallest file for VFX had to be done in four to five passes. “Executing the post-production was probably the hardest part that we faced for this project,” he inferred.
DEALING WITH CHALLENGES
Arora is a self-confessed tech afficianado, and hence misses no opportunity to use the latest technology. However, another reason he was adamant about shooting in 8K is to showcase to the global audience that Indians are at par with international movie makers when it comes to state-of-the-art know-how.
With around 200 members involved in the production, VFX and promotion of this project and the use of expensive equipment like the RED camera, the initial budget for the musical was overextended. However, looking at the altruistic nature of this initiative, many people chipped in for the cause and even worked pro bono.
“It was not just the professional fees, there were certain actuals that come into the process like the VFX, sourcing of the camera, and other equipment costs, etc, which we bore to a great extent. Wherever we could get a sponsorship, we did. But for some other things, many people on the team just helped out selflessly,” Arora claimed.
Talking about the project, without revealing its name, he said that it will be released by October 2017. It is inspired by true-life events and delves into the confusion that the modern generation faces when it comes to patriotism. The musical is a rendition by songwriter and musician, Shayan.
“We wanted to create content that will connect with the current youth. So the production quality had to be such that it could match worldwide standards, since youngsters spend a lot of time on the digital platform. Here, they are not viewing Indian content; they are viewing global content,” Arora explained, when asked about the amount of time spent in post-production.
The content of the musical-documentary therefore was crafted to be very crisp, clear, vivid and bold. It will initially be released on various online platforms and later be distributed on TV channels and hopefully in cinema theatres, too.
After shooting this project in 8K, Arora has tasted blood. He has now decided that for all his future assignments, as a director and producer, will be on 8K, which he believes makes the content future-ready. Not only does this increase its shelf life, it also augments its business viability as the content can be seen and revisited several time, without chances of it being damaged.