Creative in association withGear Seven

Anshul Doshi, Global COO & Group MD/UK and Michael Constantine, Dir of Global Marketing, PRIME FOCUS

Post Production
Mumbai, India

LBB: Tell us a little about what you offer as a company, where your offices are and why?  PF: PRIME FOCUS is a global player in the Visual Entertainment Services space. We specialise in providing creative and technical services for the Feature Film, Broadcast TV, Advertising, Music, Gaming, Internet and media industries.

We provide an end-to-end solution from pre-production to final delivery across this whole spectrum that includes pre-visualisation, visual effects, video and audio post-production, Digital Intermediate, digital media asset management and distribution and even technical equipment hire in some markets.

Our pioneering 'WorldSourcing' (TM) business model brings together our global network to offer clients a unique integrated, timely and cost-effective solution - much needed in the current turbulent economic environment.

Through our 'Global Digital Pipeline' (TM) we can bring appropriate talent, resources and capacity to bear on a client's job from throughout our network - whilst offering global cost advantages because of PF's footprint in higher and lower cost markets.

We have 17 facilities across 3 continents and 5 time zones: with lead hubs in London (Soho), Los Angeles (Hollywood), New York (Manhattan), Mumbai and Chennai - backed by supporting facilities in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa.

LBB: Are you offering any particularly cool services that people may not be aware of?

PF: Yes! A pioneering business model and new product offerings way beyond traditional post production. Quality without compromise at an attractive price:

PRIME FOCUS 'WorldVersioning' (TM)
Our new service to meet the changing and topical needs of multinational advertisers and agencies 'WorldVersioning' (TM) ensures smooth and cost-effective adaptation ('transcreation') and distribution of global/regional/local marketing communications materials - whether video or print based.

It is powered by PRIME FOCUS 'CLEAR' (TM) Prime Focus' proprietary second-generation web-based Content & Workflow Management product/service which offers clients a flexible and user-friendly collaborative workspace. Designed to be scalable and adaptable to integrate with the client's own internal workflow processes, it is a powerful tool to handle content lifecycle management from archiving to secure and fast digital delivery on to multiple platforms. Being subscription-based and hosted ('cloud-computing'), there are no onerous Capital Expenditure or IT support implications for clients.

Current users include ad agencies, marketing companies, broadcasters, film companies and leading sports organisations.

2D TO 3D (Stereo)
True to its impressive pioneering of VFX software (FLOOD (TM), KRAKATOA (TM), AMARETTO (TM),DEADLINE (TM) and AWAKE (TM), PRIME FOCUS in Hollywood is deeply involved in this exciting new technology that will revolutionalise cinema, TV and other visual entertainment platforms. It is no coincidence that SONY has recently announced that consumers will shortly be able to buy 3D Bravia TVs, Vaio laptops, Playstation 3 games consoles and Blu-Ray disc players that are compatible with 3D technology.

To service this emerging need for volume 3D content, Prime Focus is pioneering the technical 'dimensionalisation' process to transform existing 2D film into stereoscopic (3D).

The eventual spill-over into the advertising production space is inevitable.

LBB: Do you feel that agency people and their end clients are aware of your full capabilities?

PF: PRIME FOCUS is a 'well-kept' secret. Widely known in India, the Prime Focus name has played second fiddle to our local company names such as 'blue', 'Machine FX' in UK and 'Frantic Films VFX' and 'Post Logic' in N. America. This will change very shortly.

Clearly the numerous agency producers and the creative teams we work with understand what we can do within their immediate sphere of interest.

The challenge is to raise awareness of our broader scale offering beyond traditional post work (see Q#1 above] to these people and beyond them to agency and client top management. Apart from appreciating our important local credentials in each market, we want our clients to understand the depth and breadth of our global resources and new products/services - and what real, tangible benefits we can offer them.

That's one of the compelling reasons why we are re-launching the whole global offering under the unifying PRIME FOCUS brand name later this month, bringing together the entire network into a homogeneous, seamless group.

We will also be aggressively and consistently promoting our product and services to a wider audience in future.

LBB: We presume you are working directly with some advertisers now. Is this an issue?

PF: Given that we work so closely with leading ad agencies in UK and around our network, we are clearly sensitive to any issues which impact on our relationships. As marketing company clients continue to explore the perceived economic benefits of purchase and procurement-led decoupling of services, it is inevitable that they will look for alternative solutions. We would prefer to work in sync with agencies to provide new effective solutions in a mutually beneficial strategic alliance.

LBB: New companies are appearing to offer global adaptation work, a job traditionally done in a post house. Are these companies offering a different approach or can you offer the same cost-effective service?

PF: Absolutely. This is an area of enormous potential where we believe that there is a need for radical new offerings. That is why we have conceived and are now promoting our new service in this space: PRIME FOCUS 'WorldVersioning' (TM) to meet the changing and topical needs of multinational advertisers and agencies. As mentioned above, 'WorldVersioning' (TM) ensures smooth and cost-effective adaptation ('transcreation') and distribution of global/regional/local marketing communications materials - whether video or print based. It is powered by PRIME FOCUS 'CLEAR' (TM).

LBB: Has the post production business changed over the last 10 years? And what will it look like 10 years from now?

PF: The business has changed almost beyond recognition, in our view - and will continue to change at pace in future. From being (frankly) down towards the bottom-end of the creative production chain, the powerful trinity of technology, digitisation and the fragmentation of the marketing and broadcast media has revolutionised our business and pushed us up the strategic value chain.

Consider how much the media landscape has changed and how it has inevitably created a voracious appetite for content.  Consider how much (or little, depending on your point of view) is actually shot live in camera these days - either in feature film or in ad commercials. Whilst TV will continue to be a keystone medium in the future, new media opportunities and platforms are opening up daily.

Digitisation and technology have driven convergence of disciplines. There are glaringly obvious benefits of cross-pollination of techniques and skills developed at high cost for the feature film or broadcast world to cascade them to the world of commercials and marketing. We work across this whole spectrum where Creativity and Technology fuse so we can confidently and smartly re-apply what we know wherever it makes sense.

Structurally too, we believe the industry must change. It must evolve from a somewhat parochial "cottage industry" to something more robust, financially transparent, forward-looking and more "outside-in" focused.

Whilst this is a very personal, intimate business with relationships built on past experience and trust historically driving where the job is awarded, client-led centralised procurement policies and "decoupling" are radically changing the landscape.

Small boutiques will always find a place. Bigger players with deeper pockets, broader perspective, innovative business models and real ambition will prosper. As proven in all business sectors, in tough economic times it is the middle-sized players who suffer and go to the wall.  

The challenge is to provide the same intensely personal, high-quality service at a local level backed by a sturdy network of resources and talent to be tapped when needed - at a price which both rewards the client and allows our business/industry to prosper. "Quality without compromise at the right price" is the expectation.

That is the model that PRIME FOCUS is offering its current and potential clients.

LBB: What's the favourite (advertising) job your company has worked on recently and why?

PF: That's always difficult to choose as we work with some great agencies and their marketing clients.

Because it best illustrates how we work and how our PRIME FOCUS 'WorldSourcing' (TM) model offers tangible benefits for our clients, it has to be the "No Fry Left Behind" TV spot we recently completed for DDB Chicago/McDonald's.

Working with DDB Chicago, we used our PRIME FOCUS talent and resources in both LA and London to help DDB realise this ambitious spot which involved much VFX and CGI work.

We brought Mike Fink, our Global Head of VFX (Member of the Academy and OSCAR winner for his work on the feature film "GOLDEN COMPASS")into the project at the pre-production and production stages to advise on how best to shoot and achieve the look required. On the basis of this, the post production work was awarded to PRIME FOCUS in London where the job was successfully finished.

Effectively, PRIME FOCUS was able to cascade direct experience from the Hollywood feature film world into a commercial adding real value to deliver the job. Not surprisingly, further projects are on the cards with DDB Chicago.

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