POST BLACKBOX SERVICES – a digital data and workflow services company.
A venture, by partners Neil Sadwelkar, Sumeet Kamath, Sreeram Ramanathan in operation since 2012.
Film-makers who chose to shoot their movie on digital – Red, Alexa, Canon, etc – do not always have a smooth experience. Data is often backed by young men with no formal training in any aspect of cinema and a rudimentary working knowledge of computers. Can be a dangerous combination.
So what does Post BlackBox do ?
A feature film is shot at many locations over many months with cameras from different rental houses. Different hands do the data (mis) management. In the end, just before the DI or finishing stage, EDLs don’t match, some files are not traceable, time starts getting lost. And the producer doesn’t know whom to ask. Often he or she has already made payments to these data (mis) managers.
Then, at times, post facilities can’t open newer digital formats, so they go through endless conversions. Editors are puzzled on how to proceed with editing, and there’s endless rendering. Online, finishing, DI, VFX, all becomes an unpredictable activity. Files don’t open, again conversions, again rendering.
Data storage is another area filled with uncertainty. Hard disks are slow, time is spent on copying with mismatched systems and software, files come late for editing.
On rare occasions, disks crash, reshoots, re-edits, loss of work, time, money and sanity…
Partial or Total confusion is the eventual result.
Post Black Box was created as a digital data and workflow guidance and services company to help reduce if not eliminate these problems.
For any kind of movies (feature films, focus, TV shows, ad films) shot digitally, we can participate from the planning. Advice on workflow, and procedures. Then help store and backup data correctly on set, and at the home base. Save it to multiple copies, back it up, and convert it for easy editing. Editors don’t need to ‘grab from tape’, import and convert, wonder if their EDLs are going to work out, and such pain.
After editing, we relink back to camera originals and provide sorted media files for online, DI, whatever. Any format,any camera type, we have all the software needed and can instantly acquire anything new that comes up.
Most important, regardless of where you get the cameras and which cameras you shoot with, the data is handled by one agency, which keeps track of it all the way to the end.
We work closely with camera manufacturers and software makers and equipment resellers. Neil operates on software makers’ support forums, writes on digital matters, reads manuals, and sometimes writes them too. And Neil is pretty well known as the ‘go to guy’ for matters in digital post.
Of course, you need not involve us in the beginning. We can come in at a later stage too.
We’ve become reasonably good at cleaning up messes someone else left.
We can carry out these services at our premises or yours. Some tasks can be manned by our team or yours.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS COST ?
We have simple, per-unit-effort or per-unit-time, per day, charging schemes to make it easy to budget.
On set data management is Rs per day, or per shift.
Editing systems on rent at Rs per day of use.
Conversions are Rs per minute of rushes.
Backup is Rs per GB of backup.
Dailies, grading, and online is Rs per hour, and you can get your own colourist or online artist.
So our costing is simple and flexible. We don’t do ‘package’ deals. Or discounts, or negotiate.
We have a rate, and everyone pays that.
If you have a tight budget, then some of what we do is also available free of charge. Most camera rental companies have an attendant who does the copying. So you can get a good deal on that.
We also offer services where data is copied by someone else on set and now there’s a problem with some or all the files or disks. That’s not free, however.
WE TRY TO MAKE DIGITAL EASY.
And we make it our business, to make the transition to digital simple. Business, and simple.