Prime Focus London, the new post production company formed as a result of the merger between Clear, The Hive and VTR, officially opened its doors yesterday, highlighting its ability to offer a totally secure end-to-end outsourcing business model to India as it did so, writes Andy Stout.
Clear and VTR (incorporating The Hive) were acquired and merged in June 2006, alongside the acquisition of another VTR Group company, Blue Post Production, by Namit Malhotra, managing director of Mumbai-based parent company, Prime Focus. Malhotra opened his first facility with one edit machine 10 years ago and has grown his company to become India's, and one of Asia's, largest post production and VFX houses. His vision was to merge the three UK facilities in order to capitalise on their different areas of expertise, and the success of this strategy, coupled with _3 million worth of investment, has been reflected in the share price almost doubling since the 2006 merger.
The resulting facility, Prime Focus London, offers a pioneering a new business model in the UK post production market by offering the possibility of securely outsourcing both creative and technical elements of projects to its award-winning parent company in India. Whilst each project will be directed by a well-known London name, tasks that do not require on-site creative supervision and input can be shared with Prime Focus' Indian facilities using a high-speed secure pipeline, thus increasing the available resources to approximately 750 staff and significantly lengthening the working day.
The new UK facility boasts 12 VFX suites, each using the latest Autodesk 2007 kit and extensively supported by Combustion and Fusion workstations. VTR's esteemed team of colourists, known for their grading expertise and DI experience, have a dedicated floor within the new facility offering three Spirit telecine suites (including one at 4k) and a Lustre Incinerator, which allows the team to run a true 2k realtime workflow. Furthermore, Prime Focus London's CGI team has been increased in capacity by 40% due to the overwhelming demand for their skills.
Simon Huhtala, Prime Focus London's MD, said: "The Prime Focus London facility and its back-end infrastructure have been many months in the planning, and our aim is to provide the most seamless service for our clients whether we are working on their project here in London, or in India. We wanted a facility which in essence reflected the attention to detail that our creatives and producers give to the projects that they work on, whilst also hiding much of the cutting edge technology we installed to assist the creative process. That way, it's about the idea, the communication rather than solely the kit or the medium for which it's intended. Our clients and staff have been extremely loyal and patient during this transition, and I have every confidence that they will enjoy the new facility now that it is finished."
Neil Lane, VTR plc Group MD, said: "The launch of Prime Focus London will complete a 12 month restructure within VTR plc, which has seen enormous investment not only in Prime Focus London, but also in blue Post Production. We now have a streamlined, fully integrated group that can utilise equipment, resources and infrastructure in a very flexible manner. There is also a fantastic buzz across the group that a new company now exists with fresh ideas, a new way of working and a very modern, forward-thinking strategy."