Pixel Digital Studio one of the finest studios for post-production and known for its visual effects work. Pushpa Koshal the head of operations and her veteran techniques spoke to us about the technicality of the post production and how Pixel Digital takes us to a surreal world with its creativeness and hard work. We had conversation with them regarding their recent project ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ and they shared the insights of their work. Read on…

“Digital post-production industry has nurtured and gave birth to my career and Pixel Digital Studio has enhanced it”

How has been your journey in this industry working for past 25 years now?

My experience is vast; my career grew up with digital industry, my first digital film or the promo was ‘Barsaat’ in which Twinkle khanna and Bobby Deol with crest communication so that was my first television promo we made and people thought if it was a promo or an ad for the film, it was a new thing for the audience.  Then I came to another studio name Raj tenu it was the first studio of the non- liner work. VFX opened eyes to the people and one of my big films with SRK was ‘Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani’ and then many other films happened plus ‘Main Hoon Na’ which got best visual effects – IFFA awards, which I had gone to receive in Amsterdam.  In that movie it was an innovative work like ‘Matrix’ which was created at that time and it was a mind blowing thing. So I have been associated with VFX, DI since day one, and actually digital industry gave birth to my carrier and we nurtured each other.  And then so many other studios I have been involved and learnt. It’s an evolving industry one can never say we know everything, now -a -days technology just keeps changing.  Every second-third day we have new camera, lens, so one learns out of all that; but I’m not technical, I can sell violin to a deaf man but I don’t know how to play a violin. My team does the best work, what they do I tell people. Pixel Digital Studio has done a vast work and it’s wonderful, the techniques are very good with their work and most importantly the kind of work they have done in Di and VFX both.  Our VFX creative head is K V Sanjit and he was line producer for ‘Bahubali 2’ with the result some of the work of ‘Bahubali 2’ has done by Pixel Digital, so to be associated with a film which has a bench mark is a wonderful thing. And another film was ‘Commando 2’ lot of VFX work has done by Pixel Digital and many such films we have been associated with. Now a very big film of Anil Sharma is coming up ‘Genius’ in which his son has been launched and there are a lot of visual effects which our studio is doing.  And now cherry on cake is ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ to work with Amul Mohan and other producers is such a pleasure they are good people to work with and hopefully we are going to work with them in all their films because we have a good bond with them now. And if I have to describe my journey in simple words then I would say Digital post production industry has nurtured and gave birth to my career and Pixel Digital Studio has enhanced it.

Post production plays a very integral part in any films so how do you work on cinematic aspects and create creative images?

Santy – Santosh Pawar (colorist): It depends on the wants of the scene like in film making there is continuing jump that takes place of every shot that varies so I have to match the particular sequence in one tone. So we need to hide the continuing jump and that’s majorly done in the film.  ‘BHT’ is shot in winter so it was naturally foggy, so when a particular scene didn’t need a foggy effect we had to remove that out.  I mostly show the DOPs what I’m trying to enhance in the shot and being a technical person they understand what I’m trying to explain and then it works hand in hand.  And if the director or DOPs have a different version of doing or making a change in a dream sequence or any such thing they share it; this film didn’t need much of work because it was shot in a very simple and neutral way.  I had also worked with the director Ajay Pannalal few years back and he is very comfortable to work with and he has full faith in me if incase he isn’t there so he trust me that I can handle it. 

Pushpa: In this case the DOP and the director have to be comfortable with our techniques, so if the director has already worked with Santy and knows his work, he will look forward towards him for his next film also. So it’s of being comfortable and knowing each other’s work.   Santy has done many films and is a senior in this profession. And his experience shows in his work.

What all films have you worked for?

Santy : ‘ Yamla Pagla Deewana’, ‘ Zanjeer’ , ‘ Bol Bachchan’, ; ‘Queen’ , ‘Welcome Back’, ‘Hate story 3’ , ‘ 1920 Returns’ and many more.   

Pushpa : So with all this experience it shows how good his work is, and if the DOPs are new they learn from these techniques and these guys are mentor to many other and new DOPs.  That’s what santy’s work benefits the studio and the film also. The DOP is very happy with him in ‘Behen Hogi Teri’.   And if to name a few films which we worked on with the visual effects are ‘Hate Story 3’, Happy New Year’, ‘Kis Kis Ko Pyaar Karo’, ‘Sanam Re’,   ‘Commando 2’ and more  which are shown in our show reel.

How do you face the pressure of deadline, and was there any pressure from ‘Behen Hogi Teri’? And having said that; do the budget affect in the procedure of working in post production?

Sharvari (studio head): For every producer or whom so ever is involved in the film there’s a lot of hard work put in it. So if a client comes and ask me to do some work and I ask them to wait for 5 minutes that isn’t something one will accept because for them those 5 minutes is precious. So we don’t take it as a pressure but a feeling and I believe to handle ones feeling is a pressure. With ‘BHT’ there wasn’t any such pressure and they were very much organized and the team was good. But that’s a part and parcel of post-production; there’s always a pressure because post-production is a tale; because at the end all the packaging and end work happens in here at this stage.  So everyone wants whatever we are doing should be bang on and correct and precise and everyone should help them at that point of time.  So it’s important to handle their feelings, if their feelings get disturbed then next time they wouldn’t want to work with us; so it’s all emotional game.     More than anything ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ is our film because the producers, the team is so friendly with us; so it’s like, its’ not their movie but it’s our film also. And when any film is on flow it doesn’t matter whether it is a big budget film or small budget film.

Pushpa: Adding to that I would say this particular studio doesn’t differentiate between a producer who is giving us one core, one rupee or one Lakh.  A client is a client and we are in a client servicing industry and in a client servicing industry the client is the most important person because we are in post-production and they are production.  Post production industry which has come up from last 20 years wasn’t there before, there were only labs and an editing room where edit use to take place. But now the director and DOP have so much creative freedom, having digital camera’s they can do anything because they know everything will be fine in post production.  And for any film post-production is very important because no film can go beyond; even if it’s a small budget film – why being the reason it can’t be showcased raw and also because of VFX and other visual effects the stunts have reduced, the danger level for any person has reduced. And also with Chorma anything can be shot and make it look real.  And the budget depends on the work flow and the amount of visual effects is required in a film.  The budget doesn’t affect our work and the quality but it might affect the timing. All these things vary from films to films.  And the USP of our studio is – we never differentiate between small or big budget films.

What were the important elements used in ‘Behen Hogi Teri’?

K V Sanjit (Creative head): Mostly in ‘BHT’ elements that were used were PIP (picture in picture) and in one of the club song the background needed to be creative so we did that using chorma.  And the rest were PIP and touch ups.  

How did the collaboration happen with ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ take place?

That happens from a marketing point of view when a producer announces a film my marketing team, we go and meet the producers, directors and most importantly the DOP’s (director of photographer) because they have to be comfortable with our techniques; so when we go with it we go with a brand, Pixel Digital Studio is a brand, we have done lot of good films with great color correction and with veteran techniques here. So when I met the producers of ‘BHT’, they had already heard about us and they knew about our work in the past so the meeting went good, they saw the facilities, they met my techniques, the whole VFX team.  And once they were comfortable with all their needs we went ahead with the project.  And in any films and in any studio it is to give quality with the comfort for the techniques, these are the two very important things and most important thing is the budget.  From the time the film is announced and signed by my studio it’s a long process. Our studio is centrally located it’s in the Bollywood hub; and the producers are getting quality at the stones throw. We are just there for them and the quality is so visible in our films, so these things matter and when the studio and DOPs, producers are comfortable with us then it all goes well. And it’s a team work, and my team offered them the best and they were happy about it.  And we are very proud to be associated with ‘Behen Hogi Teri’ because this movie looks very promising and also then let the audience say about it, but what we have seen, it has done in a very beautiful way and its light, actors are brilliant, cinematography is good, direction is good, and the response of the trailers had been phenomenal so overall we are very happy to be associated with ‘BHT’ production team.  And when we are associated with such good film, people know us also and it’s publicity for us too.

What are your future plans for the studio?

We do ads, television, web series, regional films, everything but our main focus is feature film and right now we are trying to go international and tie up internationally; so that we outsource their work, and not only that but we can also spread wings; because sky is not the limit. And we have a mantra – we are never content with the work we have done, we are always hungry for more, we have passion and fire in our techniques. Pixel Digital Studio wants more because contentment is an obstacle. We are very happy with the kind of work we do and our clients are also happy with us and that’s why they come to us again. (Smiles).

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