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Shooting the digital way


Srini Vasan... enthusiastic about his new projects.

Mr. Srini Vasan, an NRI from the U.S., has brought a Canon XL1 Camera, the world's first interchangeable lens DV camera. In an interview to S. R. ASHOK KUMAR, he says that to his knowledge nobody has this kind of camera here.

Excerpts from the interview:

OF LATE there has been a lot of talk about digital film-making, especially after the "Star Wars" project by George Lucas. Yes the dream is becoming a reality slowly. Transition from analog film making to digital is a major one. Companies like Sony, Ikegami and Panasonic are spending huge amounts of marketing dollars to promote digital film-making process and create awareness. As you know, digital film-making may alter the film production landscape forever and the powers within filmdom are going to be at odds with each other. This would lead to tremendous politics, job insecurity, trade union negotiations, royalty calculations, etc. It is a natural human tendency to fight a newer method of doing work, and time alone will settle these issues, I guess.

There seems to be a lot of problem in defining what a digital camera is and what the different formats which are popular today are?

The film industry more or less has accepted High Definition (HD) as the standard which comes closer to traditional film resolution and has an acceptable experience level for theatrical display. Then you have DV and Mini DV (Digital Video file format) digital cameras which are offering great promise and quality at competitive prices. In between these, you have several other digital raw video format cameras (most of which are broadcast quality) which are primarily designed for broadcast channels.

What kind of camera system and infrastructure is your company planning to bring to India?

Our company 3dmaxmedia, has recently brought in Canon XL1 (two camera system) with all possible zoom, wide angle and manual lenses with a number of extra wide angle and extra zoom lenses, underwater shooting gadgets, cranes, dolly, high-end filters, matte boxes, high-end Sennheiser microphones, submixers, steady cam equivalents, monitor displays, mobile blue screen gadgets, etc.

My Chief Technology Officer, Jimmy Hotz, has invented a new series of high powered fluorescent lighting system, which will also be a key element among our gadgets. We have pretty much replicated all sorts of equipment used in a typical film environment but suited for DV cameras. One of the biggest advantages of Canon is the interchangeable lens and adaptors to put any Arriflex 35mm lens onto digital camera. This provides the ability to get the superb picture quality, zoom and other facilities of a Arriflex or Cooke 35mm film camera lens.

Where do you see digital technology going?

I can foresee digital film-making eventually taking over the film industry but it will not be overnight. Traditional film medium will survive for some more time as there are thousands of theatres which may not have the necessary digital projectors to show the film.

What kind of projects are you working on currently?

We have just finished shooting "The Tantric Journal", a 90-minute docu-drama feature, in Palghat, Kerala. The story revolves around an American researcher looking to decipher certain tantric manuscripts and her relationship with the Brahmin tantric.

I will be co-directing and acting in the film as the tantric! We are seriously considering converting the DV into 35mm film format.

Any thoughts on the present Indian film industry and your plans for the future?

There is much more professionalism than before . As far as 3dmaxmedia is concerned, we plan to execute a number of features, music videos, advertising campaigns, documentary, etc.

I hope to train young and up and coming directors and cinematographers . They can mail me to Srini_v@hotmail.com.

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