S. S. Rajamouli's "Bahubali", which has emerged the biggest opener in the country, broke new technological boundaries and presented many creative challenges to its cinematographer K.K. Senthil Kumar, who spent hundreds of manhours on the film over a period of 24 months.
Annapurna Studio, the Digital Intermediate (DI) partners of "Baahubali", employed many technicians on the project. It is said that the DI process in the film was on the scale of Hollywood films.
"It was a pioneering effort. For the first time in India, we implemented Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) work flow. We started this project two years ago and did several researches on workflows, which was best suited in the long run and finally locked on ACES," C.V. Rao, Head - DI, Annapurna Studio, said in a statement.
"It gives lots of freedom and controls for VFX artists to play around with the footage," he added.
ACES is a colour image encoding system proposed by the Los Angeles-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Explaining the role of DI, Rao said: "DI is all about shooting digitally and getting that content into editing, colour, VFX and audio in the most efficient way."
"To begin with, all live shots reach the DI suit. We then check them thoroughly with all brightness, and contrast levels. Thereafter, deliver the right formats to VFX team. Later, the final edited picture along with VFX shots are blended together to enhance the look and mood of the film."
According to Senthil Kumar, digital colour correction process has become a very essential and prominent part of filmmaking today to deliver world-class product.
"Annapurna Studio offers a pool of highly talented manpower and sophisticated equipment that met our unprecedented high quality needs," Senthil said.
"The best part of the studio is the dedicated team -- right from colourist Shiva Kumar BVR to C.V. Rao and his DI crew -- that worked relentlessly to help us achieve the top possible quality. The kind of pressure under which the DI of the film happened is unbelievable. I'm very satisfied with the quality, service and support they have given us for the film," he said.
To get "Baahubali" out on such an aggressive schedule, Annapurna leaned hard on a post-production infrastructure built on additional DI suites, including several conforming stations.
In addition, an active backup solution with 400 TB (terabyte) of storage was also installed, which could immediately switch over if ISIS (Infinitely Scalable Intelligent Storage), a storage unit, failed.
"To meet the filmmakers' expectations, we brought in a completely new base light systems dedicated to the project," said Rao.
"Baahubali" is a heavy visual effects production and that made the challenge for DI team even more intense and we are glad that we could complement the film's theatrical and storytelling experience," he added.