Balgandharva Film Poster

Mumbai based Pixion studio's have delivered an entire package of DI, VFX, Film Prints in 4k, 2k Output Media Transfers for Cinevator and Digital Cinema and HD mastering on HDsr tapes for Balgandharva - a Marathi film by distinguished Art Director and production designer of Indian cinema, Nitin Chandrakant Desai. The film is directed by Ravi Jadhav – an icon behind the success of Marathi film, Natrang and is written by Abhiram Bhadkamkar.

The film deals with the character of legendry Marathi singer and stage actor, Narayan Shripad Rajhans, better known as Balgandharva – a title conferred on him by eminent Indian freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak. The movie revolves around the life episodes and era of young Balgandharva portraying some of the most remarkable and historic characters of Indian history like Lokmanya Tilak, Maharaja of Baroda, Shahu Maharaj of Kohlapur, Ram Ganesh Gadkari, Anant Kanhare and young V. Shantaram on silver screen. The film talks about Balgandharva’s love for theatre that started with Kirloskar Natak Mandli in 1905, his personal life, his passion to produce impressive work for the audience and his mistakes in life that ruined his financial standing in the society.

Balgandharva was my first experience with red technology and the way Pixion has executed it, I feel very proud to be associated with them - Nitin Desai, Producer, Balgandharva

CG Today had an opportunity to talk with the team behind the visual realm of Balgandharva from Pixion. Mithun D'Souza, Technologist; Sanjay Yashroy, COO; Sameer pandit, Colorist; Mangesh K. Bhalerao, DI Line Producer, Pixion Studios and Nitin Desai, Producer of the film were in conversation with CG Today, revealed the facts about making of BalGandharva right from planning, setting the pipeline till the final delivery of film prints.

CG Today: Pirates of Caribbean: On stranger tides, The Social Network, Balgandharva were all shot on Red One. How does shooting on Red One add value to the movie?

Sanjay Yashroy, COO, PixionMithun D'Souza: The RED ONE Camera is a true native 4k Digital Still and Motion Camera. 4k as referred to by the industry refers to the resolution of the image that is represented. It is vastly superior to full HD and 2K. Almost all of our television content is still in Standard Definition. Shooting in 4k is nearly 4 times the resolution of shooting in HD. The visual quality that the RED One cameras can achieve is far superior to the imaging standards of today thus adding value to the movie by making the eventual images look cleaner, have more visual appeal and resolve more resolution both on Film Print and on Digital Projection by packing more pixels and information into the eventual frame.

CG Today: The movie was shot and delivered in 4K resolution for film prints; can you please explain the significance of it?

Mithun D'Souza: Most feature films in India follow a standard delivery pattern of mastering to 2K prints. The film is usually mastered for Film Print as most theaters are equipped with film projection. The exhibition theater numbers are significantly moving towards a digital revolution with the involvement of companies like Scrabble Entertainment (2k standards), Qube/Real Image and UFO, but even today, the main deliverable required by the clientele is a film print. With the source files originating digitally in native 4k off the sensor, we handled the footage in its native RAW format right through the post process and maintained all the metadata and source information off the file through to print. Doing this helped the Producer/ Director/Cinematographer see the visuals they had envisioned on screen in all its 4k glory which as explained earlier, is far superior to a HD or 2k Standard.

"We are proud to be at the vanguard of technology while being a part of a creation that's national heritage". Pixion is about leveraging cutting-edge creativity and state-of-the-art technology to make add value to client's labour of love" - Sanjay Yashroy, COO, Pixion Studios

CG Today: Red One is in use for more than 3 years now; how are the Indian DP's getting along with it?

Mithun D'Souza: In our country, the uptake of the RED One Digital Cinema Camera and other digital cameras has been wavered. Largely thanks to the lack of information and know how in the industry at large. A mistake here, a rumor there really tatters the impressions of the industry. Mahesh Limaye, a renowned Director of Photography with title credits such as Fashion and Dabangg to his name was the DP on this project and he took this camera to another level with his amazing eye for detail and his creative skills at lighting a scene. His visuals speaks for themselves and he achieved all of this on a camera system that already has two successors already, the RED One “Mysterium X” and “The Epic” both of which supersedes the RED One equipped with a Mysterium Sensor which this film was shot with in resolution and dynamic range. For him to achieve these visuals in this film is truly spectacular and we just facilitated him to bring that vision to the screen by supporting him in the process.

CG Today: Pixion is known for its services on post, design, VFX and restoration and have delivered successfully several block buster films like Toonpur Ka Superrhero, Tees Maar Khan, Action Replayy and Golmaal 3. what was the contribution of Pixion in case of Balgandharva?

Mithun D'Souza: Pixion handled the entire Digital Intermediate and VFX in the film. But prior to even beginning the DI process, the DP and our colorist set out to define the look and feel of the film. We did multiple camera tests, lens tests and look tests prior to even the first schedule being announced to design the visual aesthetic of the film. Once we were comfortable with a visual style, the DP was confident of all the lighting styles he would eventually use in the production which would then be treated accordingly in the Digital Intermediate process to help tell the story in the way he intended. We also took it up a notch by customizing our workflow to suit the needs of this project as it was one of the first projects of this magnitude to be shot digitally with such a beautiful visual style. Once the DI was completed, Pixion delivered the Film Prints and other deliverables of this project.