Platige Image Talks Animation & VFX
JS: Some large historical projects are being developed at the moment. We are also preparing our own production, Hardkor 44. This is going to be a full-length feature about the Warsaw Uprising in 1944. We want to show the subject in a very graphical stylized way. That will require a lot of effects. Let me just say that some of our characters are half-robots and they are fighting Polish troops in the surroundings of a destroyed Warsaw of 1944.
BD: How are you raising the vfx bar?
JS: After working on effects for such a well-known director and being part of an international co-production, we are better recognized as a vfx supplier on the market. It is easier now to offer our services. After finishing the work on AC, we decided that we needed a complete infrastructure redesign if we wanted to continue the vfx work, and we certainly do. AC work was done on a simple setup of a few workstations. It was not perfect, but at that time it was sufficient. We decided to invest some of the efforts and resources to build a better solution for such a demanding work. Over the last year, we have built a grading system with a digital projection in a small cinema suite. We invested some money in a large SAN and connected our all resources to it. Now we can offer a full service, together with color grading and mastering for digital and analog cinema. That was something we needed to do. It was really hard in the year of crisis, as we had to cope with an even competitive market at the same time. In the meantime, we also prepared the team for bigger and more demanding vfx jobs and now I think that we are ready for such projects.
TB: It was the first time that we made a film with dialogue. It was also the first time that we made a film close to full-length films. For the first time, the film was made in relatively normal production conditions by a team with a clear division of duties (the team was not just a group of friends, all the tasks were divided and budgeted, there were internal deadlines). For the first time, I was only in charge of direction and I wasn't making takes by myself. There is only one scene in the film that required my assistance. The film was our test before full-length productions so the producers and I wanted to see how much such a production could in fact cost and how much time it would take if we made the film normally and not "after hours" like before. And how far our team is prepared to do such work. We have learnt a lot thanks to this production.
BD: What are you working on now?
TB: I am finishing work on The Animated History of Poland, commissioned by the government for Expo in Shanghai. It is an 8-minute stereoscopic film in which we travel through 1,000 years of Polish history in a video clip form. A large number of characters, group scenes, battles, over 150 set designs. The film will be ready in February 2010. I am also making commercials all the time. I don't have to feel ashamed of this activity any more. I have begun to work on high-quality projects and it doesn't matter that they are commercial.
[I'm also working on] Hardkor 44. Right now we are in the pre-production stage. This time I want to face the actor's cinema. I am not planning any new shorts for now, maybe as a producer. Next year, at least one interesting film will leave our studio; namely, Paths of Hate by Damian Nenow.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.