K Balachander, the magician of Tamil cinema who recently produced his hundredth movie Paarthale Paravassam has for the first time brought to India; Asia’s first fully Virtual digital studio through his production house Min Bimbangal Productions in Chennai. The Virtual studio called “Blue Matte Studio” has been installed at a cost of Rs. 9 crores. The studio was installed in June 2001 and has been in commercial usage since October 2001.
Mr. V Chandrashekhar, Director –Finance and Operations of Mim Bimbangal, describing the unique capabilities of this Virtual studio says “ This is the first time such an equipment has been installed anywhere in India and any kind of background in real time can be created using this Virtual studio”. It could be suited ideally for shooting and producing talk shows, music videos, reality shows and news & current affairs.
There is one limitation though that the number of audience cannot be very large and has to be less than 200. Chandrashekhar further adds “All the current programs done for Vijay TV are being shot and produced in this Virtual studio.” This new technology of a virtual studio, where a lavish set could be created without actually setting up one real one could save production costs.
Lets consider for example a show like KBC, which had fantastic sets, where the channel might have to first create a set at a huge cost and then have to block the studio for one year, so that the set is not disturbed and does not have to be created at substantial cost. With this Virtual creative capability the twin costs of creating a physical set as well as the cost of renting out a studio space could be substantially brought down. With this development a production house does not need to keep a huge inventory of set material.
Chandrashekhar gets creative and suggests that apart from producing entertainment software, the corporates could apart from printing annual reports could come out with audiovisual financial reports. These reports for instance could be produced by filming CEOs or MDs of companies in certain dramatic situations like financial projections and graphs coming out of gestures.
One thing is for sure that with the availability of the Virtual capability, creative directors could conjure up just about anything and the limitation is only the graphical artists creativity and a workable script.