As if times were not challenging enough for New York post houses, pressure is now coming from east of the city. While many studios would agree that they have to compete with Los Angeles post facilities, and occasionally those to the north in Canada, you don't hear as much about competition from the east. Two facilities are hoping to change that.
CBC Media and its production arm Studio 57 are offering high-end post services just 30 miles east of Manhattan on Long Island. (See this month's "Open House" on page 32 for complete details.) The studio recently purchased Sony high definition gear, as well as HD-capable Discreet Smoke and Flame systems, and feels that it can compete with the country's top facilities at a more economical level.
Even further east - way across the Atlantic for that matter - Rome's CineCitta has made a $5 million investment in technologies that's made it one of the premier production and post facilities in Europe.
Cinecitta is not new to filmmaking. The 99-acre studio complex has been around since the late 1930s, where it was used for making Mussolini's propaganda films. It was state owned up until four years ago, and over the past two years a considerable investment has been made in technology to turn it into what Cinecitta Digital director David Bush describes as "the evolution of the traditional processing lab." The studio recently added a second Spirit system for 2K work, a Quantel iQ, an ArriLaser film recorder, a da Vinci Revival system and a number of Macs running Apple Final Cut Pro. It's posted numerous HD and film projects, and is currently working with in-house VFX operation Proxima on the upcoming Exorcist prequel.
Its film processing, HD and intermediate solutions, says Bush, are designed to lure advertising clients away from Milan, while smaller NYC productions might find value in its packaged services. "I think we are extremely competitive," says Bush, comparing Cinecitta to America. "I think we probably cost a lot less than New York. Therefore, for small independent productions that have to really count the dollars, they might be interested in doing a post package with us because we have everything here."
But it's not just about the money. "Obviously, we think we have skill sets that would be appreciated," says Bush. "We are considered in Europe, a center for digital excellence for cinema."
There seems to be some interesting options out east.