POSTING SOUTH OF THE BORDER
Benjamin Fernandez Maribona operates independent post house Digital Sprockets (www.digitalsprockets.net) in Mexico City. The studio offers an array of services, and Fernandez Maribona serves as a jack-of-all-trades, handling editing, color correction, telecine and even production when the situation calls for it. He'll even answer the phone, because he doesn't have a secretary. And in his "free" time, he teaches post at Anahuac University.
I met Benjamin at NAB and connected by phone again a few weeks later. His workload varies from indie films to trailers to shorts to commercials, and when I spoke with him, he was waiting to get film back from the lab that he shot for a spot for Losil from Alpharma. The commercial (pictured) features a pro wrestler in a match against giant fungus competitors. It would be posted by him later that week, with an SD delivery.
"Here in Mexico, for commercial work, and for people to take you seriously, you have to work with film," he says. Getting a commercial project is not easy, he adds, and while Digital Sprockets is near agencies such as Leo Burnett and Young & Rubicam, the fact is, most of the commercial work goes to Argentina and Chile. Add to the mix the prevalence of pirated software, which allows anyone to call themselves "editor."
What he is seeing a lot of clients looking for film recording services. His studio is outfitted with a Cintel Turbo telecine, a da Vinci color corrector and a Quantel Domino/MGI Cine II film recorder. He has NewTek's VT5, which he uses for SD work, and the company's SpeedEdit program for HD. A Teranex system helps with conversion and noise reduction.
His goal for the year is to secure financing for an original film that the studio would produce and post. The project would be shot on 35mm film and the budget would go toward gear, rather than outside services. "In Mexico, there are some government incentives for film production and we are trying to take advantage of them to make the movie."