Local company starts colourising Indian films

KUALA LUMPUR: After spending three years developing and perfecting its technology for film colourisation and restoration of black-and-white film, MSC-status company Perfect Colour Sdn Bhd is ready to make its mark in the world.

It has has just inked its first joint-venture partnership deal, with Chennai-based Harvis Technologies Pvt Ltd — a leading copyright holder of evergreen Indian movies.

Under the agreement, Perfect Colour will be technology-enabler while Harvis will provide the rights to remaster movies.

The first project is to use digital technology to colourise a black-and-white Tamil feature film — starring Kollywood superstars Kamal Hassan and Rajnikanth — and apply enhanced multichannel DTS audio to the soundtrack.

Both companies plan to also convert the movie into a stereoscopic-3D film, with an all-new 3D-animated song sequence by the two actors made using performance-capture technology.

Perfect Colour director T. Vimalanathan said the colourisation technology is 100% homegrown. It is not only a Malaysia “first” but also a “first” outside of the United States to employ such superior, semi-automatic colourisation technology, he claimed.

The current colourisation technique used by Hollywood is labour intensive and tedious work. Typically, someone has to work on the movie frame-by-frame, adding the colours one at a time to each part of the individual frames.

“A standard three-hour film colourisation project often requires up to 165 people working for up to six months (to complete),” Vimalanathan said.

With Perfect Colour’s system, colour only needs to be manually added to the first frame of every movie sequence, and a computer will replicate that automatically for the next 20 or 30 frames depending on the complexity of the scenes, he said.

“This reduces manpower needs and the length of the process by at least 20 times. Also, it makes our service more affordable,” said Vimalanathan.

“In the United States, the colourisation work could cost up to RM7,500 for each minute of film. But we charge just up to RM2,500 per minute.”

Perfect Colour is also hoping its technology will be employed to digitise, restore and colourise old documentaries and history clips stored at the National Archives, as well as those in the library of national broadcaster Radio Television Malaysia, in the future.

++++ www.perfect-color.com.my www.harvisprints.com

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