ZOETROPE SYSTEMS HELPS BRAZILIAN FILMMAKER OPEN POST FACILITY IN RIO.
RIO DE JANIERO, BRAZIL. Francis Coppola's San Francisco-based American Zoetrope designed and built an all-digital post-production company with a film orientation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazilian producer and TV star Guilherme Fontes, founder of
GFFilmes Ltda. and American Zoetrope worked together to install a state of the art post-production facility modeled on the unconventional Zoetrope facilities in San Francisco and the Napa Valley.
The new facility, ZB Facilities, Ltda, is located in a completely renovated mansion in the residential "Jardim Botanico" neighborhood of Rio de Janiero. Four Avid® non-linear editing systems, capable of both off-line and on-line video resolutions, are combined with two digital sound editing rooms, two computer graphics workstations, a telecine suite and a small recording studio to give Rio clients "soup-to-nuts" services.
Brazil has a highly sophisticated TV post-production infrastructure, especially in São Paulo and in Rio where the TV network Rede Globo is headquartered. For economic reasons, the feature film industry had been dormant in Brazil for over a decade. The transformation of technology to computer-based systems had passed many Brazilian filmmakers by. Thanks to government tax incentives and a new generation of directors and producers, Brazilian film is now undergoing a renaissance. What was missing was a facility with an understanding of what filmmakers need: a staff that can provide expert technical guidance for non-technical filmmakers; highly flexible services and schedules, and a lower overhead to better accommodate feature film budgets. This is precisely the market Zoetrope helped define in U.S. filmmaking in the 1970s and '80s and has refined in their San Francisco post facility. "Francis [Coppola] has been imagining and describing the possibilities of 'The Electronic Cinema' for two decades," recalls Kim Aubry, Zoetrope's VP Engineering and Technology. "At last, we have been able to realize many of these ideas in material form at our client's new Brazilian facility. Our objective was to provide both the latest high tech tools, along with an ambience of creativity and technical possibility, even given the limited financial resources of some of our clients."
Technically speaking, the heart of the system is a high speed digital computer network called "Fibre Channel." All eight creative computers (Avid® picture editors, Pro Tools® sound editors and graphics computers) share five hundred Gigabytes of digital storage. "This Transoft® Fibre NetTM system allows a unique level of creative collaboration between all departments on a given project," explains Aubry, who is the lead ZB Facility Designer. "No longer will they need to make tape copies of edited material for graphics designers or sound editors; no longer must editors bicycle floppies or hard drives or data carts from platform to platform; now operators can telecine transfer raw film images and sound directly into our Avids, allowing graphics, visual effects and sound post crew to access these images and sounds, manipulate them and return them to the cut project."
Exporting Coppola's post production philosophy has become a strategic focus of Zoetrope's international business plans which include a new division that will furnish overseas filmmakers with creative technical and design services and turn key installations. 'The new Rio ZB facility was a successful launch for our new 'Zoetrope Systems' division,' according to Aubry: 'We hope to make the 'Electronic Cinema' that we pioneered here over the past twenty years accessible to everyone.' Zoetrope is already in discussions with filmmakers in Asia regarding new facility projects.
The idea of building and jointly operating a film post facility in Brazil arose when Kim Aubry made a presentation on "electronic film post-production" at the 1997 Rio Cine film festival. Guilherme Fontes was in the audience, and had been dreaming of creating a new facility in Rio that would allow Brazilian filmmakers to finish their films at home, rather than travelling to New York or Los Angeles.
The new finishing house's first editorial project was a fifty-two episode TV documentary series entitled '500 Years of Brazilian History' produced by Guilherme Fontes. The highly anticipated series was broadcast by the Rede Globo's satellite network GNT and is timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Brazil's discovery by the Portuguese in 1500. Although it had been anticipated the facility would be primarily used for in-house Guilherme Fontes Filmes projects, the client mix is now split between GFF projects and outside feature films, music videos and television projects. Carlos 'Caca' Diegues (Bye Bye Brazil) remake of Black Orpheus was finished at the ZB Facility.
For information on Zoetrope's studio consultation services, contact Zoetrope Systems via email.
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