Spotlight : July 1998

Time, Money, and Effects
By Todd Vaziri

Every so often, one finds a statement so perfectly worded, with an argument so clearly defined, that one cannot resist passing the statement on to others.

Carl Rosendahl
This happened to me as I was leafing through the March 1998 issue of Film & Video, The Production Magazine. In the fascinating piece, author Jon Silberg asked various professionals a simple question, "What are the most important issues facing the postproduction industry?"

Responding were representatives from Kodak, IBM, Intergraph, Intel, even Jim Morris of ILM. But the statement that caught my eye was from Carl Rosendahl, the founder of Pacific Data Images.

His statement discusses the shrinking time and money issues of visual effects filmmaking. The pressures of making blockbusters have intensified within the visual effects community. Feature film's dependence on effects have allowed the industry to grow by leaps and bounds, but has also caused much panic and cause for concern.

Film & Video Magazine is published by Knowledge Industry Publications. For subscription information for Film & Video, call 800-777-5006, or visit their web site at

"What are the most important issues facing the post-production industry?"

Production schedules have been shortened and budgets have been pulled back. Companies are cooperating with tighter deadlines because they need the work, but that sets the expectation that this is the norm and not an exception. Then you wind up working people extremely hard. When that becomes the norm, it's difficult.

This process has to change for the long-term health of our business. I don't know if studios have an unrealistic view -- from their perspective, they don't. They ask that a certain amount of work by done in a certain time for a certain amount of money, and they get what they want. I don't think they know the long-term ramifications. Maybe they don't have to care. But to us, this issue of cost is crucial.

Companies should go into jobs aware of what is involved, and they should make sure their internal team is also aware.

We try to get people involved from the outset so they know what they're in for. We will turn down a job if it doesn't seem realistic.

There is always a huge pressure on the commercial side to make it cheaper or make it faster, and it comes to the point where it is not profitable anymore. We're not in the charity business. The responsibility falls on production companies to educate clients to make sure their expectations are realistic.

Carl Rosendahl
President/CEO, Pacific Data Images

From Film & Video Magazine, March 1998

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