Studio 51 is a Mumbai and Beijing-based visual effects production studio, dedicated to the film, entertainment, and advertising industries. Studio 51 offers professional services including VFX, concept design, pre-production, shoot supervision, and post-production. Studio Head, Mr. Varun Hadkar, graduated from Manchester Business School and The University of Kent, UK , and has 19 years of experience in film and TV VFX. He has worked in the production of many famous film and TV blockbusters. In this interview, Varun shares some of his unforgettable production experiences and future plans for Studio 51 with us. Varun’s love for the film industry started in the early 2000s. He believes that each project that he has worked on has had its own unforgettable moments and challenges during the initial stage, shooting, and also post-shooting. His current role as a supervisor requires team management as well as understanding the requirements of clients and directors. His team, based in China and India, often uploads and Sync’s large amounts of data. Hence a stable, fast, and long-distance transfer service is vital for his work. Check out the Full Interview with Varun Hadkar! Raysync: Hi Varun! Thank you for accepting our interview! Would you briefly introduce yourself? Varun: I studied commerce and finance during my undergrad years. I also had a keen interest in filmmaking and started in the film/ television industry back then, by doing small jobs in productions like MTV. After doing a few gigs, I landed a job in Rhythm and Hues, which was one of the most highly-reputed companies, over a decade ago. After gaining a great deal of valuable experience at RnH, I left India and went to the UK to pursue further studies and work. Its was here that I completed my Masters from the University of Kent and a few years later, my MBA, from the University of Manchester. I had the opportunity to learn from and work together with some fantastic people in world-class studios. From there, I travelled to Asia— worked with Double Negative, in Singapore then BASE, in China for a few years. I’ve worked on many aspects of film — including producing, partially directing, and supervising. With my combined experience in these areas, I was able to establish Studio 51. We started as a VFX company but have diversified into Film production, AI, virtual production, and film making too. Raysync: Could you share unforgettable production experiences with us? Varun: Back when I was working with DNEG on a movie called Bridge of Spies produced by Spielberg, there were about 60-70 shots of VFX which were managed by a small team. In production, we generally do these temp comps to show the director what the shot looks like. Everybody did a version for their own shot, every shot is different. My shot went to the Director, Producer, and Spielberg's comment came in, “this looks great, final”! This was a big highlight for me. First off, this never happens on a shot of that scale. And for me, I got a direct comment from him. This was a great moment. He is a personality a lot of fans, filmmakers, artists look up to. Raysync: As a visual effects supervisor for Avengers, Salvage Marines, and Wandering Earth, what's the most challenging part, and how did you make it? Varun: Every project is different. With Avengers I was with Base, working under ILM. The great thing was that ILM gave us creative freedom. However, that also made the task that much challenging— getting the creative process approved by the director, in our case director Usually, the process of approval goes through a number of steps until we reach the director's approval. With some luck and with the help of our talented artists, the work that we produced at Base was high quality and was approved by ILM. The director's approval too came fairly quickly. For Wandering Earth, I think one of my biggest challenges was the language barrier. The entire crew spoke Chinese. Being on the set, trying to get the ideas across in front of the director, ensuring the crew understood each aspect, basically taking massive chunks of work, breaking it down to parts and funnelling it to key people, so that we were all on the same page— that was one of the most challenging things for me. This was a large-scale sci-fi film, so it definitely came with its usual challenges. Creatively, most aspects progressed steadily since the director already had a great vision and we also already had a fabulous concept artist. We had an experienced, talented art director, so that made things smooth. The film did really well, turned out to be one of the biggest blockbusters in China. Salvage Marines, finished production in early April 2022. It hasn’t been released yet. Our teams in China and India have worked tirelessly on this. It's quite challenging to get the two teams in one pipeline, one workflow, and one structure. We are always keen to produce high-quality work, so we try our best to harness the strength of each artist and that, sometimes means bringing them together on a project, in spite of their physical location. Here it becomes extremely important to manage teams and workflow in an efficient and orderly manner. The pandemic period has especially been challenging for our industry too. While office premises were locked-down as per government mandates, projects rolled on as scheduled. In order to meet deadlines without outsourcing work, resources needed careful re-allocation and teams required restructuring. Raysync: Thanks for sharing. May we know your use case in data transfer? Varun: At times we face a problem of disk space in the company . In 2020, covid issues led us to try out cloud servers. We decided to move ahead with your services for a few reasons. One of them being agility — the speedy response and the pro-activeness displayed, while solving issues was a plus point for us. We felt that we were able to save significant amount of time. The other key aspect that drove our choice was the ability to control user accounts and permissions. Raysync is TPN certified, and you have a vast number of functionalities which is always great. We have a lot of data being transferred between our teams in India and China - for this, we needed a stable service that works seamlessly in both locations. When we tried Raysync, it just worked. The software is light and has all the features we need. We needed quick, efficient solutions and you guys checked all the boxes!
Company: Studio 51 Industry: Motion Pictures & Film Product: Raysync SMB Profile: As a visual effects production studio founded in 2013, Studio 51 is dedicated to film, entertainment and advertising industries. Collaborating with the local and global network of experienced talented artists, Studio 51 can provide a broad range of creative solutions. They offer professional services including concept design, pre-production, shoot supervision, and post-production. Challenges: The challenge Studio 51 faced is to exchange data around the world. Because of the inherent problems associated with transferring large files abroad via traditional methods, such as latency and packet loss, the transfer time was unacceptably slow, resulting in avoidable downtime and overall workflow inefficiency. Solutions: To overcome the challenges, Studio 51 deployed Raysync SMB. The Raysync admin console is deployed in Hong Kong, then the fast and secure data exchanging is guaranteed between Studio 51’s other offices in Germany, Sweden, and India through Raysync high-speed transfer protocol. Raysync SMB provides Studio 51 with fast file transfer speeds and maximizes their bandwidth and guarantees that all of the content that distribute or receive arrives on time. Besides, Raysync helps Studio 51 to create multiple user groups and give them different access permission, which simplified the work procedure, made the management easier, and greatly improved the work efficiency. Results: The Raysync solution enabled The Studio 51 team to edit and transfer all of their content from across the globe at blazing speeds. With the enhanced methods from Raysync SMB, the Studio 51 was able to achieve speeds hundreds of times faster than traditional methods, ensuring the delivery of large files from anywhere in the world, while providing security, reliability. Workflow: Raysync & Studio 51
Company: A Cloud Solution Provider Industry: Information Technology & Services Product: Raysync SMB Profile: Our client is a user-centric cloud solution provider who propels the business with their cloud solutions. Challenges: The data center of A in Montreal frequently needs to exchange data with the data center in New York. The process of data sync is annoying and can’t guarantee the complete delivery of all the files, and the slow speed of large file transfer is also bothering. Solutions: Raysync acts as a storage container for enterprise data backup and file synchronization. The Raysync admin console is deployed in Montreal where the data center located. The updated data will be uploaded to the Raysync regularly, the file synchronization function of Raysync will always keep data in the server consistent with the local. Then the data center in New York is able to download the latest data from the backup pool that greatly saves the labor cost and improves work efficiency. Results: Raysync’s UDP-based acceleration technology quickly helped A spend less time handling data, allowing them more time to focus on core operations. The ability to automatically sync data files save time to spend on manual operation. Based on the bank-standard AES-256 encryption, the data transfer between two data centers is secure and reliable. Workflow: Raysync & A Cloud Solution Provider
Company: The Monk Studio Industry: Animation Product: Raysync SMB Profile: Founded in 2006 by Juck Somsaman. “The Monk Studios” is a visual effects and animation studio, located in Bangkok, Thailand. The mission of the Monk Studio is to focus on producing world-class imagery using highly skilled artists and cutting-edge technology. Challenges: Today’s feature films have become massive, usually exceeding 100 GB. The challenge has always been to get the finished film to the film producer in the fastest way possible. Traditionally, physical tapes or hard drives were sent by courier to their destination, which is at slow speed and hard to keep the digital content complete. With the physical shipment method, there may be no way to get a movie to the destination in time. Solutions: With the assistance of Raysync SMB, The Monk Studio delivered the finished film to their clients located worldwide at maximum speed, while ensuring stable and reliable delivery. The files are secure since the data is sent using industry-standard AES encryption, and delivery is guaranteed - even if there is an interruption in the transfer. Results: Using Raysync’s technology, The Monk Studio has already delivered digital files to their clients in time at top speed. Sending files digitally instead of by courier has also helped The Monk Studio realize huge cost savings. All the film producers are extremely happy with the results. Workflow: Raysync & The Monk Studio
Company: Outpost Facilities Industry: Broadcast & Media Product: Raysync Enterprise Profile: Founded in 1999, Outpost is the largest independent Picture Post production company based at Pinewood Studios in the UK. They specialize in managing Film and Television post-production projects from shoot to delivery. Challenges: One critical challenge faced by the Outpost TEAM was slow data transfer speeds, especially when moving large digital content. Outpost needed to distribute finished video content to their users who are scattered mostly in Europe and USA. The size of files is usually between 100 and 1000GB. The file transfers were lengthy, taking many hours, and sometimes days, to successfully complete. Outpost realized that it was necessary to find a file transfer solution to handle their complex workflows. Solution: With the assistance of Raysync Fast Transfer server, Outpost’s worldwide clients transfer their video content to Raysync admin console via the Raysync user console. Outpost distributes the video content to their clients using the accelerated Raysync file transfer protocol. From installation to configuration, the process was quick, simple, and had no downtime. Outpost’s existing FTP server was connected to the Raysync service. All the file transfers are now at full internet connection speed – transferring securely from end to end. Results: - Increased transfer speeds - Enhanced user experience - Guaranteed delivery for every transfer - Data is always secure during every transfer - Transfers are immune to latency and packet loss Workflow: Raysync & Outpost Facilities
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