Chitra Unnithan & Vinay Umarji
Hollywood is all set to use Indian technology for the first time. An erstwhile incubatee at the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), has been approached by prominent Hollywood production houses for his patented technology, which finds its application in the current film technology and also for Digital Intermediate Technology of the future.
Ujwal Nirgudkar, who recently started his own company, Alpha Imaging Systems Pvt Ltd, has developed a unique concept of ‘Online Sensitometric Quality Control’ for motion picture film processing. His innovative technology will bring down the cost of quality control and will be quite helpful to cinematographers, film laboratories, producers and scanner manufacturers across the world.
“I am in talks with some Hollywood post-production companies and one European company to license my patented product. As this new technology will help save cost and time for quality control of motion picture film processing, it has the potential to become the industry standard and has created a lot of interest in Hollywood,” says Ujwal Nirgudkar.
The existing concept in the industry uses separate film strips for controlling the quality of film processing. The old concept is offline and difficult to computerise. “This new technology changes the current offline quality control using sensitometric strips to a new online control system, which will have the sensitometric strip between the perforations of the picture film, which is an area not explored so far,” added Nirgudkar.
The technology has caught the attention of Indian filmmakers but it was Hollywood that Nirgudkar preferred to license his innovation with. “India may be making the maximum number of films but when it comes to the print, only 10 per cent of the world gets processed here, while Hollywood orders 3000-4000 prints per film, which accounts for almost 70 per cent of the world,” explains Nirgudkar.
Interestingly, it is for the first time that a US patent for Motion Picture Technology has been granted to an Indian resident. Another one-of-its-kind initiative of Nirgudkar has been a chemical for the bleaching step of film processing. This chemical, which replaces the earlier polluting chemical, was first used in India in 2004. Following the success of the chemical, Akzo Nobel, a Netherland-based multi-national company (MNC), has appointed him as their global consultant to promote this technology worldwide including Hollywood.
Besides, Nirgudkar has also been assisting the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) in restoration of old movies.