By Jyothi Venkatesh
If you think making a film today with a digital camera will cost you a lot, perish the thought. Because an indigenous entrepreneur called Chirag Shah is all set to make a film based on Mo Cap, a sensor based technology. In an exclusive interview for CINEBLITZ, Chirag Shah says, “As many as 17 sensors in everyone’s body can capture one’s bone movements out of the 52 joints in the body and you can make a film. We initially try to get the output by way of the bone set up and shoot only the skeleton.”
If you wonder who is Chirag Shah, let me tell you that he has been in the animation industry for the last 25 years and heading an organization called Madhyam successfully. “We used to create animation through Maya software. It was the same technology software that even filmmaker Ketan Mehta used to use earlier. However, we decided to discontinue the technology, because it was a tedious process with Maya, especially since just one animation used to take as many as 15 days whereas nowadays one can make an animation in just 15 seconds”.
Chirag continues. “At one time, only one cartoon- Mickey Mouse used to roll out of the studios. In filmmaking there are 24 frames whereas in animation, we have 25. Indians used to outsource this technology and we are the first to make it in India. There are four to five players in the market. From a German company called Sens, I have purchased software technology to make films by way of Mo Cap. I have also purchased software, suit and technology from the company. Either I can opt to buy a flat in Mumbai right now or wait till I buy a flat after I make money with my technology.”
Chirag says that it is a very user friendly technology and very beneficial to the film industry because while earlier there use to be at least 50 people who used to work on the sets while making a film, nowadays with the technology, you need only six or seven people on the sets and I do not need to light the sets as we only capture the bones. The best part of the technology is that you can place a picture of ay star in this and make your film.
The highlight of the technology is that you can bring the young Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand or for that matter Raj Kapoor and even Shivaji Ganeshan or Gemini Ganesh alive on the screen by filling the frame with the photographs of the stars in their young age. If you want, you can even use the photographs of Tom Cruise or Clint Eastwoood and come up with a film starring them. You have to ensure that you get the right mimicry artiste or a person who can deliver the lines of the star, with aplomb and win over the audiences, like say Chetan Shashital.
Chirag said that there is no need to erect the sets for any shooting. “You can also shoot in your office or a banquet hall like we are doing today if you need a lot of space to shoot action sequences.” Talking about the bone structure, Chirag asserts that it is different in males as well as the females. We take the measurement of the shoe length of all the actors including the child actors, both the males and females. In fact a guy who shot recently with us was 6’ 6” tall.”
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Chirag adds that he is ready to cross the linguistic barriers and even pitch in to producers of regional films and expect them to take a call. Chirag adds, “This concept is also very useful in body double shots in films. The charge that I quote to the producers depends upon how many VFX you need, how many characters that you need for a scene, whether you need a secluded place or a crowded place like say Lokhandwala Market etc. His budget determines the budget that I quote to the producer. Depending upon the budget that I envisage, the producer can set out to make a big budget film or a small shoe string based budget film.
Using this technique, Chirag says that he has already directed a serial in Hindi called Girnar Ki Mahima which is a compilation of 17 stories, each with duration of 20 minutes. “I am the proprietor. It requires me just about five minutes to explain the technique to the person who sets out to executes it It is a revolutionary way of shooting and it will never be able to replace the conventional way of making films but very useful especially in the animation sector because you can make in a span of just around three months without compromising in any way on the quality of the film. Besides the stint with animation films, I have also to my credit two feature films incud8ing Main Gaurakshak based on the relationship between a cow and a kid and K For Karma. I have also made a lot of films for my dear friend Ketan Maroo of Shemaroo Films.”
Chirag Shah signs off. “If a producer needs a bunch of action scenes, I have already shot them and they are lying in my bank. However, if a producer wants to come up with a film starring say Tom Cruise in it with my technology, I will ask him for the consent letter or else I will not accept any assignment.”