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Los Angeles, California

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In 2004, Technicolor purchased Toronto-based Command Post/Toybox, and became probably the largest postproduction operation in Canada. From its headquarters at 49 Ontario Street, (a short hop from Toronto’s new Filmport development), the Canadian wing of Technicolor spans across the country with facilities in Vancouver and Montreal, offering a one-stop shop for postproduction services.Offerings include front-end dailies, telecine, digital intermediates, visual effects, audio postproduction, editorial, transfer and duplication, and a commercial production division as well as a film lab located across town.“That’s a huge selling point,” said Louis Major, VP postproduction services. “From when the producer has captured his negative, he can drop it off at our lab. We have a very large front-end delivery department where we transfer that negative to SD or HD, whatever is required by the client. We have six telecine venues, so we can run multiple shows and hit deadlines required by our clients.”The company has 185 employees at its Ontario Street facility (sometimes dubbed “the Tower”) as well as a stable of 30–50 freelancers, depending on the project. An additional 30 people work at the film lab.“We’re on a big growth posture pretty much throughout our division. We have a pretty solid visual effects division that has almost doubled in size since Technicolor acquired Command Post, and our commercial division is growing,” said Thomas Sinnott, visual effects operations director. “We have some very celebrated and sophisticated commercial artists, colorists and online editors.”The company has recently done visual effects work for such films as Capote, The Producers and The Fountain.Major estimated that perhaps 50 percent of US productions will stick around for post, while the other 50 percent just use the company for dailies.“Once they’ve wrapped they’ll go back to LA. They want to finish it there because the director lives there and maybe he’s been up here for six or eight weeks. That often happens with feature films, with studio-driven work. But on the flip side, we do a lot of foreign work that may stay here because they’re going to get tax incentives,” he explained.According to Major, a key selling point for US productions is the TPN (Technicolor Production Network). “It gives us integration to other Technicolor facilities worldwide, so if there’s a US shoot here from California and the studio wants to know what happened in Toronto yesterday, we can send that data down to our facility in LA and direct it to the studio as a desktop daily, directly to tape, or to an Avid file. So there’s no FedEx.”“We’re capable of working at 2K and we’re able to transfer these very dense files over the TPN network to all of our facilities across Canada, and down to New York or LA, or to our sister company, MPC, in London,” added Sinnott. “It’s a pretty robust system. Right now were under 2 seconds a frame to move 2K around.”In addition to moving data around, the company will also move people around among its facilities if one of them experiences a surge in workload. Technicolor Canada recently became one of the first postproduction operations in the world to get ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification, meaning that the work processes and workflow are identical at each of its facilities, making it very easy to move people from one location to another.In terms of digital intermediates, Major explained that Toronto is a unique market. “We offer three levels of DI here, because there’re different budgets. There’s the DI that happens in Hollywood with a much different budget than a Canadian feature. So we offer lower-end DI, which is HD with some compression. Then we offer HD 4:4:4, which is uncompressed, which we’re having phenomenal success with. And then we offer full 2K. Each are customized to budget.”

Written by Scott Lehane

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