Curve Digital Talks Post Production Best Practices

“You don’t take a photograph; you make it.”

Ansel Adams

In the business of making photographs, post-production plays an important, and sometimes silent, role. As we all know, retouching has been around since the beginning of photography. What started as transforming a negative, now takes place digitally. The photography industry is seeing rapid change; lead by digital retouching and the evolution of computer-generated images. Recently we were approached by a digital production agency about working together. As I learned more about them, I really was impressed with the caliber of photographer and clients they work with as well as their approach to post-production. We do not talk about post-production enough on our blog and decided to share our conversation. Curve Digital is an international post-production house changing with the times.

It might sound strange to equate post-production, a typically reactive step in the production process, to the notion of being proactive, but Curve Digital is doing just that. From their corporate culture, encouraging continued education, self-improvement, and training in post-production to new technologies and improving workflow, Curve ensures curiosity is an inherent trait in all who work there.

Nick Limb is the CEO at Curve where “we’re using our combined ‘superpowers’ as we strive for the realization of ideas.” See examples of Curve’s retouching and CGI work below

We asked Curve about the bidding process and wanted to delve deeper into post-production best practices. Here is what they had to say:

How do you get the most out of your post-production relationships?
“We go back to the basics. We’ve found that not only asking what the campaign objective is, but also inquiring about the challenges photographers, art producers, and creative directors are facing. Understanding the problems helps us to create excellent solutions-based proposals.”

What is one of the key elements to having a successful end-product?
“We always want to move forward together, creating photography that meets and exceeds expectations; demonstrating the synergy between photographer and our retoucher or CGI specialist has been paramount to achieving success.”

What does your ideal brief contain?
“In the best possible scenario, a brief would give us an idea of the complexity of the images. Will a hero image be a composite of several images because of the way they are planning to shoot them? Even better is to have the ability to speak with the photographer or creative. Based on our conversation, beyond retouching, we can discuss whether CGI may be of advantage to the process.”

How does Curve get the price right when bidding?
“It is our responsibility to provide a cost-effective solution which requires information sharing on all sides. A robust brief inclusive of shooting strategies, color grading preferences and a clear approval process gets us there.”

How have your existing relationships come into play when preparing bids?
“We have a great relationship with our photographers, built up over the past 15 years. Knowing who the chosen photographer is, enables us to understand how they like to work.”

What sets Curve Digital apart from the rest?
“We aren’t about creating just another photorealistic image. Part of our intricate working processes is to research the subject matter, giving substance to the final image’s realism. We also look at the logistics of the shoot location, whether the vehicles are top secret (code red), or in some cases not built yet. When that is the case, we discuss how CGI can help to achieve goals.”

Curve runs two identical offices which enable them to work almost around the clock. “We can work on location as the DigiTech or Retoucher and provide image composition retouching on site. The studio team in the UK or the US pick up the images from the fast synchronizing servers and begin work.”

Where do you think the industry is heading?
“People would probably expect me to say full environment CGI. While I’m super excited about this technique, and it’s a great tool to have, it is only a tool. Unfortunately, at the moment it’s only the progressive thinkers that see a way to add this to their toolbox. The photographers and agencies who embrace change and work out a way to incorporate CGI into their workflow will offer greater value to their clients.”

Here’s to embracing change in post-production, and all the exciting things that continue to come from it. Stay tuned for more conversations on the blog about post-production.

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