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Lowry Digital's Image Processing Applied to Oscar-winning "Avatar" Visuals


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#1 Sue Smith

Sue Smith
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Posted 09 March 2010 - 08:21 PM

Lowry Digital, a subsidiary of Reliance MediaWorks Ltd. - India’s fastest growing film and entertainment services company and a member of the Reliance ADA Group - collaborated with groundbreaking-director James Cameron on his Oscar®-winning 20th Century Fox 3-D feature film, Avatar. The company applied their proprietary digital image processing to enhance the imagery in the film.

“Lowry Digital’s innovative processing helped us create the wholly immersive world that Jim imagined,” says Jon Landau, COO at Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and producer on Avatar. “We brought Lowry in to clean up and enhance live-action scenes where necessary, allowing us to present 3-D images with unprecedented quality.

“Lowry’s work on Avatar is an extension of a very good relationship with Lightstorm and James Cameron,” adds Landau. “It’s a collaboration that goes beyond the traditional vendor-client relationship. Lowry listens to us in order to understand our needs, and then steps up and creates solutions that previously did not exist.”

Cameron had previously entrusted his images to Lowry Digital for enhancement on a number of projects, including Aliens of the Deep, Last Mysteries of the Titanic, and the high-definition home video releases of Terminator, Aliens and True Lies. For the stunning 3-D imagery in Avatar, Cameron and Landau asked Lowry to adapt and apply new image processing techniques under tough time constraints.

Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks, comments, “Lowry Digital’s mission is to develop and deliver innovative, superior quality services for worldwide entertainment markets based on their advancements in image processing science. We are thrilled that Lowry Digital was selected by a true Hollywood visionary like James Cameron for this landmark 3-D film. The success of this creative combination was witnessed through Avatar’s winning of technical accolades at the Oscars®.”

Lowry Digital established a special 24x7 pipeline of data technicians and image processing experts who worked non-stop through the final two months of the movie using a render farm of more than 400 custom-built computers and more than a petabyte of high-speed data storage.

“We are proud to partner again with Jim, who is well known for his extraordinary eye and his penchant for pushing the technology envelope,” says Lowry Digital Executive Vice President Mike Inchalik. “Avatar is innovative on so many fronts. Jim came to us because he knows we are also trailblazers, with the skills, experience and technology to embark on just such an adventure.

“To achieve the truly immersive experience Jim desired for Avatar, the picture quality bar was set extremely high,” adds Inchalik. “But that’s only half the story. In addition to the challenging quality goal, there were so many pixels to process, and so little time.”

Lowry Digital’s other credits include digital image enhancement on such first-run feature films as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Zodiac, and hundreds of top-shelf feature film restorations, including The Robe, Casablanca, the James Bond library, classic Disney animated films such as Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty, as well as the Star Wars and Indiana Jones trilogies.
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