Two years ago, Mumbai-based Anubha Sinha, 25, went to see a Bollywood director to discuss a 3D printing project. While waiting at the reception, she began talking to David Smith (name changed), the head of a major Hollywood studio. Anubha told David of how her company had been converting 2D posters into 3D. David asked whether she could do the same for films. Since she wasn’t sure about it, Anubha just nodded. David gave her a pen drive, with some test shots, and asked Anubha to convert them.
When she returned to office Anubha wondered what to do. She began by converting a single image into 3D. “A movie is nothing but 24 images per second,” she says. Based on this concept, she took a man in a scene and cut out his eyes, nose, lips, hair, and background settings like a sofa and made it into layers. From there she put it in her poster software and managed to convert the images into 3D.
Three days later, Anubha showed the results to David who was flabbergasted. “He told me 50 people take 15 days to do this in Hollywood,” she says. David signed a two-year contract with her.
Among the Hollywood films that Anubha’s company, ‘Ultra Rays 3D’, has converted include Piranha, Static, Vampire Dog, Topcat, and Hindi films such as Warning, Sholay, Vivah and Iqbal, including the Malayalam film, Dam 999. As her business expanded, she began hiring more people, which included many Malayalis. Impressed by their diligence, she decided to open a back office in Kochi.
Anubha came to Kochi a year ago and received something of a cultural shock. “There is too much gossiping at work,” she says. “The Malayalis here lack motivation. A few of them drink too much and have health issues as a result. They are quite family-oriented. So, if there are deaths, marriages or even birthdays, they go on leave. On an average, the staff works four to five days a week. Hartals make it worse,” she rues.
But things have improved in the past few months. “I have been able to impose a Mumbai-style work culture,” she says. “In fact, I need about 1,000 people as I have projects to keep us busy for the next three years.”
Anubha is certain the future belongs to 3D. “From black-and-white we moved to colour. From colour we will eventually go to 3D, though, currently, the costs are prohibitive.”
One of the attractions of 3D is that we view the world in the same way. Two eyes see different images and the brain makes it one 3D image. Soon, there will be glassless 3D TV sets. “A special screen can be put on it which will make it 3D,” she explains. “There will also be glassless 3D theatres. This will be possible through a software which will calibrate images on the screen.” Her future plans include setting up a 3D hall in a Kochi multiplex.
Recently, Anubha invited physicist Mani Lal Bhaumik, a co-inventor of the Lasik technology, to her office. Impressed with her work, Mani gifted her a signed copy of his book, Code Name God. ‘To the genius, Anubha,’ he wrote.