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SKYLAB and INSPIRED collaborate in Vancouver

SKYLAB Services (formerly DIGITAL FILM GROUP & CENTRAL) was established in 1999 as a world leader in post-production for the DV revolution days. Founded by pioneering digital cinematographer James Tocher, before the days of digital projection, SKYLAB became the undisputed leaders in facilitating high quality transfers of early digital features to 35mm film for distribution.

SKYLAB continued to innovate over the next decades as the first full-service Digital Intermediate (DI) company in Vancouver, ahead of larger more entrenched facilities by offering film scanning, colour grading and film recording under one roof. They are also famous for designing and co-developing the world’s best de-graining and de-noising software, Dark Energy.

SKYLAB’s impressive DI and colour grading credits include Hollywood heavy hitters like ELYSIUM, CHAPPIE, and THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE as well as having recently facilitated post services for WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES.

SKYLAB’s Lead Colourist and GM, Chris Macdonald notes, “While we often work on larger projects, we pride ourselves on being incredibly easy to work with, within a friendly, positive, transparent and less corporate environment”.

INSPIRED IMAGE first took root in the mind and vision of international award winning Producer and DOP, Roger Williams, now President, CEO and Executive Producer. Over three decades, they’ve grown to become a respected leader in the field of camera rentals, editorial services and production services.

As one of Canada’s largest cinematic and broadcast equipment rental houses, INSPIRED has extensive inventories in Vancouver and Toronto, as well as producing its own home- grown content, including documentaries, docu-dramas, lifestyle series, webisodes, and video blogs.

INSPIRED and SKYLAB are developing innovative workflows that allow for greater creative and technical control of colour through shooting, editing, VFX and finishing. Chris Macdonald notes, “We strive to not only stay up-to-date but to set new industry standards ensuring that we bring the best possible tools and workflows to all of our projects - Hollywood features and indies alike”.

Tocher adds, “We are effectively going back to our roots with the independent filmmaking scene in Vancouver - which is really coming into its own right now. This collaboration makes it possible to offer a level of services to independents previously not available at their budgets”. Tocher and Williams say they are now able to allow smaller productions to better control colour from shootinzg to editorial to final screen – making for better quality and faster finishing.

Williams thinks the joining of services in this manner is highly complimentary to the two companies and their customers. He states, “This concept has been greatly expanded with the ability to now carry SKYLAB’s full Baselight grades directly on your camera. With an optimized and rock solid colour space journey our clients can achieve an un-compromised final look, and are free to focus on getting the right shot on location.”

While still maintaining a strong focus on services the two companies are also both involved in developing their own creative content. SKYLAB and INSPIRED recently worked together on the feature documentary RIVERBLUE, shot in 5K and mastered in 4K, produced and co-directed by Williams, with INSPIRED’s head of post Kevin Jacques leading the editorial and SKYLAB assisting with colour management and DCPs.

RIVERBLUE follows international river conservationist Mark Angelo across the globe as they reveal the destruction of our rivers caused by the fashion industry, its effect on humanity, and the solutions that inspire hope for a sustainable future. The film is winning awards and will be released in theatres and online this year.

Kevin adds, “The inclusion of SKYLAB in the building creates a level of finish that our clients can immediately see. Everything from acquisition to delivery is offered within the same space which provides an incredible level of freedom and flexibility on projects of any size and budget.”

Future developments for the two innovators include more conscious and proactive content, and a new 4K laser projection theatre for image and sound mastering, as well as fiber supported turn-key editorial spaces.

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“We strive to not only stay up-to-date but to set new industry standards ensuring that we bring the best possible tools and workflows to all of our projects.”


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