While companies are cutting down production budgets, and small post shops are cropping up like mushrooms, Optima Digital does a MAJOR UPGRADE in its facilities and services.

We asked Founder and Chairman Tony Gloria and President Pete Jimenez: Why do it at this time? They replied, “Why not?”

“Budgets are getting smaller, but broadcast and consumer screen resolutions are getting better. That’s why quality is even more important now,” says Tony, or “Mr. G” as he is fondly called.

“Directors shoot in 4K or 2K, digital cameras and lenses are becoming better every year and broadcast transmission has improved, so post should be able to protect and even enhance the quality,” adds Pete.

With their eye for quality, artistry, and opportunity, Mr. G and Pete share how they have grown Optima Digital, one of the leading post production houses in the country, from a single editing suite to a powerhouse armed with the latest editing hardware/software, plus a brand new digital services department for web, mobile content and interactive solutions.

Be on the lookout for opportunities.

“In the late 80’s to early 90’s, Manila had only one postproduction house, VideoPost, which was affiliated with a TV network. “Most projects were brought to them; the rest were flown to Hong Kong. I saw that as a good opportunity to come in as a second player,” Mr. G recalls.

In 1989 he attended the National Association of Broadcasters trade show for the first time. He acquired a linear editing suite and a Graphics Box, which was to be manned by then animation artists Pete Jimenez and Pablo Biglang-awa.

“The Graphics Box was what we were excited about,” says Pete. “We felt that it is where our edge will be.”

Invest in the best talents and the best technology.

Optima started with a staff of 7, half of which are artists.

“When we brought in our first color grading equipment, we knew that a technical person will learn to operate the machine much faster. But what if we put this machine in the hands of an artist? Then the machine becomes more powerful,” Mr. G says.

It took months of training before Optima’s artists became adept at the high-end machines. “We even had a British colorist stay in the Philippines for one year to train them,” Pete recalls. “But young people nowadays are lucky; they get exposed to many video post software while still in school.”

Despite being overwhelmed by the size and deep pockets of competition, Optima eventually dominated the market because of the kind of equipment and software used, and because of its proficient and sought-after artists.

“Optima is Optima today because 95% of our people are designers and artists – people involved in multimedia and people who love and appreciate great design,” Pete muses.

Set high standards and keep them.

Key to Optima’s success is knowing what the client wants. “Aside from excellent craftsmanship, speed is important to clients. Time is a very expensive commodity, especially in our industry. Clients want minimal downtime, faster completion of projects, and fewer people to deal with,” says Pete.

“This is why we hire the best people, and why our machines have to be the fastest. More tasks can be accomplished by fewer artists required. Rendering can be done in a matter of minutes. All our monitors are calibrated to make sure the colors are consistent. And now we have an all-in- one suite that combines grading, visual effects and finishing. At Optima, we have always maintained these standards. Hopefully our clients appreciate this and are happy to get more than what they pay for,” he adds.

Embrace change

Optima has been one of the industry game changers for years. When the Autodesk Flame was introduced in 1994, Optima was the first post house in Southeast Asia to purchase the system.

The company has already been posting in HD nine years ago, even if the local broadcast requirement is still SD. “It is much easier to just post ion SD;, we wouldn’t need faster computers or high-end software. But this is the standard we set,” Pete says.

In 2012, Optima worked with a new company called IMMRSV Asia, Inc. (formerly Grupo Lumina) and pioneered Large-scale 3D Mapping in the Philippines.

Recently, the company acquired four Flame Premium 2015 system. Flame Premium combines Autodesk’s best tools for editing, visual effects, and color grading in a single system. “Flame is a powerful software system that requires a powerful computer, unlike software that run on off-the-shelf computers,” Pete explains.

For the first time in Optima’s 24 years, the company will be running software of the same 2015 versions, for a more seamless and efficient workflow across all its suites.

In their boldest move yet, Optima launched TechLabs, a digital department that provides Web, Mobile, Social Media, Content Development services and interactive solutions. It debuted with an app created for Adobo Magazine, and is now working on projects for various clients.

“At Optima, we try to continuously anticipate what the market is going to need next,” says Mr. G. “The market has changed. Digital services are no longer an alternative but a necessity. Through TechLabs, we expand our ability to entertain and inform the audience in more engaging ways.”

With this continuous evolution, Optima isn’t just embracing change; the company is paving the way for it. The kind of change that benefits clients, and the entire industry.

And so we welcome once again the changes that the company has undergone – the simple yet powerful new logo, the exciting top-of-the-line workstations, the wider range of interactive services. With visionaries and risk-takers at the helm, Optima Digital has undoubtedly redefined postproduction in the Philippines, and will continue to do so.