Imagica Pushes 8K, Expands Into Production

The Tokyo-based post-production group Imagica Corp. is promoting the high definition 8K format. And to prove its point, the company is expanding its role as a producer.

Founded in 1935, Imagica was Japan’s oldest film processing studio and has been doing video editing and mixing since 1971, later expanding into post-production. In February 2015, subsidiary Imagica Robot teamed with trading house Sumitomo and the Cool Japan Fund to purchase Los Angeles based subtitling giant SDI Media.

“We’re a post-production company so we are always investing in new technology like 4K and 8K and HDR,” said Ryuta Nakase, assistant manager in the SDI Business Dept. “Netflix is focusing on high-resolution content like HDR, 4K and 8K. And we are a preferred vendor for Netflix in Japan.”

Imagica Robot has made two new 8K productions, one imagistic work “Star Island,” and a narrative short “Luna.” “Usually pieces shot for 4K or 8K have really mundane imagery, like the sea, or the desert, just (focusing on) the visuals. We made possibly the longest narrative work yet produced in 8K.”

Luna” is a 16-minute short directed by Kazuma Ikeda. It uses the story to highlight the supremely sharp imagery. Haruyuki Moroishi, a tech expert, took the lead in producing, and the resulting images of water, sunlight, moonlight and objects with texture, like hair and clothes, gleam in a way not seen before. Imagica Robot plans to submit it to festivals and use it as a demo for domestic imaging manufacturers.

“Star Island” portrays a fireworks festival staged by Japanese music and events giant Avex. The 7-minute piece is designed to showcase multiple, brilliant hues from the pyrotechnics. “The file sizes for this work are tremendous, so the rendering and the color grading were monumental tasks,” said Takashi Aiba from the Media Production division of Imagica Corp.

“The dynamic range of the images in that work are really huge so that adds the cinema-like feeling,” he said. “So was the lightening budget.”

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