EXCLUSIVE | Navin Shetty, Nube Studio: Thrive in adversity [Year-Ender 2020]

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Navin Shetty, Founder and Colorist, Nube Studio, is a video tech specialist whose studio has collaborated with an array of production houses, cinematographers and directors for feature- and ad films. Navin has colour-graded more than 5000 TV commercials and worked for mainstream films like Loot Case, Badhai Ho and Kahani 2,  amongst many others. He has also co-produced the film Cargo on Netflix under his banner Fundamental Films Pvt. Ltd.

Navin established Nube Studio in 2015, specializing in high-end Colour Grading, CG/VFX for commercial advertisements, feature films, TV series, web series, and music videos. During the lockdown, his post-production company Nube Cirrus provided services to shows like Aarya, Masaba Masaba, She, and Guilty.

In this exclusive piece, Navin writes about how we learnt a ‘zillion things while battling the most formidable adversity’, how creativity flourished during the lockdown, how brands found ways to remain relevant and fresh, his plans for 2021, and more. Read on.

“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.‘ This quote by Frank Lane has inspired generations. But this time, the world is shaken by this storm which showed us its ferocity with devastating effect on the entire human civilization.

2020 was relentless. The pandemic brought deaths, disruptions, and despair, our work got disrupted, opportunities got delayed and our whole life came to a grinding halt. The real got intertwined with the surreal, and we could feel it deeply in 2020. Fear and peril pique our anxiety and for the first time, we were clueless about ‘What Next?’ It seemed like a forever wait to see the sunshine again.

We have learned a zillion things while battling the most formidable adversity in modern history. The pandemic has offered us an unexpected opportunity to slow down and take a moment for ourselves to understand how fragile our lives are. We have realized the importance of balancing our health, family and work.

We’re on the edge of a key creative movement. Even with the rise of flexible working practices, creativity has been allowed to flourish… In many ways creative brainstorming has thrived in remote working. As a result, the best of creations have come out during these difficult times: Navin Shetty  

While exploring these uncharted territories, we found our own form of self-expression; we felt inspired, understood and relooked at the strength of our families, our team and stood by and trusted each other through these tough times. We haven’t given in to wrath or despair as communicating with each other gave us confidence along the way.

We’re on the edge of a key creative movement. Even with the rise of flexible working practices, creativity has been allowed to flourish. Creative thinkers are preserving their physical energy and focusing more on the cerebral form of the craft irrespective of working from their homes or office. In many ways creative brainstorming has thrived in remote working, as a result, the best of creations have come out during these difficult times.

Communications through various forms of digital media have drawn the world closer and have a direct in-house reach. Brave and never-tested-before ideas have stepped up and creativity has been  redefined in this surreal world. Although there’s no playbook for creativity, what we are doing right now is writing the new rules of engagement. And it’s inevitable. Exhilarating.

Clients are opening to new ideas while ignoring those mundane “that’s how we’ve always done them” notions. We saw some agencies and brands found ways to remain fresh and relevant while developing that feeling of continuity and familiarity. The agencies found it necessary to communicate with viewers with simplicity.

Opportunities tapped 

No better time than lockdown for the release of a unique concept of our own production ‘CARGO’, one of the most innovative Hindi films in recent years. It has been a liberating experience collaborating with the industry’s key creative directors and communicators, like Shlok Sharma, Aarti Kadav and Anurag Kashyap. It got undivided digital attention through its release on Netflix during the lockdown.

Brave and never-tested-before ideas have stepped up and creativity has been  redefined in this surreal world. Although there’s no playbook for creativity, what we are doing right now is writing the new rules of engagement: Navin Shetty

Audiences were homebound indefinitely and there was a realization of keeping people sane by bringing some high-pitch entertainment. Some long formats by our post-production company Nube Cirrus completed, such as Aarya, Masaba Masaba, She, Guilty and Taj Mahal received the maximum viewership on Disney+ Hotstar and Netflix respectively.

On the other hand, Nube Studio has kept its reputation intact with the delivery of noteworthy commercials remotely during these times.

Looking ahead at 2021

There was much soul searching last year and out of it came the monumental hope in the form of 2021. We can visualize 2021 as a year to be driven by a deeper level of creativity.

It has been a troubleshooting and learning exercise every single day as we have shifted ourselves from a state of detachment and isolation to an inspired, connected place in months. We are hoping to see a gamut of success stories, best facilities, and services in post-production in 2021. With three magnificent divisions, (Nube Studio, Ventana Studios and Nube Cirrus) we will continue to research and reinvent technologies and processes to offer end-to-end post-production set up for commercials, long-form, and OTT content.

The pandemic has taken a lot out of everyone who has survived through it. This year, we are ready to reacquire our lives with gusto. The storm weakens leaving behind the sun to shine. Let’s pray that our hopes and expectations will become reality.

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