#News #Technology

How Film Anatomie is creating low-cost equipment for the African film industry

“When it doesn’t come out right, they blame the editors.” 

Chuks Oteke had had enough of the complaints about his work. In 2012, he set up his video production studio where he provided visual effects and video editing services, but every now and then he received complaints from clients who were dissatisfied with his work. To them, Oteke was the problem but to him, the problem was the raw video cuts he got from his clients.

The shots taken on set didn’t really tell the story and the clients believed that any shortcoming could be fixed in post-production. 

When he couldn’t take it anymore he decided to look into why the shots were poor. He took on different camera operator jobs on different video shoot sets. At the end of his research, he came to the conclusion that the camera operators didn’t have the right tools to get the right shots. 

“To tell a good story, it’s not just about the camera. You need to position the lighting right, you also need to frame the shots appropriately. If a character is feeling depressed, the camera angle should help depict depression. High angles help with this by making the actor seem small or overwhelmed. On the contrary, a low angle helps in depicting joy or happiness,” he said.

In some cases, a crane is needed to achieve these shots but how many people can afford it?

This informed his decision to go into creating tools for shooting videos. He started with making prototypes of  DIY tools. It didn’t officially become a business until some people offered to pay him for the tools. 

“So I started making noise on Instagram and Facebook about how I make customised DIY tools and the response was good. It got to a point where there was so much demand I just couldn’t meet up with it.” 

This birthed Film Anatomie, one of the few African companies designing and manufacturing filming equipment. It caters for a wide range of clients such as independent content creators, filmmakers, television studios and even equipment rental companies.

A component of the slider created by Film Anatomie

Getting into General Electric (GE) Garage

High demand could have fooled someone else to think they were in business but not Oteke. He quickly realised that he wasn’t knowledgeable enough to turn his interest into a business so he enrolled in the General Electric (GE) Garage Program in 2014.  During the training program, which spanned across a few years, his mind was opened to advanced manufacturing techniques, 3D printing, laser cutting, etc.

He remarked that simply learning about product design influenced the design of his products. 

During the program, Oteke met other participants who were into robotics, aviation, STEM education and biomedicine.

At the end, he had access to over a thousand local and foreign mentors in the tech space.

“I now had this network of people I can contact at any time and say, ‘I have this problem, how can I solve it?’ Definitely, there’ll be somebody who knows somebody else who can help.”

Difficulty in getting funding

Armed with this knowledge and network, he set out to run a better business. He knew where and how to get raw materials. It wasn’t possible to make everything locally but with 80% local raw materials the cost of production was low. 

The next piece of the puzzle was finance. He needed a business partner as well as capital.  

“I am a techie. I’m not a business person. So I was looking for investors who’d provide capital and also business advice. It took a while for me; other participants had already gotten investments.”

Graduates of the GE Garage Program were introduced to a pool of investors in their fields.  While many of the other participants had business ideas that were seen as important, Oteke’s idea was seen as a nice-to-have. Investors showed little to no interest in him until the movie Lionheart was released.

Source: Techcabal

How Film Anatomie is creating low-cost equipment for the African film industry

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *