The rental giant Panavision has acquired Light Iron, in a move that will certainly combine the digital tech company’s Outpost mobile carts be the most advanced dailies/color management/data management system ever created. The promise by Panavision, is that the Outpost mobile post systems will be available in all 68 Panavision rental locations worldwide! “You’re going to see the first ‘Pana-vized’ Outpost cart sometime in 2015,” said Light Iron co-founder and CEO Michael Cioni. There are about 40 Outpost systems currently in existence, up from a single system five years ago. Panavision services at least 100 productions on any given day throughout the year, and Cioni said, “It is our goal that every single camera package rented by Panavision be accompanied by a Light Iron Outpost system. Every camera has to do dailies, has to do iPad deliveries, has to make edit material. This is how it’s going to be done.”
Panavision customers in Canada, New York and Los Angeles can take advantage of Outpost immediately. “Our plan is to definitely go global,” Panavision president and CEO Kim Snyder told Variety. “We will focus on North America first but have international in mind. We will roll that out on a pace dictated by our marketing plan. Europe and South Africa are likely areas of expansion,” said Snyder.
Panavision is now owned by a small group of private equity companies, and they have hit some “rough waters” when the age of digital cinema cameras replaced the era of film and the cost of those digital cinema cameras has made it very affordable to the masses. But what makes this a very interesting acquisition, is that the addition of Light Iron’s mobile solutions is the true value-add that makes Panavision “break away from the pack” compared to other major rental firms worldwide. “It became very clear to us that our customers are seeking an end-to-end solution, from pre-production all the way through delivery. We’ve seen that need on set, we’ve heard from our customers that that’s what they desire.” said Snyder. Panavision will certainly make a mark on the rental house market, if indeed, all goes to plan!
“The same pressures that have hurt Panavision’s business have put pressure on post companies as well, Cioni told Variety. “Look at how the post market is dealing with these challenges. It’s not great,” Cioni said. But, in reality, no post company could support 68 locations worldwide; the infrastructure would be too costly, (and of course, I would question the financial stability). “But when you couple portions of the post process with camera rental, 68 locations worldwide? That’s an easy number to swallow,” he said.
So, let’s wait and see how this all shakes out! It is certainly a very intriguing business move that could reap some serious reward for both entities! Panavision will have to invest in building many more of the units, training staff to educate customers, and hiring support staff as Outpost systems are deployed over time. Light Iron will continue under its current brand name and at its current location, with no job cuts. Cioni will remain CEO of Light Iron and report to Snyder. The Outpost division of Light Iron will move within Panavision.