iSixSigma

DreamWorks Practices Just In Time

DreamWorks’ latest animated feature “The Croods” hit big with a $44.1 million opening on March 22, 2013. While the theme dates eons back in time, the technology and processes involved in making this film happen is cutting-edge.

Normally, it takes years for an animated feature to be completed, involving dozens of specialists and over half a million digital files. The process of replicating what can actually happen in real life is a major task, not to mention tedious and expensive. The usual Dreamworks’ animated film costs at least $130 million.

What makes the production of “The Croods” attention-worthy? It’s the production house’s treatment of the production as a manufacturing process,  weeding out the unnecessary processes and aiming to spot potential problems while they are still minor, or even before they happen – along the lines of Six Sigma.

DreamWorks also uses the just in time principle for its digital customization plan, so that all future releases and screenings of its features adjust to the market that receives them. For instance, if a film is showing in China, the characters’ facial expressions may be adjusted to mimic how the locals actually react to certain situations. Being culturally relatable is a key element for a successful feature.

“The key is a knowledge and management of all the interrelationships,” said Lincoln Wallen, chief technology officer at DreamWorks.

This story was originally posted in The New York Times.

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