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Madrid-based SGO has been supplying tools for post production and its workflows for some time now. As the industry has evolved, so have SGO’s tools.

We threw some questions at SGO CEO Miguel Angel Doncel and managing director Geoff Mills. Let’s find out more about this small company with big plans to help post artists streamline their varied workflows.

How did the company begin, and how has it evolved over the years?
Doncel: We started developing software in 1998. At that time, industry workflows were based on a lot of different products in order to deal with the different needs of the production process: editing, compositing, VFX, color, etc. We thought that approach was not efficient, as it required a huge amount of time to send footage from one place to another. The workflows were not flexible at all, because the different tools were incompatible with each other. Any step backward to fix a problem usually required you to redo everything again from that point forward.

It was because of this ineffective workflow that we decided to create a tool able to deal with all the needs of the process in a single environment. This gave users the flexibility to change anything at anytime. It also saved all the unnecessary transfers.

In terms of how we have evolved as a small independent company, we have been in a fortunate position of being able to work very closely alongside our hugely influential clients. Through them, we have been able to listen to and understand client needs and current obstacles the industry faces, which in turn has allowed us to be agile and develop products based on current problems that need solutions.

The best example of how we have been able to do this is with the introduction of our Multidimensional Workflow concept and the launch of Mistika VR and Mistika Insight as standalone solutions, both running on the same technology as our hero suite, Mistika Ultima.

What is SGO's philosophy in terms of servicing the current market? Before you introduce a new product, what are the steps you take?
Mills: I guess our philosophy is to have a deep-rooted understanding of the demands and true needs of the customer/artist. Before we developed Mistika VR, we always said we weren’t ever going to do stitching. However, we saw problems that the industry was being faced with, such as rendering times and optical flow, and could see a clear answer — Mistika VR was developed as an individual tool to address those specific needs providing a very easy, fast and incredibly reliable stitching software solution.

We also have a really awesome team who are able to develop at a fast pace alongside industry needs.

Speaking of VR, at NAB this year there was a huge buzz. Can you elaborate more on how Mistika VR came about and how it's being used today?
Mills: As mentioned, we saw an opportunity to develop a real game-changer. Thanks to its quality, speed and simplicity, we already have several hundred artists using Mistika VR every day, and we expect that number to grow as we bring more and more functionality to the product. Stereo 3D is a great example of that. Our stereo 3D technology, which has won numerous awards, is helping us to develop the most advanced stereo 3D VR tool in the market, which we are presenting at this year’s IBC.

SGO recently introduced the concept of Multidimensional Workflows. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept and what we should expect to see over the next year?
Mills: It defines a new way to work. Workflows are not linear anymore; productions need to be flexible enough to jump from one stage to any other one, without restrictions. So providing more flexibility and enhanced productivity that hasn't been seen before is more important than ever.

What can we expect from SGO for IBC?
Mills: At IBC we will be showing the latest UHD/HDR developments to Mistika Ultima and Mistika VR with new Stereo3D functionality, which is the second phase of Mistika VR solutions.

We will also be showing the latest developments to Mamba, our VFX/compositing tool which works alongside Mistika technology, as well as Mistika Insight, SGO’s latest educational and training tool based on the hero suite, Mistika Ultima.

All are based on Mistika technology and part of our natively-integrated Multidimensional Workflow.

How easy will it be for artists to get up and running on your tools?
Doncel: Mastering a profession is always a challenge, but the complexity and high-end nature of Mistika technology will no longer be an issue for those wanting to use our solutions. We have launched a series of in-depth tutorials and webinars for those wanting to learn the software. We also have a very active community on the Mistika VR and Mistika user groups on Facebook, where anyone and everyone is encouraged to post and share information and experience with fellow users. (To access Mistika technology webinars and tutorials, click here.)

And congratulations! It’s recently been announced that you’ve won the HPA Engineering Excellence Award for the second year in a row.
Mills: Thank you! We’re overwhelmed to have won the HPA Engineering Excellence Award for the second year running, this year for Mistika VR. It really is an honor to have our team’s hard work and dedication recognized, and we’re going to keep creating solutions that enable the industry to adopt a much more flexible workflow.

Visit SGO at IBC2017 — Stand 6.A11

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