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The Decade of Telegin

If you’re involved in any type of media production these days, whether it be film, television, web based, etc., you’d be best served to be knowledgeable when it comes to CGI. Producer Evgeny Telegin was at the forefront of this technological advance since its early days and has become known in the industry as the producer to call whether you want a realistic or hyperbolic integration of these effects in a project. As a producer on the 2006 hit Day Watch (from writer/director Timur Bekmambetov also known for his Oscar Nominated films like Wanted) Telegin was a part of a pivotal moment in Russia’s film industry (Day Watch was distributed in America by Fox Searchlight Pictures). The notoriety Evgeny received for this film led to his work with Russia’s most well-known and respected production houses: Okey Dokey (whose awards included an ADCR 2006 Golden Award and a Moscow 2006 Festival Golden Award for projects Telegin produced) and Trehmer Pro (the biggest CGI studio in Russia, with whom Telegin worked of projects for Oreo, Alpen Gold, Megafon, Nike, and other international companies).

Evgeny’s prominence and success is not merely a result of association. He concedes that when he worked on Day Watch he quickly noticed that the very manner of what is possible in film and other video based productions was about to change in a profound manner. He took the initiative to immerse himself and understand everything he could about what is and isn’t possible with CGI as well as how to integrate traditional live action filming and post production CGI integration. The knowledge he gained was later used to the benefit of companies like Trehmer Pro. The Megafon4G commercial is an example of the effect of his leadership, resulting in the Silver Drum Award for Film Communication Products & Services as well as First Place for multiple awards including Best Corporate Advertising and Services at the distinguished advertising Festival Idea, and the coveted Best Commercial award from popular Russian website Adme. Telegin is quick to point out that the excellence of the artists at Trehmer are the foundation of the success the company has so rightfully earned.

Knowing how to spot the difference between adequate and excellent work is key in meeting the desired results in the allotted timeframe. With more than a decade deeply immersed in the realm of CGI, Telegin offers telltale signs to inform. He notes, “There are many essentials. For example, knowing how to properly shoot on a green screen so that later on you can do the keying (or in some cases rotoscoping) and combine it with CG. In some cases, you can tell right away that it was shot against chroma key because you can see a different character of the light objects or even a green glow around the talent. That's the first thing to notice. The interaction between the talent and CG objects is telling. How well they interact lets me know how much time and effort has been spent prior to the shoot. Let’s say for example, you have a girl talking to a 3D rabbit in the frame but she is not looking into his eyes and when he moves, she doesn't follow his movement properly…and so on. This tells me that no one thought through these details before the actual shoot but rather discovered it later on in post-production. Experience teaches you these things. Overall, everything must look natural. You don’t want to end up with a project that has been shot well but you’ve hired a studio which doesn't know how to do VFX properly, leaving you with a commercial/movie that looks bad only because of the CG work.”

Telegin’s prominence in the industry is so recognized that he has twice been asked to judge the CG Reel contest that is part of CG Event in Russia. CG Reel happens every year, but only in 2011 and 2015, they had an actual jury. (In other years, online users would vote online for the competitors.) Representing Trehmer as the industry leader, Evegeny inspected offerings from the premier studios selected. He voted for 2011’s winner Asymmetric VFX (Moscow) confirming that the work presented was created by many of the most acclaimed VFX artists at the time. While winning is an honorable benchmark to reach, Evgeny notes that it doesn’t come without its caveats. He explains, “Back in 2014, the Nonprofit Partnership of Commercial Productions made a survey of the biggest advertising agencies in Moscow. I won in one of the categories as Best Producer of the year. I thought to myself, “It's going to make everything even tougher for me because now I have to keep being the best producer and there is no place for any mistakes.” I guess the lesson is that if you work hard, are persistent, and you love what you are doing…that’s the most important reward you’ll ever recieve.”

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