This month, in our series profiling manufacturers, suppliers and services that cater specifically to the film and television industry in Gauteng, In Focus looks at Alpine Gulf Equipment cc (trading as Alpine Cases, a manufacturer of aluminum and plastic cases, and Blue Tornado, who supply high performance grading equipment and films scanners.

In Focus spoke to Stan Roup of Alpine Cases.

In Focus: Explain your management structure

mar-Alpine
Blue Tornado equipment
Roup: I share the management role with Peter Brooks, with my main focus being more on product development and sales while Peter focuses on administrating the business. However, we constantly cross over in all areas with total ease, as well as overseeing production. Both of us are often away at various times, so we are each used to holding the fort and covering all areas for extended periods.

In Focus: How did you come about the name Alpine?
Roup: The guilty party here is Ian Cervo, who started the company some 20 years ago. Something to do with the Gulf War being imminent, or even on, at that stage. Not something we talk about. Brooks joined a few years later and then myself a few years after that.

In Focus: The number of staff you employ?
Roup: Usually around 20 people, but it does wax and wane a bit.

In Focus: Describe the products you have on offer
Roup: Specially designed and manufactured rigidised aluminium and plastic cases and special foam inserts, machine cut to exact needs; transport and operating cases for everything from cameras, grips gear, electronics, lighting, etc; shock mounting cases, 19� rack cases, flight cases, gun cases, and every other imaginable variation.  Take a look at our website and you�ll get an idea of just how wide ranging the applications are.

We are also the Southern African representatives for ZoteFoams, a special nitrogen blown foam imported from London that offers the finest quality protection and shock absorbing qualities. All other foam is chemically blown which leaves a solvent residue in the foam. Zotefoam is nitrogen blown which has no residue and gives an incredibly even consistency with fantastic shock absorption and memory.

In Focus: Any new products that have recently come on the market?
Roup: We are just introducing our plastic range of special purpose cases that we build to size. These are very strong, yet lighter than aluminium and cost about 25% less. However, neither they nor any other panel case, is weather proof, unlike our rigidised aluminium cases, which are still the ultimate answer for cases.

In Focus: Any recent large sales - please describe equipment and customer.
Roup: I think this would have to be regarded as confidential as we have imitators always copying us. However, I can tell you that our factory uses CNC design and CNC punching techniques that gives a very accurate build and is perfectly suited to both one- off design as well as large repeat orders and also offers complete repeatability. We usually make one-off designs to suit a specific application, but have also very effectively produced orders of over 1000 cases. From a size of case aspect, our biggest case was about 3m long by about 1.5m x 1.5m. The smallest was about the size of your fist. And we provide everything in between.

Often included in our designs are: hinged laps in lids, special extrusion for cover plates, wheeled cases, pull out handles, castors on cases, recessed dishes for connectors, etc, labels, false floors, with or without shock absorption, clamping of cases together in stacks for easy movement, trays and sliding drawers and many, many other design features that help a case to provide the most effective operating approach.

In Focus: Do you provide service back-up?
Roup: Absolutely. The essence of our business is service � from initial contact and establishing the client�s needs, through design, quoting and manufacture of the cases � this occasionally also requires later modifications, upgrades or service that the client has established through using the cases.  I think you would find that the huge majority of our clients come back for more and stay with us due to the excellence of the service they receive. We are usually slightly more expensive than other options, but generally our clients feel they have had far better value for their money and the highest level of design, production and back-up service that make using us well worthwhile.

For more information contact: www.alpinecases.co.za or call +27 (0)11 882 4251.

Blue Tornado is a relative newcomer to the industry. In Focus spoke to Marc Eckstein.

In Focus: List the products you supply with a short description perhaps.
Eckstein: We supply BaseLight: High performance colour Grading system for high end DI/Colour grading HD 2k  4k  resolutions, Northlight: Pin registered film scanners. For high fidelity 2k, 4k,& 8k scans, Truelight: Colour management & calibration system Truelight HD, has been developed for facilities that require reliable monitor calibration on multiple workstations throughout the facility, AatonK: Aaton and FilmLight have entered into a partnership to offer a truly revolutionary film recorder. The AatonK sets a new benchmark in film recording that totally outperforms current film recording technology at 2k and 4k.

In Focus: Advise who your customer base is likely to be.
Eckstein: Colour grading is a demanding creative and technical process for any production � from commercials and long form HD television to feature film 4K DI. For any finishing process, flexibility and responsiveness are essential. Baselight delivers performance that exceeds anything else in the marketplace and Blackboard, the dedicated hardware control surface, is specifically designed for non-linear grading and simplifies the creation of complex grades and effects.

In Focus: Mention any recent sales.
Eckstein: In September 2008 it was announced that Media Hive in Cape Town purchased the first BaseLlight HD system in South Africa. We are proud to announce that Pudding Telecine Services has purchased the first Baselight HD in Johannesburg, as part of a major upgrade to their facility. Pudding will be taking delivery at the end of February.

In Focus: Do you provide service pack-up? 
Eckstein: Besides initial hands on training, Filmlight offer support agreements renewable every year. During this period, you receive software updates and defective hardware replacements free of charge, and we endeavour to resolve any system issues that arise via the remote log-in.

Particularly in the early days, we find that clients appreciate how-to help via phone or email. Often a new project creates new workflow or creative challenges. Our support team is available to help you directly in your region and our support time zones ensure that you can always reach someone even at unusual hours - and we are never more than a flight away if you need on-site help.

In Focus: Anything unique about the products you supply?
Eckstein: Baselight HD comes with 16 TB of storage, making it ideal for post production facilities that need a high spec, resolution independent DI solution at an affordable price. The Northlight film scanner is known for producing 100% perfect pin registered scan and Northlight consistently remains the choice for facilities around the world that demand the highest quality in 2k, 4k and 6k.  Baselight systems incorporate Truelight, providing colour-accurate emulation on any grading display. The systems integrate closely with Northlight.

For further information contact marc@bluetornado.co.za or +27  (0)82 770 1381.