Phase 3 Productions...going further, aiming higher

Targets regional business, with over $100 million already invested in new technology

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer writer

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

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Phase 3 Productions (P3), Jamaica's premier full-service television and multimedia production company, is taking the Caribbean by storm, laying the groundwork for an expansion in regional business.

The company, which specialises in multi-camera, high-definition coverage of sports and entertainment events for live broadcast via television and the Internet, is proactively exploiting the Caribbean market.

In its 35th year of doing business Phase 3 Productions, which also provides support services such as content display via LED screens, live streaming and equipment rental, is about to sign a major contract that will see it taking on another industry-related service.

Additionally, Phase 3 has diversified its service offerings to include some of those most frequently requested by corporate clients, such as “up-lighting”. Coming out of its research and investment in LED screens some seven years ago, Phase 3 is seen as the industry leader in Jamaica and was invited by Absen out of China to serve as its dealer. Once P3 went Absen, the industry followed. Phase 3 now has the widest variety of LED screens in Jamaica.

Business wasn't as good in the early days, replete as it was with challenges and struggles. However, it was not devoid of opportunities for the married couple that started Phase 3, Richard and Marcia Forbes. Through sweat and tears they persevered to build the business, as the proverbial saying goes, “from nothing to something”.

Learning from the past and transcending towards the future has been one of the hallmarks of this locally grown business. Today Phase 3 Productions is known for outstanding service to the television industry in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean, as it leads in creativity and innovation.

EARLY CHALLENGES

One major challenge in the early life of Phase 3 was meeting the standard for approved motion picture producers in order to qualify for a company tax waiver/exemption. As the matriarch of the business, Marcia Forbes recalled the bureaucratic hurdles — especially as it regards getting waivers and exemptions to carry on the business of creating local-content productions.

According to Forbes, “we were required to project revenues over the coming years as well as to document how our investments in television content-creation technologies were either saving Jamaica from spending foreign exchange or was actually earning forex. This was the biggest challenge we faced in the early days — just proving that Phase 3 was worthy of the status of 'Recognised Motion Picture Producer'.”

Forbes boasted, “We got it! Phase 3 not only earned forex but, through its investments in world-class technologies, burnished the image of Jamaica as a Caribbean country where high-tech, multimedia equipment is available. Each time the renewal of our Recognized Motion Picture Producer status came around we had to submit our achievements as well as a new set of projections.”

EXPLOITING THE OVERSEAS MARKET

Phase 3 has been proactively exploiting the Caribbean market and this has been going well — last year Phase 3's crews worked in five Caribbean countries. They filmed and edited in Spanish on location in Cuba, and in French in Guadeloupe. “This meant going beyond our comfort zone — and we did. Our clients have been very satisfied with the solution-oriented attitude, flexibility, and can-do attitude of our teams,” Forbes explained.

Delano Forbes heads the second-generation management team at Phase 3, taking over from his mother Marcia and his father, who passed on a few years ago. He disclosed that come September, Phase 3 is set to work in 3 different Caribbean islands.

The younger Forbes gave a preview of what is to come saying, “Phase 3 is about to sign a major contract that will see the company taking on another industry-related service. However, we're not yet ready to make that announcement.” That contract will see P3 deepening its level of engagement with not just the Jamaican media and creative industries but also the wider region. “Interestingly, having watched the company's progress, it is the client who reached out to Phase 3 to forge this relationship,” Forbes explained.

At the end of 2018 Phase 3 provided full logistical support for one of the Hollywood movies filmed in Jamaica. Delano Forbes, who holds the title of Phase 3 CEO, said the experience was great. Forbes, who graduated from New York University with a degree in film production, declared that “running the accounting for a full-length movie is not a walk in the park” but with his knowledge and expertise, along with careful crew selection, the company was able to provide the clients with a professional and ultimately fun-filled experience of filming in Jamaica.

PHASE 3 INVESTS IN 4K TECH

With an investment of well over $100 million, mainly financed through Sagicor Bank, Phase 3 has acquired top-class SONY 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) cameras, along with other 4K-support technologies, to allow Jamaica to match up to the best in the world in terms of content and creative productions. 4K HDR is regarded as the new standard for digital-content platforms such as Netflix and Apple. It is of a much better quality than HD and offers improved archival life.

Forbes explained that the return on their investment is largely predicated on serving clients outside of Jamaica, as well as meeting the needs of discerning local clients who target international distribution. The technology was launched at the recent staging of Reggae Sumfest.

As the host broadcaster for Reggae Sumfest, Phase 3 provided its multi-camera 4K coverage of the concert to approved content distributors. Live streaming garnered millions of impressions from as far as Australia, Dubai, Nigeria, Russia and Denmark.


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