Rotoscoping - A new niche in outsourcing?

Written by Zenia Mai Enriquez on . Posted in Post-production

Who would have ever thought before that clipping path can be such a profitable niche in the outsourcing industry. There were brave ones who saw the opportunity, the need was there and they filled it. Now, a lot of graphic outsourcing companies are offering clipping path services and it is evident in Google once you query “clipping path”. Big offshore companies this time are eying a new niche. Found across the video post production industry, the possible next outsourcing hit is rotoscoping.

What is rotoscoping exactly? It is the process of tracing a live-action sequence frame by frame. The analogy of clipping path is similar for rotoscoping. You trace an object out to remove it from the scene or to apply effects exclusively within the created matte or mask. Rotoscoping is clearly like clipping path only it is for videos and ten times the workload.

Rotoscoping is a repetitive and time-consuming task that does not need the degree of creativity a compositor would like to work into. Many post-production companies employ roto artists to accomplish this task and free VFX (Visual Effects) designers of this lackluster chore. Keeping rotoscoping in house definitely adds to a company's project cost which is exactly why this can be a profitable niche for outsourcing firms to enter.

There are firms that are already doing this, such as LazyMovie, but then they're not so many since putting up this kind of business requires significant cash outlay. For one the computers must be high-end to accommodate the usually big needs of the clients and to expedite the process. Who could forget to factor in the cost of acquiring several licensed software that can seriously dent any man's wallet. The upside is that labor costs wouldn't be much of a problem especially if the studio is located offshore.

Several freelance roto artists are also offering this service for a lower fee when compared to those those full-time artists employed in house. This practice is quite popular unlike outsourcing roto tasks to offshore VFX (Visual Effects) studio which is an infant in concept.

The main benefit for a video post production company who decides to outsource rotoscoping is the time they can spend on the more important aspects of compositing, the amount of savings they generated because of the now reduced labor costs and their improved process procedures. The risk is very minimal for video post production companies since rotoscoping leaves little or no space for creativity. The output is standard and quality of work is easily measured.