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'The market for VFX and 3D will grow exponentially'

Published on : July 20, 2011
\'The market for VFX and 3D will grow exponentially\'


: Reliance MediaWorks has tied up with Los Angeles-based digital production studio, Digital Domain Productions, which recently worked on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, to set up visual effects studios in Mumbai and London for films, TV and commercials. From August, it will also work on stereo 3D conversion for projects in phases. In an interview with FE, Anil Arjun, CEO, Reliance MediaWorks, explains how the partnership will help both companies grow capacities and capabilities. Excerpts:


How will partnering with Reliance Mediaworks help expand Digital Domain Productions’ footprint?

Currently, Digital Domain has studios in Vancouver, Florida and California. Through the alliance with Reliance MediaWorks, Digital Domain will have cobranded studios in Mumbai and London that will be jointly operated by both the companies. The partnership with Reliance MediaWorks helps Digital Domain in expanding both its capabilities and capacity. This partnership will help both the companies substantially strengthen their international presence and take on bigger projects, more work, tap an international talent base and offer clients the benefits of global digital production.

Digital Domain was founded by James Cameron and other investors. What will be his role in this new partnership?

Digital Domain has worked on James Cameron’s films in the past and we would like to engage on his future projects also. The company also has Michael Bay as one of its stakeholders and has recently concluded work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon for him.

What advantage does allying with Digital Domain give Reliance MediaWorks?

The number of films using high-end VFX has steadily been on the rise over the past few years. The change in trend is in acknowledging that all of them today are releasing in 3D. With over 100 films scheduled to release in 3D over the next three years, the market for VFX and 3D is expected to grow exponentially. Reliance MediaWorks has the scale, technological expertise and highly trained artists that can be combined with Digital Domain’s pedigree, proprietary tools and ability to create visual effects that challenge imagination, to offer comprehensive and seamless VFX and stereo 3D conversion solutions to global clients.

What sort of jobs are you going to create with this new partnership and where geographically?

Reliance MediaWorks will set up a new studio at its media BPO in Navi Mumbai and deploy there an additional team of up to 650 artists that would include 400 VFX and 250 3D conversion artists for projects allied with Digital Domain.

In London, Digital Domain will co-locate a visual effects team within Reliance MediaWorks’ UK facility.

Technicolor and Rhythm and Hues are already present in India; now Digital Domain has also made an entry...how big a visual effects hub is India becoming?

VFX is increasingly becoming the cornerstone of a film’s success—nine out of ten world’s top grossing films in FY10 relied heavily on VFX. It is estimated that one-third budget of the major Hollywood films is dedicated to special effects. Average spend on VFX across top five film producing countries—US, UK, Japan, France and Germany—stands at 8-10% of the production budget, resulting in an annual opportunity size of $1.85-$1.9 billion. India is transitioning into a global VFX hub and this deal will act as a gamechanger due to the significant leap in available capacities in the country. In 2010 Indian VFX industry witnessed a 42% growth over 2009 and with the available talent pool and quality skillsets, it is expected to grow from R450 crore in 2010 to R1,300 crore by 2015 as per a KPMG-FICCI report.

How big are your London and Mumbai studios going to be?

In India, we have an existing 90,000 sq ft media BPO facility at Navi Mumbai and we are looking at expanding it by adding a dedicated exclusive floor for Digital Domain projects. Our London office is located in the Soho area and the VFX team would be located on the same premises.

How is the Indian film industry going to benefit from India becoming a VFX hub?

Indian audiences have been exposed to high-end VFX in Hollywood films and as aware consumers, they expect similar good quality visual effects from Bollywood films also and this would lead to increase in production values of VFX in Indian films.

We have already seen the shift in use of VFX technology in Indian films, with examples like Robot and Ra.One, and the effects will become more and more elaborate in future.

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