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Indian post-production studios are making Hollywood’s SFX fantasies come true. How futuristic are our filmmakers?

Post-production in India is witnessing a phenomenal growth and Pixion feels proud to be a major contributor in this industry victory. The numbers of movies that are using high-end VFX are steadily increasing over the past few years. The key contributors to this growth are segments like VFX and DI, newer segments like Restoration and Conversion.

The last three years have changed the perspective of the world looking at India and they have accepted the presence and work quality of Indian companies. Number of television channels, need for fresh content and increasing advertisements on air has made post industry envisage the phenomenal growth.

World class professionals are looking towards India as their professional destination because there is a huge domestic market for creation and changing production content. The past few years have seen a marked increase in high-end post production in Asia and especially in India. This trend is the result of three main factors – one is the paradigm shift for high quality production of content for domestic markets. Another is the cost advantage of outsourcing post production to India. And then there’s the crossover phenomenon – the production of Asian content for international markets.

In 2010, the animation, VFX and post production industry witnessed a growth of 17.5 per cent over 2009 to reach INR 23.6 billion. This growth was largely led by the VFX and post production segments, which saw growth of 42 per cent and 17 per cent respectively. Animation, on the other hand, grew by 10 per cent in 2010 to touch INR 10 billion.

The VFX market in India is still at its nascent stage. There is a lot of scope and opportunity for growth in this market, both in terms of the quality of work and the amount of work being delivered. The Indian audience is an educated audience and is worldly wise. The uptake of films like Transformers, Pirates Of The Caribbean, X Men and Harry Potter among others, indicates that the audience is ready for it. Yet the local cinema that we produce hasn’t really approached the VFX side of things much like our friends across the pond.

Nine of the 10 highest-grossing movies worldwide in 2009 and 2010 relied heavily on special effects, making the industry more central to Hollywood’s business model than the movie stars are. It is estimated that as much as one third of 300 million movies (in the budget of $ 200 million to $ 300 million) are devoted to special effects.

In the recent past, there have only been two or three films that have had their scripts rely heavily on VFX to tell their story in mainstream Bollywood. That number is significantly going up and we are pushing ourselves to deliver outstanding quality of work and taking the entire industry forward in terms of getting them to think and function similarly like Hollywood. When directors demand outstanding VFX, we will end up delivering it to their standards of satisfaction.

At Pixion we are at the next phase of our growth cycle and we have a healthy pipeline of work orders with projects presently in Bollywood and Hollywood. Of late we have been working on projects that have high end complex visual effects for both domestic and international clients.

Our recent work has been the Oscar-winner movie, The King’s Speech and the BBC TV Series The Deep (about a submarine disaster) along with our counterpart Molinaire in London. Movies such as Bodyguard, Golmaal 3, Dabangg, Double Dhamaal, Singham, Peepli Live, Raajneeti, Tees Maar Khan and London Dreams have used and understood the scope of VFX and challenged the industry by delivering path-breaking work with the support of Pixion. Our upcoming projects are one amongst the biggest Bollywood movies like Don 2, Agneepath, Dhuan, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Short Term Shaadi, to name a few.

Digital acquisition is a huge contributor to the entire VFX and DI evolution in the country. Up until now, we relied heavily on films being acquired on negative. But that is changing and will soon see a majority migration to the digital acquisition. Not only does that facilitate the entire Digital Intermediate and VFX Workflows, but it also throws up new challenges and possibilities.

One of which is moving the entire process of the studio as near set or on set as possible, reducing the time taken to turn around a project and to visualise and effectively contribute to the project to a whole new level on involvement and interaction. Another key factor is Conversion and 3D that is gaining huge prominence in the industry and we are also in the planning stage to adopt the best technology and pipelines for perceptible benchmarking deliveries.

Our plans in the future are to obviously stay ahead of the game like we always have. We were the first ones to successfully implement a whole bunch of workflows and changes to the ecosystem of Digital Post Production in the country. Our continued involvement and experience in the advertising and cinema markets has definitely helped us to bring new technologies that facilitate the overall production and delivery standards that we’ve set out to achieve.

We have worked on numerous cutting edge projects that have helped cement our studio as the go-to place for future technologies. We understand and appreciate the current trends in production and have been gearing up towards the same. New lines of business are another spectrum that we will slowly be venturing out into in a phased manner.

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