In 2014, Reliance Group and Prime Focus Ltd (PFL) had announced the combination of the global film and media services business of Reliance MediaWorks (RMW) with PFL which led to PFL having 30 per cent stake in renowned Hollywood VFX house, Digital Domain. In 2016, it was learnt that PFL sold its 30 per cent stake in Digital Domain-Reliance for $30 million to the company’s majority shareholder, Digital Domain Holdings.The parties had also signed a MOU regarding the proposed formation of a 50:50 joint venture with DDHL to carry on virtual reality and advertising businesses in India.
Since then, the news has been rife about Digital Domain opening its studio in India in association with Prime Focus. AnimationXpress learnt through its sources that early 2017, Digital Domain was in talks with Prime Focus to open a studio in Mumbai which for unknown reasons didn’t take shape. Now, the studio plans to set up shop in the IT hub of India, Hyderabad.
The American visual effects and digital production company based in Los Angeles, California, is a pioneer in many fields, including visual effects, livestreaming landmark events in 360 degree virtual reality, building situational awareness applications, creating “virtual humans” for use in films and live events, and developing interactive content.
It has brought artistry and technology to hundreds of motion pictures, commercials, video games, music videos and virtual reality experiences. The studio has provided visual effects for Hollywood movies like Fate of the Furious, Power Rangers, Beauty and the Beast, X Men: Apocalypse, and the artists and technologists have been recognised with Academy Awards for best visual effects for Titanic, What Dreams May Come and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Though no official statement has been made about Digital Domain opening in Hyderabad, the news has been confirmed by Sudhir Reddy who is the head of digital studio (India) of Digital Domain 3.0 (one can check his LinkedIN account too). Previously, Reddy served as the head of production at Pixion, Reliance MediaWorks and later became the AVP – visual effects for Reliance MediaWorks – Digital Domain. Post that he joined FutureWorks as head of international business. Reddy was loath to disclose anything about the venture, when we reached out to him.
However, we have learnt that the Telangana government has been co-operative with the studio. It has welcomed the studio with open arms – by speeding up the clearances – as it has shown a keen interest in developing the animation, visual effects, comics and gaming industry. The former has launched an incubation facility ‘Innovation in Multimedia, Animation, Gaming and Entertainment’ (IMAGE), T-Hub and plans to open one more IMAGE facility.
As far as the recruitment drive at Digital Domain 3.0 is concerned, our sources have confirmed that it has been going on full throttle in Hyderabad. The VFX industry in Mumbai and Bengaluru has lately boomed at an exponential rate as most of the high quality projects have been delivered by VFX houses present in these two cities. With Digital Domain venturing in the City of Nawabs, we can expect it to rise to its glory again.
With international studios like The Mill, Mr.X, Mikros Image and now Digital Domain setting up on Indian soil, it couldn’t have been a better time for VFX artists to enter the industry and reap the benefits!