Technicolor India gets TIPsy with Mr.X, The Mill and Mikros Image

In the past three years, worldwide technology leader in the media and entertainment sector, Technicolor, strengthened its position in the visual effects and animation department with the acquisition of Mr. X, OuiDo Productions, The Mill and Mikros Image. The following strategic decisions were taken by the group to offer clients an innovative array of brands that support their specific service and market needs. With MPC, it already had a strong hold in the VFX sector of feature films and TV commercials. The Mill further establishes Technicolor’s leadership positions for visual effects and digital creation of imagery across all segments of high-end content, including cinema, TV, VR and advertising whereas Mr. X offers services to high-end TV and international film markets. Finally, Mikros Image is uniquely positioned to produce full length feature films in France, UK and Canada. They also have a strong VFX presence along with MPC Paris making Technicolor the leader in France’s advertising market. Before these acquisitions, back in 2006, Technicolor took a decision to establish itself in Bengaluru, India. This studio which is a multi-brand facility, has successfully reinvented the perception and mindset about India’s ability to perform to global quality and delivery specifications. So how are these two  pieces of news connected? Early 2017, The Mill, Mr. X and Mikros Image have each made their India entry under the Technicolor umbrella and with the launch of Technicolor India Production Services (known by its acronym TIPS) has offered a new bespoke VFX platform to these Technicolor brands to ramp up studio operations in India. Over the past decade, Technicolor has worked with its dedicated unit model in India with many world leaders including DreamWorks Animation, their own MPC films and advertisement VFX teams, Rockstar Games etc. The Mill was incubated in October 2016 and moved to the studio in February. Mikros Image began in January and Mr. X in April.
Biren Ghose
Technicolor country head Biren Ghose says, “TIPS VFX is an innovative venture where we are trying to do something which has never been done before – create a new entity to serve as a multi-brand start-up. The vision for TIPS was put together by deputy CEO and president production services, Tim Sarnoff who believes in the potential India offers to our global production ecosystem.” Bengaluru’s robust state-of-the-art infrastructure, which includes massive storage, render and connectivity, makes it strongly and interactively connected with Hollywood, UK and other production centers. Technicolor India has lived up to its objective of making its clients and global studios feel as if they are in ‘the room next door.’ The mission for TIPS VFX is to be a platform for visual effects that takes Technicolor’s relatively newer entities and makes sure that they are provided the same stellar service allowing them to ramp up and make India a part of their production systems. Secondly, it wants to ensure that these entities get the benefits of the technology and infrastructure and supervision in one location which has a great advantage compared to building three distinct studios. Most production entities Technicolor acquires in the world of animation and VFX will be at an advantage of starting up here in India. No other studio location in the world has these many verticals under one roof. We have three buildings and six data centres. We have a magical combination of creating an efficient, flexible platform that people can leverage for their tailor-made applications in gaming, animation or VFX. We can adapt our production systems and pipelines according to their needs and we can do this across CG imagery in any format!” boasts Ghose. Would TIPS VFX be working on domestic India projects? “That is not presently we have geared up to do. It all depends on the budgets. WWe have not seen the budgets in India currently able to support our investments in technology and our set up which is geared to the big international projects. China and India are growing their digital production methods and until that becomes a norm it is unlikely that, in the short term, we will do many local film projects in our current infrastructure.
TIPS VFX, general manager, Vamsi Ayyagari
As Technicolor India believes in providing end-to-end solutions and not just operate as a low-cost outsourcing studio, the same model would be observed with TIPS VFX. “In the short term of one to two years, The Mill and Mr. X will probably have a lot of work that they can immediately give to India whereas Mikros Image — being more focused on animation — will initially start with their VFX work alone and then build up the animation team as they ramp up their efforts locally,” mentions Ghose. With three studios under TIPS VFX, it will fast track the development of skills of an artist – especially while working on a short form VFX project. Advertising and short form result in a far more fast track learning. One needs to develop multiple cross functional skills as the work isn’t restricted like the department method seen in long form CG productions. “In television series, projects come in and go out very quickly, and hence the need to cross train talent accordingly which is a speciality of our studio. It’s amazing that our artists have the ability to be trained by international supervisors in world class projects and learn the ropes at their trade.” Working with Technicolor, MPC and now TIPS is a good CV builder. In a TIPS environment for every year a person works, s/he would be exposed to over 25 or so projects from world leaders like The Mill and this is a tremendous showcase. There’s a great diversity of work as well – the projects will have many different styles across CG or fully animated sequences. There is also a lot of 360 degree and VR projects already being worked upon. It is a very eclectic mix which can be immensely beneficial to the artist. It takes India, yet again, to another level of training and development of skill sets. Vamsi Ayyagari formerly general manager of MPC Films, has been charged with the strategic mission to help The Mill, Mr. X and Mikros Image build their brands and businesses on the TIPS VFX platform. As the business unit head he is now general manager at TIPS VFX. “The platform will have 200 people by end of 2017,” says Ghose.