Delegates enthralled with Sequences showcased at VFX Panel

NASSCOM Animation & Gaming India 2007: Session Wise Coverage

null2006 has been a landmark year for VFX in India with quite a few studios delivering world class top of the league work for Hollywood. Some of the year‘s big Bollywood blockbusters have featured cutting edge VFX in a big way. And not to forget the regional market, the TVCs and the TV serials too! Discussing ‘Value Addition through VFX‘ at NASSCOM, the panel session comprised of Rhythm & Hues India MD Prashant Babu Buyayla, VCL Creative Director Pankaj Khandpur and Prime Focus‘ Amit Gupta. The panel was chaired by Autodesk‘s Pankaj Kedia. One of the best things about a VFX session is that you get to see a lot of amazing sequences. R&H Prashant showcased case studies and work from Narnia, Night at the Museum, Tokyo Drift, Garfield and Superman Returns. VCLs Pankaj Khandpur showcased work from Rang De Basanti, Dhoom2, and One Night with the King. Prime Focus Amit Gupta showed the latest work from Jaaneman as well as work from the Happy Dent commercial. And the case studies showcased meant that the work spoke for itself. The audience was enthralled looking at the beauty and precision o the well executed VFX shots and one could hear the people go WOW! under their breath. Considering that the Indian studios have produced quite some volume of quality work this year, the 25 odd minutes in which they showcased the case studies, left the audience gasping for more. But of course rest of the session time had to be left for the discussions. Talking to the audience about the different kinds of VFX, Session Chair Pankaj Kedia shared, “There are subtle effects and there are visible in your face effects and both serve a purpose. The quality and volume of FX in the country is on the rise and we are now beginning to see Hollywood work coming to India in a big way. Even the Bollywood producers are now beginning to include VFX in their pre production planning” VCL‘s Pankaj Khandpur shared, “Not only are Bollywood producers including VFX in their planning stages but we have proven through some of the work done this year on films like Dhoom 2, that processes like pre visualisation and VFX planning help reduce cost, help in planning the production schedule better and save a lot of time in terms of shot taking for stunts etcetra. That according to me is a real value add that VFX brings to the film making process” “Having said that, I must add that though the new generation of Bollywood film makers are embracing and integrating VFX into their pre production plans and storyboards, there is still a long way to go before Bollywood as entity begins to take true advantage of VFX. Even today we have the odd producer who comes with a reel that has been shot and wants to incorporate some Helicopters or blasts after the shot has been canned” nullCommenting on the same topic of Value Addition through VFX, “With regard to value addition that VFX brings to a film… I think that there is a whole category of films now where the VFX is an integral part of the film‘s story telling ability and it attraction for audiences. There are several films that just couldn‘t be made without the aid of VFX. Good quality VFX helps the filmmakers realize the exact vision that they had in their minds and helps them tell the story in a non compromising manner” Amit Gupta who heads Prime Focus Goregaon facility spoke like a true blue FX buff, “Traditionally in India, VFX has been used primarily for Action sequences. However if you look at the top features in Hollywood, it‘s not only about the action. Its about better stylisation, complex editorial, elaborate sets and all the directorial imagination which is not possible in the real world. Going further, every next generation filmmaker would involve visually heavy cinematic imagery and use VFX as core part of their film making. Bottomline is that visually challenging cinematic experience is what the filmmaking has been all about. VFX is just a new tool which helps create that in reasonable budgets and timeframes” The next issue discussed was that of challenges that the VFX industry was facing. null“The Primary challenge for Indian VFX has been in educating the filmmakers to think differently” said Amit Gupta. “However this is getting sorted with many new age filmmakers coming in the industry. Secondary challenge is availability of quality manpower. How do we offer this profession as a serious career option to youngsters who are not even aware that there is serious money to be made in this profession where they can play playstation in office” he added. R&H India‘s Prashant added “The VFX community is still facing the same set of challenges that the Animation and Gaming studios are facing. i.e. a lack of enough trained talent that has the right type of exposure to doing high quality work. Therefore, salaries are skyrocketing and India is becoming regionally less competitive and thus less attractive as a destination for international VFX work. However the long term future seems quite bright” Concluding the session, the panelists shared that 2007 promises to be a year full of milestones for the Indian VFX community.