Reliance MediaWorks, a division of the media conglomerate Reliance ADA Group, said Monday that it has partnered with the Venice-based visual effects house Digital Domain to open studios in London and Mumbai, underscoring the increasingly global nature of California’s visual effects industry.
I’m not surprised by this move. All the big vfx and animation companies in California have partnerships with Indian companies: Imageworks India, Rhythm & Hues, Dreamworks Animation, and now Digital Domain. When Imageworks purchased Frameflow in 2007 and opened operations in New Mexico, the fear was all the work would just go to NM and India. That has not been the case with the bulk of the work still being done in Culver City.
Reliance is looking to become a big financier in the film industry. Last year it purchased half of Dreamworks live action division. Again, much of the vfx work for Dreamworks live action films such as Transformers was done in California.
Regardless, the picture in the vfx industry is getting interesting: The big facilities in California, ILM, Digital Domain, Imageworks, and Rhythm & Hues are getting bigger. I think TAG’s Biz Rep Steve Hulett says it best: The vfx pie is getting larger with more slices to share. In fact, if you were to look at TAG’s membership, it’s at a historical all time high.