Packed with creating vibrant, iconic and brave content across films, episodic, advertising and games, Technicolor Creative Studios had a year full of milestones in 2022. The global giant known for delivering incredible projects across the world became an independent, publicly traded company on the Paris Euronext stock exchange in September 2022.
Animation Xpress got in touch with the Indian team of Technicolor Creative Studios to understand their 2022 performance and strategies for 2023.
They capped off the year with the proud announcement that the 95th Academy Awards VFX shortlist comprises three films from MPC in the running for best visual effects -Universal Pictures’ NOPE, Amazon Prime’s Thirteen Lives and Paramount Pictures’ Top Gun: Maverick and and a recent Nickelodeon’s win of a Children’s Emmy for the show Star Trek: Prodigy, for which Mikros Animation provided cinematic animation. This December also saw EA’s NBA 2K23 and EA’s FIFA 23 from Technicolor Games going head-to-head in the eagerly anticipated Game Awards with both nominated for best sports game of the year.
Some other noteworthy projects across their studios include Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, HBO’s House of the Dragon, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Elvis, Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2, GCI Films’ Ozi: Voice of the Forest, and the recent Bollywood horror-comedy Amar Kaushik’s Bhediya, as well as brand experience work from The Mill including Louis Vuitton The Holiday Season with Louis Vuitton, BMW Road Home Sales Event and Starbucks Share The Cheer | Skate Break.
Together, Technicolor Creative Studios collectively won almost 100 awards in 2022.
Technicolor India continues to grow from strength to strength as it makes strides across several areas including production, post-production, VFX, animation and 3D, computer graphics, and other creative tech departments. There has been substantial movement in services for augmented and virtual reality platforms.
As per their inputs, they continue to be invested in giving India’s talented pool of VFX and animation artists the best working and mentoring experience, and are focused on growth and partnerships to enhance their capabilities in key areas including games, digital experiences, and original content creation.
In a few moves in this vein, back in January, The Mill and MPC Advertising were united under The Mill Brand to create the world’s largest VFX studio for the advertising and brand experience industries. The expanded studio continues to focus on three core business offerings within the market: visual effects, creative production and brand experience.
And in November, their international expansion continued with a new Mill studio in Seoul, South Korea. Over the years they have worked with a number of South Korean clients, recent projects include Samsung’s Gold Cannes Lion winning The Spider & The Window, Hyundai’s CES 2022 Metaverse Experience, and KRAFTON’s PUBG: Battleground.
For several decades now they have operated at the dynamic intersection of creativity and technology. The market changes at a blinding pace and better devices and heavier file sizes in which content is delivered calls for massive innovation in the production sector in which the studio participates. There is a rapidly increased use of virtual production, and the game engine technologies are becoming mainstream.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques are helping power picturisation and creativity as the industry scales and works in a multi-location transcontinental paradigm. With the latest stack of CG technologies, Technicolor Creative Studios delivers innovative experiences that engage audiences at a deeper emotional level.
Virtual Production leverages the advantages of increased mobility, faster rendering times, and more powerful tools that are essential to create higher-quality visuals. Additionally, motion capture performances are becoming more popular, allowing for realistic and organic character movements that can be animated quickly and easily. A great example of this is Apple TV’s Prehistoric Planet– produced by the BBC Studios Natural History Unit with Jon Favreau and they have worked on several ground-breaking visual effects projects with the iconic filmmaker and once again MPC blazed new trails in executing this spectacular initiative.
Journey of Indian VFX and animation
According to Technicolor Creative Studios inputs, the Indian animation and VFX industry have witnessed tremendous growth over the past few years, with many of the world’s leading studios making significant investments in India. Reports from consulting companies indicate that the AVGC sector in India grew post-pandemic by 28 per cent in 2021 while the world was still recovering from Covid 19. The industry contributes approximately $2.5-3 billion to the estimated $260-275 billion global AVGC market and employs over 1.85 lakh AVGC experts. By 2025-26, the Indian industry is projected to rise to $40 billion (to five per cent of the worldwide market), with annual growth of 25–30 per cent and will need at least 160,000 new employees per year over the next few years (as reported by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting).
The industry seems to be on a surge as several studios expand and grow – India will soon become one of the first choice providers of AVGC services.
Referring to the recent Bollywood film Bhediya, Technicolor Creative Studios pointed out that a year ago, projects such as these were a pipe dream. Today, with the support of talented VFX and animation assets, it is possible to create films within the Indian industry to cater with sophisticated VFX to a mature audience.
India has long been the engine room for the global VFX industry. From working on award winning blockbuster movies such as Disney’s The Lion King to several critically acclaimed projects simultaneously, the studio has for many years now delivered innovative VFX work for major studios across film and episodic work for motion pictures and OTT series. In more localised developments, movies like action-drama films directed by S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR has placed a renewed focus on how avant-garde VFX shots can elevate a production.
Global major VFX-heavy films have not only positioned India as a frontrunner in the global VFX industry, but have also helped to highlight the capabilities and potential of Indian VFX artists. With its technical prowess and vast talent resources, India is increasingly attractive to international filmmakers. Movies like RRR and Bhediya have enabled the community to look beyond the camera, to ideate, innovate and visualise shots beyond human ability. In recent years, India has become a major hub for international VFX projects. Technicolor is already looking to leverage their expertise for making these huge productions an indelible mark on the global entertainment stage, a translatable feature across different locales with a proper plan in place.
With the emergence of innovative technologies, an appropriate prime pumping across identified areas, with the support of the government and the AVGC task force across Indian animation, games and VFX industry is poised to grow exponentially in the coming years. Technicolor India country head Biren Ghose and an industry veteran, has been a member of the government constituted National Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comic (AVGC) Task Force, both in his individual capacity and to represent CII as its national committee chair for AVGC-XR.
The National AVGC Taskforce, appointed by the Government of India, has been a welcome initiative to support the growth of the Indian animation, visual effects, and gaming industry. The report of the task force [which was broken into four sub task forces to gather greater momentum with a wider outreach to relevant contributors], was released to the public by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting a few weeks ago. This release included the draft national policy and a model state policy which has been placed for public consultation and feedback.
The various work streams recommended in the policy and report specify areas that require government support and assistance which will help advance the Indian AVGC-XR industry towards the dream of a $100 billion sector. A significant corpus will need to be allocated to make this successful on the world stage.
The task force initiative seeks to re-imagine and catapult the creation of skills and entrepreneurship; reform education at school and college levels; position and present India on main markets and forums across AVGC globally; extend the services momentum to be greater than one per cent of the global market (by value) as is the present status; increase India’s storytelling capabilities and create IP (Intellectual Property), such that we can take Indian creativity global; and launch funds to support these initiatives and encourage technologies that will help to enhance these capabilities. Key to these goals is the clarion call for a National AVGC Centre of Excellence which needs to be set up through a significant government grant estimated to be well over Rs 350-400 crores.
As they round up 107 years of Technicolor Creative Studios, it is their collective ambition to build the world’s most successful visual arts company. They believe their legacy of innovation and creativity is their foundation for the future, and the success of the studios will rely on continued investment in emerging technologies, the world’s best talent, and in their ongoing relationships with major entertainment studios and brands.
Amongst their key priorities in India, is focusing on augmenting our end-to-end capabilities, continuously diversifying their offerings, and leveraging their industry-leading technology to bring their client’s content to life – safely, securely and expeditiously.
Each of Technicolor’s four studios – MPC, The Mill, Mikros Animation and Technicolor Games will be powered by shared technologies, creative talent, R&D, and investment in future platforms. As a growing collective, they have the power to provide their film and episodic clients with creatively driven solutions across their IP journey, from feature-length film VFX to in-game assets and marketing content.