Indian company trains small army to meet 3D surge
By Mike Collett-White
CANNES (Reuters) - India's Reliance MediaWorks, part of the Reliance ADA group, is training a small army of artists to meet the rise in demand for 3D films following the huge success of James Cameron's "Avatar" and other films.
Films like "Avatar," with its record-shattering $2.7 billion global box office, "Alice in Wonderland" and "Clash of the Titans, have convinced studios to spend extra cash and add a third dimension to movies to boost box office earnings.
While film directors like Cameron debate whether converting 2D films to 3D, or filming directly in 3D, is the best way forward in the future, studios are using conversions as the most cost-effective way to meet audience demand.
Reliance, part of the conglomerate owned by Indian billionaire Anil Ambani, has begun training more than 2,700 artists to make 2D pictures into 3D in the next year or so.
Based in India, they aim to process between 10-15 films a year, each worth between $8-15 million to the company, targeting "blue chip" projects from major Hollywood studios.
"We are looking at focusing on A-list clients," Anil Arjun, CEO of Reliance MediaWorks, told Reuters. "And while scale is important, volume is not necessarily the key driver," he said.
Experts in the field warn that the laborious task of high-quality conversion is complex, but Reliance hopes to prove doubters wrong with its first film, likely this year.
When asked if he thought the 3D project a risky one at time of economic uncertainty, Arjun replied: "In 2009, probably the worst year for the world economy, the film industry grew substantially. And we also focus on next-generation applications like 2D to 3D and high definition." Continued...