Animation expert sees future growth in TV, fantasy films

MUMBAI: Computer animation and special effects programmes on television and fantasy films will drive growth in the animation sector. These predictions were made by experts during the session on animation at the seminar on technology for information, media and entertainment organised by FICCI, NASSCOM, TIE and e-Entertainment alliance held on 13 March 2003 on the pre-inaugural day of Frames 2003.


Speaking to indiantelevision.com, one of the panelists, Mike Milne from the UK-based Framestore CFC's confirmed the trend by saying: "There are two major segments which will fuel growth in the animation sector across the globe - TV animation shows and fantasy films. TV programming executives have started taking computer animation and special effects on television seriously. There is a huge future in creating documentaries with computer-aided graphics and animation."

Milne points out that the pitch for the same started nearly 12-14 years ago when the US-based Hallmark channel approached UK's animation experts for a TV series with special effects, it set off a major trend a decade ago. Thus was born "Gullivers Travels" - the six hour TV series which became immensely popular. The series was shown in three parts and climbed peaks of popularity.

"After Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park movie series became a global blockbuster, a British TV producer wanted to do a series on dinosaurs for television. When he approached Hollywood experts, they quoted a phenomenal rate of $ 10,000 per second. Framestore CFC accepted the challenge of realising his dream and we ended up charging the producer $ 500 per second for the TV series."

Milne adds that the challenge is to ensure the same quality as one sees in feature films. The animation and special effects had to look as if it was the real thing. "The success of this TV series made for BBC spawned off a series of TV documentary films and series. Currently, BBC airs programmes such as BBC Natural History, BBC Specialist Factual, BBC Horizon amongst others. Eminent personalities such as Sam Neill have been hosting such shows," Milne adds.

Milne also states that other emerging sector is the genre of fantasy telefilm series for children and adults on the lines of movies such as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!. In the developed nations, TV producers have already started special TV series based on the world of dreams and fantasies.

"The challenge is ensure that technology is leveraged effectively so that the special effects don't seem unreal. The key is to blend them into the story-line seamlessly," says Milne.

Experts present at the seminar also agreed that India has to explore various options and move up the chain from comics to C&S TV animation shows to Home Videos animation shows to animation films. Simultaneously, the key is to ensure that animation is used in education, infotainment and entertainment. Increased domestic consumption can fuel growth for the Indian animation industry.

The western world has already embarked upon the path. Are the Indian TV producers and channel heads listening?

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