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Need for govt. support to animation stressed at seminar

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MUMBAI: The animation industry in India would receive a fillup if the government took steps to supports it. One of the steps could be that it mandates that animation channels carry at least 10 per cent of local content.



This was a suggestion made by Padmalaya, Zica's Rajiv Sangari at the Broadcast India 2004 Technical Symposium. He noted that France has six animation channels. The French government's rule is that 60 per cent of content come from Europe. Out of that 40 per cent should be from France. "In India, on the other hand, there is zero consumption of local content. Doordarshan has never bothered about local content.



"While I appreciate the fact that too much of regulation is not a good thing; if the government were to insist that just 10 per cent of local content be carried on animation channels then the industry would receive a boost," Sangari said.



Another problem he noted was that of low skill set. There are not more than 3000 skilled animators in the country while we need 15,000 of them. Philippines on the other hand has 40,000 skilled animators. What is happening as a result is that salaries in India go up by 40 per cent a year, which is unhealthy for a nascent industry. He warned that there were no shortcuts to being a complete animator. India has 15-20 animation studios compared to 200 in South Korea.



On the positive side we get good 3D animation projects. India is in the process of applying its creativity on the right tools in this area. He noted that Indian companies do actual production work for animation projects in the US, Japan and Germany. These are the countries that outsource the most.



As per Nasscom estimates the work that Indian animation companies do is worth $550 million. It is growing at 30 per cent a year. "While there is debate on these figures even if it is accurate we still do not account for one per cent of the global animation work."



Meanwhile Seagate Technology's Sharad Srivastava delivered the keynote address on the storage solutions for the television and film industries. "In 2001 it took a year to fill up one terabyte of data. Today it takes a couple of hours. The global television industry produces 40,000 terabytes of data a year. Radio stations produce 14,000 terabytes. Multiple

streaming of data is possible with digital archives. In this scenario hard disc drives for storing data have assumed a greater degree of importance."



He added that the products were getting more rugged and also allowed for multiple streaming of data. This is important for time shift capabilities and non linear editing. In time shift one data stream gets recorded while the other is viewed. He noted that these days many companies use a San Storage Area Network. Here a central pool of hard disk drives works

with different servers.



This allows the broadcaster to allocate space as and when required. This setup is important if there is a situation of data doubling every six months. Also Raid systems are expensive to upgrade. Then there are portable hard disk drives. These can store a maximum of 400 gigabytes, which is the equivalent of 400 hours of television or 2500 songs.



Digiworkz' Loh Siu Yin spoke on streamlining television broadcasting by using open source software. According to him the most important part in a broadcast network is the playback system which relays the information from Star, Zee, Sony to the MSO. The problem is that there are databases everywhere which are not defined. Also some traffic systems do not handle secondary material like sound quality. Broadcasting is too important for it to be done manually beyond a certain point.



Information is embedded in a media database system. The source codes for the database and traffic system are kept a secret.



One alternative is using an open source code. One can look at extending public interfaces like the playlist files. Then one builds an application using visual basic. One can check the playlist against the database and then uplink to the traffic system.



He also suggested the use of database dumps. Software that he uses includes python, which understands binary files. Then there is sambam which is a Windows NT Server clone and Cron allows for the copying of files.

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