'Lord of the Rings' producer Barrie Osborne to float visual effects JV company in Chennai

MUMBAI: Noted Hollywood filmmakers Barrie Osborne and Michael Peyser have ambitious plans in India. Along with Indian VFX producer Madhu Sudhanan, they are going to partner with a local visual effects studio to float a company, Vayu Digital.

The company plans to pump in $20 million to create a visual effects facility in Chennai. "We are in negotiations with a domestic visual effects studio to become a joint venture partner. The company aims to go operational by May-June," Madhu Sudhanan said.

Vayu Digital will have an outsourcing business model, tapping Hollywood clients for carrying out the visual effects work in India. The facility initially will house 50 artists with a mix of western and local talent. It aims to ramp up the capacity to 250-300 seaters over two years.

"We will create an international pipeline to attract outsourcing work from Hollywood. Vayu would serve as second in line to the VFX majors. We are not going to compete but create a complementary facility to the Hollywood visual effects major studios with cost-effective solutions," said Madhu Sudhanan.

Said Peyser,"To begin with, we are going to provide our services in VFX, mobile repurposing and animation to some of the best film makers worldwide. Long term, we also plan to produce our own content at Vayu."

By outsourcing visual effects from India, Hollywood studios save 30-40 per cent of their costs. "Hollywood requires communications, deliverables and quality. The biggest problem in India is the limited talent pool that we have as all of us are digging into the same well," said Madhu Sudhanan.

Osborne, producer of Lord of the Rings, is planning to co-produce films in India which will be targeted at the international market. Peyser, producer of Speed 2, is also eyeing at outsourcing visual effects work from India.

Madhu Sudhanan has produced domestic movie visual effects for more than 60 motion pictures and three Hollywood films. Currently he is heading the FrameFlow facility in Chennai.

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