It seems like only yesterday that the Times of London was ballyhooing the outsourcing of Hollywood special-effects projects to India.
“Post-production movie work,” the Times reported in May, 2008, “is steadily migrating from traditional centers such as L.A. to low-cost locations on the sub-continent.” At that time, Mumbai special effects operations owned by L.A.-based Rhythm and Hues had run up an impressive six-year track record of films such as The Golden Compass, Babe and Alvin and the Chipmunks, and were gearing up for work on Spiderman 3, The Incredible Hulk and Mummy 3. By now, however, more Indian-owned special effects houses have sprung up, taking more assignments from Hollywood studios — and local jobs with them.
According to an Associated Press story
appearing today, the number of FX outfits areincreasing in India,
which can offer near-equivalent quality at costs up to 40 percent under
Hollywood rates. (The Times reported that entry level lab jobs
began at roughly $800 per month, though these were normally followed by
steep advances.) And, in a film industry buffeted by diminishing
profits and labor uncertainty, Mumbai has grown into a more attractive
option. S. Nagarajan, the CEO of Visual Computing Labs, which worked on Spider-Man 3,
told AP business reporter Ryan Nakashima that his company is pulling in
three times the assignments from Hollywood as it did last year.
upside for American film producers will, of course, be the downside for California FX talent. The AP cited the case of The Orphanage, a San
Francisco lab of 100 employees that shut down in February.
“If they keep driving the prices down, it will keep driving it
offshore,” the company's co-founder, Scott Stewart, told AP of his
Indian counterparts. “Fewer and fewer artists will be working in the
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