India, despite its thriving film industry and its emerging status as a global giant in the field of animation, is currently facing a serious manpower crisis in 2D and 3D animation outsourcing and Sri Lanka can use this opportunity to train its youth to fill the resultant gap, according to Sunil Ratnayake, founder Chairman of Teleview (Pvt) Ltd.
In a statement to the media, the veteran producer said that if Sri Lankan television and film production is to compete in the international entertainment arena, it has to reach the next level in production-technology. For this to happen, the Sri Lankan production industry must undergo a complete paradigm shift. “What worked 30 years ago, is obviously not going to work in the digital age, and it is time we realised this,” says this successful entrepreneur and producer/director of several award-winning television productions.
It’s not that Sri Lanka does not use the same technologies used by the rest of the world, especially in digital production; for example, local producers are increasingly dependent on 3D animations and other digital special effects in developing their productions. “However, we are still very much at the intermediary stage, compared to Hollywood or Bollywood, or even Kollywood,” points out Mr Ratnayake.
“We do need to expand, of course; that goes without saying. But we cannot and must not expand just for the sake of expanding. We’ll need a market to support it, to sustain it; and, unfortunately, that market is not here in Sri Lanka,” he notes in the statement.
Mr Ratnayake says BPOs have succeeded in Sri Lanka in the traditional communications and accountancy fields, but the time is opportune for BPOs with big-budget international-level animation. Animation is considered the next generation BPO. The current global animation BPO is estimated to be worth US$ 70 billion. In 2015, this figure will rise to a whopping 136 billion, he says.
In India alone, he adds, the Animation BPO is worth an estimated US $ 460 million. That was the figure in 2008. By 2012, it is projected that this will reach an unprecedented US $ 1.16 billion – an increase of almost 300%.
Pioneering production house, Teleview, under the guidance of Sunil Ratnayake, has been instrumental in introducing 3D animation to the Sri Lankan television industry, among other things. The company got into the history books by creating the country’s first ever fully-animated (3D) TV commercial, the Vanik Roadroller. Their innovative productions like Bhwatara, a science fiction tele serial about an extraterrestrial being lost in a remote village in central Sri Lanka, saw the magic of CGI (computer generated imagery) breathing that much needed extra bit of life to the local tele-scene.