Media and entertainment, particularly cinema, have seen many new technologies. Celluloid, which was symbolic of cinema, is now part of the history, mainly swept away by the digital wave which began about 14 years ago. K Basi Reddy, founder and chief executive officer of Digiquest, is now convinced that his thinking to bring digital technology to Hyderabad at a cost of Rs 3 crore in 2003 was the right step.
Reddy, who hails from Mahabubnagar, has been offering digital film making solutions like digital non-linear editing, audio recording, dubbing, animations, visual effects, film recording, digital colour grading, corporate films, documentaries, commercial ad films and multi-media training among others. The firm also provides digital movie cameras on rentals. “Not many were convinced about the need to go digital. We got the technology here in 2003 and since then have worked on about 400 project across languages. Now, all cinemas are made on digital only. It took 12-13 years for this transformation,” says Reddy.
Digiquest was involved in Baahubali, Soggade Chinni Nayana, Magadheera, 7th Sense, Yamadonga and several others, he says. Before taking to cinema and allied industries, Reddy studied agriculture at Rajendranagar in Hyderabad and later went to do business management in the US. He worked in a restaurant and also in a food manufacturing company in the US.
“We came back to India and then IT was gaining traction. That was when we started Infotech Enterprises. I was one of the promoting partners along with BVR Mohan Reddy. I used to get some orders from the US. Later, I got interested in media and entertainment and left the engineering segment,” he says. There was a lot of scope for growth in visual effects, gaming and animation and allied fields. They are used practically across sectors and not just cinema and entertainment. “I went around the world to understand the technology that is available and the progress we in India need to make in India,” he says.
The demand in these sectors is huge but finding skilled manpower is challenge. With this, he started Digiquest Academy to offer specific training modules. Among others, it offers a 4-year bachelor’s programme in association with JNFAU, where the course is handled by Digiquest while the examinations are held by the university. This includes a six month internship in the chosen field. One batch has graduated recently. It also offers diploma courses for engineers.
“One of the key challenge is finding placements as most of the time they happen through internal referrals. But that is changing fast and is the field is opening up to welcome new talents,” he says. “There is a need for the parents to realise that there are many career options beyond IT and software. For instance, there is a dearth of candidates in creative engineering field. This includes gaming, animation, media and entertainment. While their use is commonly associated with movies and leisure, the scope is immense and they find a use in education, medicine, defence, advertising, automobiles and several other fields.
Reddy has offered policy inputs to the State Governments from 2013 onwards for development of gaming, animation, media and entertainment sectors. The Telangana Government has recently laid the foundation for setting up Innovation in Multimedia, Animation, Gaming and Entertainment (IMAGE) tower, which will be an one-stop shop for all things animation and allied fields, several existing players are enthused about the prospects that will open up. “There will be common facilities at IMAGE that smaller companies can use on a pay-per-use basis. Since the ecosystem is present, new companies will be keen to set up their operations here,” says Reddy. He is keen to be part of the new facility. “Hyderabad is known for its quality work in animation and related areas. The city has been getting some overseas assignments already and that will increase due to IMAGE tower,” he says.