Watch any latest Hollywood film and you’ll see that visual effects or VFX play an integral part in the film’s storytelling process. It brings the reel world to life and has the ability to transport viewers. And this is precisely where Satya Reddy developed his career as a VFX supervisor; imbibing skills that he now uses to power BYJU’S array of learning products and provide a truly immersive learning experience to students.
“When I got the opportunity to join BYJU’S in 2017, the team was much smaller and there was a lot of scope to work on lighting and live-action integration to ensure higher quality learning products,” shares Satya, “I have always been interested in the integration of technology and education, and this role combined the best of both worlds – it was challenging and rewarding at the same time.”
Over the years, the BYJUite has garnered valuable experience working across large production houses, making blockbuster films, including some MCU movies, two Harry Potter films, Alice in Wonderland, The Hobbit and The Amazing Spider-Man. Closer home, Satya has worked extensively in the Tamil and Telugu film industry and his notable work include the two Baahubali films among others. In his words, these are the experiences that have shaped his career as a VFX Supervisor.
VFX combines Satya’s love for design and filmmaking, both of which he discovered at a young age. His tryst with design, in fact, happened at his father’s printing press. Around the same time, he also fell in love with movies and the process of filmmaking.
“A relative of mine was a movie producer in the Telugu film industry,” recalls Satya, “and my love for filmmaking developed because of him. Growing up, I would see him on the sets; I knew early on that I wanted to learn everything I could about filmmaking.”
Shortly after, visual effects began to fascinate his imagination. “In my quest to learn every aspect of filmmaking, I wanted to know more about VFX too. That’s how I started dabbling in VFX and even pursued my Master’s degree in the field,” he shares.
Satya’s big Hollywood break happened right out of college when he began working at a VFX studio in Mumbai. It was here that he learned a lot about the technicalities of creating vivid, visual details. Skills that he would hone further when collaborating with filmmakers closer home, in the Telugu and Tamil industry.
“After a few years when I landed the offer to join the team at BYJU’S, I immediately knew that this would be a meaningful progression to my career,” quips Satya. “Exploring VFX in movies and filmmaking is fun but the idea of using this tech to create unique, one-of-its-kind learning experiences was quite exciting.”
Satya and his team have since worked on an array of learning products, introducing innovative techniques to content creation and video-making. “The team here has adopted several fundamentals of the filmmaking process to create learning content. We have even modified the way shoots are done to enhance the learning experiences,” shares Satya.
But how different is creating learning content from producing blockbuster films? “There are definite similarities but the main point of difference happens to be the audience we’re catering to — in this case, it is students and young learners. It’s imperative to grab their attention and ensure that they retain what they watch and learn from the videos,” explains the BYJUite.
“Before joining this team,” he adds, “I was creating visual effects for people of all ages but doing it for children is very interesting and challenging.”
A self-confessed quick learner, Satya says that one valuable lesson he has learned along the way is to adapt to circumstances. “Even while working in the film industry, I knew that I was bringing a director’s vision to life through visual effects. I have applied that same principle here as well and tried my best to add value to some of our most popular and well-loved products,” adds Satya.
And this process of creating content that makes learning engaging and immersive has also been something of a rediscovery for Satya. “Learning is part of the process and I believe the concept of ‘learn, unlearn and relearn’ is a perfect way to describe my journey. There was quite some unlearning and relearning involved when I had to supervise VFX for children,” says the BYJUite.
“And this was possible because I was having a lot of fun through the process. I love how everyone comes together to identify and solve problems. The culture of collaboration is what makes all the difference,” Satya adds.
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