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Indian hands behind Hollywood’s The Golden Compass fantasy

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THE INDIAN CONNECTION: Artists at work at Rhythm & Hues, Mumbai on visual effects for The Golden Compass. Inset shows one of their demon-creations for the film.
THE INDIAN CONNECTION: Artists at work at Rhythm & Hues, Mumbai on visual effects for The Golden Compass. Inset shows one of their demon-creations for the film.

Anand Parthasarathy

Artists at Rhythm&Hues crafted key "FX" shots in Mumbai

Bangalore: When Hollywood searches for top talent pools in the demanding area of digital special effects, the compass increasingly points to India: Make that ‘The Golden Compass’: Cinemagoers who saw the film of the same name on the day of its release in this country on Friday, may not be aware of the fact. But many of the eye-popping special effects — including all the animal-daemons that scurry in and out of scenes in this family fantasy offering —were realised by a team of nearly 150 artists working at the Mumbai studios of animation and Special Effects (or "FX") specialists, Rhythm & Hues.

In line with current work practices when it comes to FX-heavy films, New Line Studios who have made this big budget feature divided the work among some 10 specialist studios.

The largest chunk of nearly 800 visual effects shots was entrusted to the U.S.-based headquarters of Rhythm&Hues — and more than a third of the actual work was done in India. Speaking to The Hindu, A.R. Seshaprasad, Digital Production Manager at Rhythm & Hues, in India, points out: “Unlike typical outsourcing scenarios, where only back office or manual-intensive operations are sent overseas, we were involved in all stages of creation of visual effects and character animation for the film, from pre-visualisation to modelling to animation, lighting and final compositing, to delivering the completed shot.”

“The credit for all the outstanding imagery produced on ‘The Golden Compass’ in India goes to all are dedicated artists who have worked very hard over a period of 6 months,” Mr. Prasad adds. Independent experts agree: ‘VFX World,’ the journal that monitors the special effects industry has rated the Rhythm work on The Golden Compass highly — and compares it favourably with the studio’s own work two years ago on the Oscar-nominated “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Rhythm and Hues has also delivered key effects for the animation film “Alvin and the Chipmunks.”

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