Rhythm & Hues speaks 'Yogi Bear' Malaysia connection

By AMRITA VALECHA | 19 February, 2011 - 13:26

Yogi Bear, the full length theatrical feature adaptation of popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, The Yogi Bear Show, recently released in Malaysia. Distributed by Fox in Malaysia, this film is a co-production between Warner Bros and Rhythm & Hues and is also R&H’s first production venture. Directed by Eric Brevig, the film features voice of Dan Aykroyd as Yogi Bear, and Justin Timberlake as Boo-Boo Bear. This hybrid live action and CGI 3D stereoscopic feature has enthralled audiences worldwide and has already earned over $96M USD in the North American box office and an additional $62M USD from Limited International market releases".

An additional interesting fact about Yogi Bear is that it has significant Malaysian contribution when it comes to the CG production. Over 40 local artists of Rhythm & Hues Malaysia have worked for 9 months on different production capacities for the film. They have contributed to the background preparation, 3D matchmove, digital lighting and compositing.

Talking to AnimationXpress AsiaPacific, about the challenges faced by the studio, A.R. Seshaprasad, Head of Digital Production Rhythm & Hues Malaysia shared, “One challenge was for us to approach and master the art of doing the work in full fledged stereo. This involved having both artist and support staff going through the necessary training, learning about new tools in our propriety software and learning how to use the 3D playback hardware to see if our shots look good in stereo. Artists who previously worked in non-stereo projects had to learn how to judge potential stereo issues during shot review time. Overall though, the 3D stereo aspect of the production went through very smoothly. The rest of the challenges had more to do with ensuring that our new teams in Malaysia integrated well with the entire production both technically and aesthetically and were able to match the high quality standards expected by R&H. In this aspect, our Malaysian artists performed admirably!”

Teams from the Los Angeles and India offices of R&H were also invited to come and work in Malaysia, allowing the Malaysian artists to delve deeper into the visual effects pipeline as well as strengthening the ties between the geographically diverse studios of R&H. “It was a lot of hard work, but the atmosphere was always energetic, enthusiastic and lots of fun! We have grown a passionate and driven team in R&H Malaysia in a short time. The Malaysian spirit is truly inspiring!” asserts Prasad.

Overall, Yogi Bear involved 350 of R&H’s artists collaborating across the four facilities in Los Angeles, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kuala Lumpur.

Finally Prasad also shared, “We are also grateful for the support granted by the Malaysian Government, especially the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) in facilitating and ensuring our success in Malaysia. They have given the opportunity to Rhythm & Hues Malaysia to participate and advise the development of industry-ready talents via their MSC Malaysia Animation and Creative Content Center (MAC3) Industry Academia Panel. This gives us a good platform to ensure that there will be readily available world-class talent for our growth in the future.”

R&H Malaysia has also worked on Hollywood features such as Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, Marmaduke, Knight and Day, Charlie St. Cloud, Little Fockers and Yogi Bear. The teams are currently busy working on several high profile Hollywood feature films including, Hop, X-Men First Class, Red Riding Hood, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Life of Pi, and Alvin and the Chipmunks 3.