Saturday January 12, 2013
Malaysian team behind special effects for Life of Pi and Snow White movies
By TASHNY SUKUMARAN
PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will have reason to cheer at this year’s Oscars ceremony as the special effects in Life of Pi and Snow White And The Huntsman – the works of the local branch of international visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues, have received nominations.
“If Rhythm & Hues win, the golden statuette will travel from the main office in the United States to every branch – India, Canada, Taiwan and of course, Malaysia,” said the KL branch’s senior manager Hasnul Hadi Samsudin, adding that his team worked mostly on the ocean in Life of Pi, as well as the tiger.
“The film was shot in a water tank, so the team had to remove the backgrounds and the divers so we could replace them with computer-generated oceans and skies,” he explained, noting that a few seconds of footage took weeks of work.
In Snow White, starring Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, Rhythm & Hues KL worked on the “enchanted forest” scenes, to wild acclaim. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert lauded their effects as “a triumph of art direction and CGI”.
Hasnul said the team here was extremely excited about the Oscar nominations and called it a “great achievement”.
“We’re very hopeful of winning the Oscar as the work that we did for the two movies were among the best the world has seen,” he said.
“From (the tiger) Richard Parker’s amazing performance to the beautiful enchanted forest – we’ve been getting a lot of great reviews for our work.”
But most importantly, he said the nominations “bring a lot of pride to Malaysia as it proves that our own home-grown talent has the ability and the artistry to be world class”.
Rhythm & Hues KL was set up in 2009 as a Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) company, and boasts a team made up almost entirely of Malaysian talents from local universities and colleges.
Chang Woon Bing, 26, one of Rhythm & Hues KL’s 150 team members involved in Life of Pi, said the nomination could be the team’s gateway to bigger and better things.
“We will need to continue pushing boundaries here, continue to grow and reach greater heights – let this be the beginning!”
Background preparation artist Nor Faisal Abdullah, who graduated from Multimedia University with a Virtual Reality major, said he was proud of what he and his team had accomplished.
“We hope to bring Malaysia’s virtual effects industry to international standards,” he said.