Post Magazine

September 2011

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VFX Visual effects and animation studios have been embracing the global market- place for some time, but a critical mass of them has now expanded with satellite facilities around the world. Drawn to India, Southeast Asia and Canada by pricing pressures on product and attractive tax and business credits beyond our borders, an increasing number of studios have met the challenges of time zones, staffing and pipelines to enable international facilities to function fully as day-to-day team members on just about every project they do. RHYTHM & HUES One of the first to consider overseas expansion was the venerable animation and VFX studio Rhythm & Hues (, a privately-owned facility based in LA.A 1998 internal meeting recognized the increasingly global nature of the business, recalls Prashant Buyyala, managing director of international operations at Rhythm & Hues (R&H)."We recognized that the talent we sought was in- creasingly global — at that time about 50 percent of our artists were international — from all over the world," he says."We were already seeing competition from the global space, specifically the UK, Canada and Australia, based on tax subsidies and credits provided in those countries. And the market for our business was becoming more global in nature: India has one of the largest film industries in the world and a 1.2 billion consumer base. China, too, was coming on fast as consumers of VFX and animation." In addition, Rhythm & Hues had begun to see pricing pressures mount, with a significant portion of cost attributed to labor. "It was clear that if we wanted to thrive moving forward we needed to transform ourselves into a global company," says Buyyala."But we had no idea how." He began an around-the-world odyssey the next year, looking for "a typical outsourcing model: a company we could sub- contract. If we were lucky, maybe we'd find a company to take an equity stake in." ILM Singapore: At right is a rendering of the new facility, nicknamed "The Sand- crawler" and modeled after the Jawa desert transport vehicle in . Many visual effects studios are opening outposts outside their home country. on the Move By Christine Bunish Star W ars

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