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Rhythm and Hues

Rhythm and Hues, also credited as Rhythm & Hues, Inc., Rhythm & Hues Studios, and currently known as Rhythm & Hues Studios, Inc., was a Los Angeles-based company that specialized in creating visual effects, in particular by using the, at the time of its founding, fledgling technique of CGI. The company was founded in 1987 by six ex-employees of Robert Abel & Associates, after the latter went out of business earlier that year. The founding members were, Keith Goldfarb, Pauline Ts'o, John Hughes, Charles Gibson, Frank Wuts and Cliff Boulé, the first three still running the company by 2012.

Having worked on various productions of Star Trek in their early years, the best known effect they constructed for the franchise, was both the exterior as well as the interior of the Bajoran wormhole for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1992), which was designed by Michael Gibson (not related to the co-founder), and took fourteen weeks to complete. (Cinefantastique, Vol 24 #3/4, p. 124) They also worked on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Galaxy's Child" (1991) and Star Trek: The Experience (1998), for which the company designed and created part of the CGI sequences of The Klingon Encounter ride. The CGI model of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, they created for the ride, was later appropriated by the studio, for use in the later seasons of the Deep Space Nine television series. On "Galaxy's Child", their first Star Trek contribution, they received credit as Rhythm & Hues, Inc. for creating the computer animation segments of the space vessel lifeforms.

Rhythm's 1991-1992 logo

The wormhole

In the 1990s, the company worked on popular films such as Babe (1995), Spawn (1997), Babe: Pig in the City (1998), The Green Mile (1999), End of Days (1999) , Stuart Little (1999) and X-Men (2000).

They continued their success into the 2000s, and chalked up an impressive list of credits, having worked on productions like, Superman Returns, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Return of the King, X2, Serenity, X-Men: The Last Stand, Men in Black II, Stuart Little 2, Happy Feet, Charlotte's Web, Night at the Museum, Evan Almighty, The Golden Compass, Alvin & The Chipmunks, The Incredible Hulk, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Fast & Furious, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Land of the lost, Aliens In The Attic, The Time Travler's Wife, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Hot Tub Time Machine, Marmaduke, The A-Team, Charlie St. Cloud, Knight & Day, Yogi Bear, Red Riding Hood, Hop, X-Men: First Class & Mr. Popper's Penguins.

A highly successful company, Rhythm & Hues' services were in high demand, and its latest projects were among others 300: Rise of an Empire (2013) and Kazorn (2014). The company has seen a steady growth over the decades, acquiring in 1999 the VIFX half of Blue Sky/VIFX (directly after that company's involvement with Star Trek: Insurrection), and did eventually had branches in Mumbai and Hyderabad (India), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Vancouver (Canada) and Koahsiung (Taiwan).

However, after 2010, Rhythm & Hues' fortunes too started to decline, due to the economic crisis in general, and the severely increased competition from foreign effects houses in particular, the motion picture industry found it self in. As it turned out Rhythm's Achilles' heel was its heavy dependence for the bulk of their business on two major studios only, Fox and Universal Studios. The reversal of those studios' fortunes, meant also the rapid decline of Rhythm & Hues as its working capital ran out fast. As if to underscore the crisis the US-based visual effects industry was in by 2012, a equity investment deal with the holding company of Digital Domain fell through in the fall of 2012, as the latter announced its own bankruptcy on 11 September 2012. [1] Despite having provided the Academy Award winning visual effects for the movie The Life of Pi (2012), the company, by then employing 1,400 people, finally filed for bankruptcy in February 2013. In March 2013, the company was reported to have received an emergency capital injection by major Hollywood studios to keep it afloat in anticipation of a take-over by an Indian company. [2] The Indian company turned out to be 34x118 Holdings, LLC, the Indian operating division of US held Prana Studios, which acquired Rhythm & Hues on 29 March 2013 for a reported $30 million. [3] In the process, Rhythm & Hues was broken up, its US headquarters sold off to real estate developers, and its Malaysian subsidiary split off as a fully independent stand-alone company, while about a quarter of its employees were immediately laid off. [4]


The wormhole staff (The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, p. 240):

  • Michael Dallas Gibson – Chief Visual Designer
  • Mark Henne – Software Specialist
  • Suponwich Juck Somsaman – Head Animator
  • Larry Weinberg – Technical Director

The Klingon Encounter ride staff [5]:

  • John Butiu – Modeler
  • Ian Hulbert – Digital Artist
  • Alessandro Jacomini – Lighting Artist
  • Stephan Martiniere – Conceptual Designer
  • Suponwich Juck Somsaman – CGI Supervisor

Further reading

  • "The Wormhole", Douglas Eby, Cinefantastique, Vol 24 #3/4, 1993, pp. 111, 124

External links