Rhino Rebrands to Reflect Global Reach

Nearing a decade in the advertising and entertainment business, the entire team at rhinofx is pleased to announce that the studio is dropping off the f and x and changing its name to Rhino. A year after uniting with Gravity, one of Israel and Canada’s premier media development studios, Rhino has updated its name, identity, and vision to coincide with its dramatic and global evolution in both traditional and non-traditional work across TV, film, web, and mobile screens.

While Rhino has always been known for its work in VFX and CG-oriented design and animation, the addition of Gravity’s resources has been a huge complement, adding more design depth and stylistic vision to their creative arsenal, and opening up unique opportunities for a variety of new media ventures, larger-scale pitches and projects, and global campaigns. Solidifying their position as a design and effects force across four screens, Rhino has doubled in size, with the talent, partnerships, and resources to deliver VFX, character animation, brand building, content creation, and digital solutions to the world’s top brands, agencies, and entertainment companies.

With Gravity’s locations in both Tel Aviv and Toronto coupled with Rhino’s New York and Connecticut studios, the company has diversified their offerings and greatly expanded their capabilities. All completely technologically linked, the union creates an international brigade of the industry’s leading artists. Rhino’s vast internal bandwidth and worldwide presence enable them to take on a variety of projects, for any client, anywhere.

Commenting on the re-brand, Zviah Eldar, CEO North America, explains, “A year ago, we saw a great opportunity in aligning Gravity and rhinofx, leveraging our locations around the world and combining the advertising and film experience with online and mobile media expertise. Each of our offices is linked creatively and technically, strengthening our commitment to expand our services to agencies, film studios, and brands across all platforms. Now, Rhino delivers much more than visual effects and the name change will help reflect these capabilities.”

In addition to this broader, diversified creative approach, Rhino is launching a branding package including a new identity, website, and materials to better reflect this vision. The studio has done an expansive build-out of two entire floors at their New York City location, bringing their artists and producers together to create a more open and collaborative environment.

Supporting this evolution, Rhino recently undertook a mobile and alternative media project, collaborating with GS New Media, Inc. and Sun Microsystems, Inc. to build a state of the art virtual world for a global children’s television brand The Saddle Club. The interactive experience, which lets young girls celebrate friendship, adventure, and horses, was built on the Project Darkstar platform, the breakthrough open source online game platform invented by Sun.

Expanding on their vision for mobile content, Eldar notes, “We have combined years of mobile experience with design and creative talent to position ourselves at the forefront of the changing worlds of both online and mobile content development. Our artists and production teams can deliver the high-quality rich graphics, animation, and 3D that are quickly arriving for these emerging channels.”

In addition to The Saddle Club, the Rhino team is also looking at expanding on Gravity’s prior mobile content hit, Gemma, which was one of the first mobisode series ever released. The project, done with Orange Israel mobile, was picked up for both online and television distribution.

Managing Director Rick Wagonheim comments, “The relationship with the multiple offices has afforded a larger creative bandwidth, access to more ideas, and an ability to work with artists from different backgrounds and disciplines. This has contributed a different perspective, with a wider range of talent working under the guidance of Rhino’s New York based creative directors. It’s very similar to the global agency model. When an agency is pitching new business or developing new campaigns for an existing client, they use multiple offices and multiple creative teams under the guidance of a worldwide creative director orchestrating the teams to flush out the best solutions, the smartest concepts, and the most promising creative. We’re doing the same thing on a smaller scale. We’ve expanded our creative prowess and that directly benefits the client with better results coming from more options.”

Rhino’s most recent work includes campaigns for Verizon, Cadillac, Chrylser, Subway and Oreo.

Wagonheim notes, “The Subway project is indicative of a growing trend, with clients approaching studios seeking one-stop solutions that combine shooting, editing, and effects-all under one roof. With Subway, Vico truly led the entire project-working as both Director and Creative Director. This happened after the agency initially approached us to do the effects. After presenting Vico’s vision, it became clear that the effects determined how the live action had to be shot to tell the complete story.” Wagonheim continues, “We’re going to see more of this trend moving forward-where we will need to do the entire project to get both the most creative and most efficient output. In addition to Rhino’s talent directing the live action, the relationship with Gravity also affords access to international directors when appropriate.”

The re-branding also comes on the heels of several major feature films projects completed in their new Connecticut-based film location. For the latest film, The Weinstein Company’s The Reader, nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture, the team worked closely with noted director Stephen Daldry to add a distinct sense of reality to the historical piece.

Commenting on the evolution of their film effects business, COO/EP Camille Geier explains, “The film medium is a constant collaboration with the director, because they really are the client and we work together to see the project all the way through. This is opposed to spots, where most directors are off to the next shoot, requesting quick-times to see the progress. It’s a very different experience when the client is the director.”

As the VFX provider for DreamWorks’ supernatural romantic comedy Ghost Town, as well as supplying intricate effects for Revolution Studios’ Perfect Stranger and Weinstein Company’s Nanny Diaries, Rhino solidified its position as one of the east coast’s leading animation and VFX studios.

“Our feature business has grown very nicely, even with the Writer’s strike, our feature revenue increased in ’08 over the prior year, and we are already reading more scripts than in the beginning of 2008,” continued Geier.

Rhino is currently finishing work on I Love You Phillip Morris, a dark comedy starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival as part of the Premieres category. In the four years since Geier joined the company to help build the feature film side of the business, Rhino has built a considerable body of work, including multiple turns as a film’s sole VFX provider, utilizing significant new bandwidth, new space, and additional resources to become a know feature effects entity.

Breaking away from just traditional projects, the company also revisited their work for Radio City Music Hall, expanding and updating the 12-minute 3D virtual tour of NYC, and aligning the visuals, angles and timing to coincide impeccably with the huge portable screens of the traveling nationwide live stage performance.

Rhino’s recent projects represent this new level of diversity, from the surreal animation spots for Verizon to the recreation of Post War Germany for The Reader to the highly acclaimed long-form tour of New York City for The Christmas Spectacular.

Eldar continues, “We are excited about being able to deliver more dimensions and more creative solutions to our clients-we are already doing some really amazing work that is truly integrated across media channels and screens.”

The trend will continue in 2009, as the team finalizes works for several major P&G products, launches The Saddle Club, and with the upcoming release of I Love You Phillip Morris. With their own updated capabilities now carefully incorporated into their brand identity, the company stands to tighten their hold on the top of content creation for the design and VFX industry, and further establish themselves as the universal provider of multi-platform media, design, and effects.

About Rhino:
Rhino is an award winning animation and visual effects studio with a global vision and worldwide network of talent, partnerships and resources. As they have grown and become more diverse, so have their projects for the world’s top brands, agencies and entertainment companies. The company’s principals and artists have also led the industry’s exploration into the boundless potential of branded digital content. By cultivating extensive relationships with key brands, advertising agencies, and film/TV studios, Rhino utilizes its creative directors and artists to develop and execute powerful branded entertainment to build both identity and awareness.


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