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We recently caught up with Belynda Groot| Head of Localisation & Compliance, Kids Content at Turner Asia Pacific to get her thoughts on the future of localisation technology for animated sitcoms.
What is We Bare Bears and when was it created?
We Bare Bears is an animated comedy series created by Daniel Chong for Cartoon Network.
Grizz, Panda, and Ice Bear are just three outsiders trying to find their way in, and if they can get some ice cream (or fat free frozen yogurt, if possible) on the way there, all the better. Each episode deals with the Bears' everyday misadventures finding food, goofing around, and dealing with each other and the world around them. Whatever the situation, it's obvious that being a bear in the civilized, modern world is not easy. The series premiered in 2015.
How many countries have launched We Bare Bears via the Cartoon Network?
It’s a key original series for Cartoon Network, a channel which is available in seen in 192 countries and over 400 million homes.
How has We Bare Bears been received worldwide?
We Bare Bears has received very positive reviews from critics. The pilot was described by the EYE Film Institute Netherlands as "hilarious and endearing" and it won in the "Young Amsterdam Audience" category. The show has also been praised by Mashable for tackling "modern millennial anxieties" and for representing racial minorities.
What are the key sector and consumer trends driving change?
The media industry is increasingly aware of its role in indigenous language revitalisation, driven largely by consumers who are demanding authentic content that respects their culture and identity.
Latest consumer research also shows that viewers are more likely to finish a foreign-language series if the dialogue was dubbed rather than subtitled. This insight has motivated the sector to invest heavily in efficiency and lip synch quality solutions to secure and maintain market share.
What was the motivation to dub We Bare Bears into te Reo Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand?
This project reflects the macro sector trends and helps raise awareness across the local media industry. A language is only alive when it is used and this initiative makes te reo Māori cool for tamariki (children), now and into the future when it is rolled out in new mediums.
One of our voice talent Ngatapa Black best described it, "It's amazing to have the opportunity to put Māori into the cartoons that kids are watching. Because that's what we want at the end of the day, to have them seeing the characters but hearing it all in our beautiful reo Māori. We knew we were on to a winner when our youngest talent turned up in his treasured Cartoon Network t-shirt without prompting, and our "baby bears" declared the final product to be tumeke (surprisingly good)! It’s clear having their favourite shows in their native language is positive and affirming.”
We Bare Bears in te Reo Māori aims to introduce te Reo Māori to tamariki (children) in a modern fast-paced format. The humour and animations in the 10 episodes are easy to follow and can be enjoyed by all tamariki, from early learners through to those who are fluent into et Reo Māori, as well as their whānau (family), as this is a children's cartoon with humour that appeals to adults as well. This inclusive approach allows for a range of learning opportunities that can be developed by
whānau, in communities, and through formal education. It was produced with the guidance of local language services company Māori and Pasifika Support Services who advised on translation and delivery.
The decision by Turner to invest in the dubbing of a popular series into te Reo Māori makes a powerful statement about the media industry's role in promoting the Māori language.
What were the key workflow problems to solve for this project?
On this project the majority of voice talent had little or no experience with lip-synch dubbing so we needed tools that enabled the talent to concentrate on their performance rather than figuring out where their cue was or how long they had for each line.
Given the experience level of the voice talent and the nuances of translating the script from English to te Reo Māori we needed tools that allowed us to have oversight of where any lines needed to be reduced or added and adapt the script on the fly to make the synchronisation work.
Why did you choose Voice Q as solution?
VoiceQ is a leading digital rythmo-band software which provides superb on-screen visual cues for the voice talent eliminating the need for any kind of paper scripts. This ensured that the voice talent could concentrate on what’s most important, their performance. Delivering great lines in an authentic, efficient and sustainable manner.
For the translator and sound engineer it meant that changes could easily be made on the fly which achieving the synch. This was critical for efficiency and quality. For the less experienced voice talent the visual on-screen cues work like ‘precision karaoke’ so the learning curve is low and talent can progress very quickly from ‘zero to hero’ with practice and coaching.
What area is VoiceQ of most value?
Having spent a lot of time in studios directing sessions, I would highly recommend VoiceQ to any studio or content owner looking to increase efficiency whilst raising the quality of dubbed content. Having access to a tool like VoiceQ was invaluable.
What Awards and nominations has We Bare Bears received?
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