Sunday, March 25, 2012

American VFX in China

China Daily informs us:

... As a visual effects provider [who] has worked with Chinese directors including Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Gordan Chan, Base FX's [Christopher Bremble] has witnessed the change in the Chinese movie industry's investment in post-production.

"The budget for visual effects is going up 30 to 40 percent each year, while the demand for it is increasing 50 percent, making it difficult to satisfy the hunger," said Bremble. ...

"In China, the film industry is still very much a star-based film industry, and the visual effect is just a tool, playing the supporting role," said Bremble.

"But in the West, it plays a primary role. Hollywood movies' ambitions are more global, and visual effects help to translate them to every market." ...

"The current problem for the industry is the shortage of professionals with experience in this field," said Wu Yan, general manager of Technicolor (Beijing) Visual Technology Co Ltd. ... He added that while the gap in technology can almost be ignored as it's not difficult to overcome, finding people with the skills to operate the equipment is what matters most ...

There it is again, that "skills" thing.

Maybe it explains why so much visual effects ... and animation ... and graphics work remains in California. (I've been observing the phenomenon for twenty-plus years; VFX Soldier has cited studies about it -- that thing we're pleased to call "agglomeration.")

As I've noted before, it's not enough to be cheap. You must also have a high level of quality that translates into dollars at the box office. And because there has been a concentration of talent in Southern California for a long time, our fine, entertainment conglomerates (and large video game companies) swoop into Southern California to access the people who know how to do the work. Better to do the shot right the first time and pay a little more, than do it multiple times at an (illusory) discount.

China, per China Daily, isn't yet delivering the requisite quality.


Anonymous said...

"Cheap" is usually qualification enough for producers to send the work overseas. They typically dont care, or dont know the difference between quality work and crap.

You still need some sort of sanctions, tax cuts, or Guild penalties to keep the work here in the US.

Too bad nobody is willing to step up and do anything about it.

ahem... yes... looking at you Guild.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, how the hell do you impose a "Guild penalty"? And what is that anyway?

Steve Hulett said...

Too bad nobody is willing to step up and do anything about it.

ahem... yes... looking at you Guild.

And so you'll be at tomorrow night's General Membership Meeting to get the ball rolling, yes?

Looking at you, Anon.

Anonymous said...

chuck zimbellas is off his med's again!

Anonymous said...

So the population of the greater LA area is approximately 12.8 million. Let's say, for easy math and argument's sake, that 10% of the LA population work in the entertainment industry. So 1.3 million rounded off. Of that, say 10% work in vfx. 130 thousand vfx artists. China's population; over 1 billion. That's .013% of their population that they have to find that's "skilled" to do visual effects. 1 in every 1000, out of a billion. China's problem isn't they don't have the "skill". Skill is something that is learned over time and through practice. Skill is honed and developed. China's problem is they got into the visual effects industry 30 years after LA. Same with India. Give them another 10 and they'll be even, 10 more after that, and they'll pass us. To think that there's not the talent there isn't just foolish, it's borderline racist.

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