October 16, 2021

Digital technology brings new changes to China’s film production

Virtual production has reshaped China’s film-making, especially since the breakout of the COVID-19, speakers said at a forum during the ongoing Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF).

“Because of COVID-19, 50 to 60 percent of the movie footage was finished online in our company last year. Thanks to the opportunity, we’ve had much experience in virtual production and we’ve laid solid technological foundation in this field,” said Chang Hongsong, founder and owner of Beijing Phenom Films Technology, at the forum “Virtual and Reality, New Changes in Film Production.”

Chris Bremble, founder and CEO of Base Media speaks, at the forum. /CFP

Chris Bremble, founder and CEO of Base Media speaks, at the forum. /CFP

Wong Amp, director of “White Snake” and “Green Snake,” speaks at the forum. /CFP

Wong Amp, director of “White Snake” and “Green Snake,” speaks at the forum. /CFP

Ma Ping, deputy general manager of State Production of China Film Group, speaks at the forum. /CFP

Ma Ping, deputy general manager of State Production of China Film Group, speaks at the forum. /CFP

Chang Hongsong, founder and owner of Beijing Phenom Films Technology, speaks at the forum. /CFP

Chang Hongsong, founder and owner of Beijing Phenom Films Technology, speaks at the forum. /CFP

Virtual production uses a suite of software tools to combine live-action footage and computer graphics in real-time. Filmmakers across multiple locations can deliver feedback across digital or physical environments where cast members are physically working on set. The technology cuts production costs by half and improves efficiency.

Virtual production is being used in Chinese stories to make them more familiar and acceptable to young people, said Wong Amp, director of “White Snake” and “Green Snake,” both of which are based on Chinese mythology.

“In terms of digital technology in film-making, the gap between us and the western counterparts is sharply narrowing in recent years. Chinese companies now have very good technology. What matters is imagination and creativity,” he explained.

The forum of “Virtual and Reality, New Changes in Film Production” was held in Shanghai, June 15, 2021. /CFP

The forum of “Virtual and Reality, New Changes in Film Production” was held in Shanghai, June 15, 2021. /CFP

Wong’s idea was echoed by Ma Ping, deputy general manager of State Production of China Film Group. “We now have a good technology foundation in film-making, but we don’t have enough good stories. That’s what we should figure out in teams of developing the Chinese film industry.”

Virtual production helps artists bring Chinese culture, people’s daily lives, and family stories to the world, compared with just martial arts that were preferred previously, said director and producer Chris Bremble, also founder and CEO of Base Media.

For Chris Bremble, it’s money that always matters. “Costs are always a barrier for film production. The more money, the better effect,” he said in one of his remarks.

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