Hollywood filmmakers promote previsualization on Chinese films
International visual effects experts have recently gathered at the Beijing International Film Festival, promoting an application of high-quality Previsualization on Chinese films.
They claim the function to visualize complex scenes in a movie before filming may help Chinese filmmakers better develop and plan large-scale scenes.
Chris Edwards is the founder and CEO of The Third Floor, the world's leading visualization studio.
"Today at the Beijing International Film Festival, I'm honored to be here, because we are talking about some of the misconceptions about my craft, Pre-vis and Post-Vis. The work that we do to support filmmakers in the West is often thought of as just as luxury skills applied to James Cameron movies and Steven Spielberg movies. But this is totally not true. We work in small teams. We're just about the expertise that's applied to bring these visions to life. A little bit of money that is spent up front on Pre-vis can really save you tons of time on set, like you're building a digital blueprint for your movie."
The Third Floor started out in 2004, and now it has grown into a global company, participating in the previsualization of production for a number of blockbusters, including "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "Wonder Woman," and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."
Movie poster of 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'. The Third Floor, the world's leading visualization studio, participated in the previsualization of production for a number of blockbusters, including "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "Wonder Woman," and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." [Photo: IC]
Chris Edwards says he has cooperated with Chinese filmmakers for over a decade. His partners include acclaimed director Zhang Yimou. But he says he wants to further expand his involvement in the Chinese film industry.
In order to further explore the Chinese market, he is now seeking help from his frequent collaborator, John Dietz, CEO of Bangbang Pictures.
Like Chris Edwards, Dietz has been working on visual effects on Hollywood films for 25 years. His credits include the "Harry Potter" and the "Wolverine" franchises, among other.
Eight years ago, he started working on Chinese films; three years later, he moved to China.
Three and a half years ago, he founded Bangbang Pictures, which provides access to high-quality visual effects for Chinese films.
Also, he understands very well how The Third Floor could help Chinese films obtain high-quality visual effects via previsualization.
"So, when you making a Chinese film, it needs to relate to Chinese audiences; it needs to relate to the culture and the stories that the audiences want to hear. But at the same time, we are trying to do big blockbuster feelings, set pieces and action in v-effects. So getting those two things together is a very difficult task for people without experience. So, if you can engage really high-quality pre-vis people, they can help the Chinese directors to actually understand the tone of those big action films. So there's a real, heavy creative aspect to the Pre-vis that helps the filmmakers to do something that feels Western but at the same time, is relatable to China."
Chris Edwards is very optimistic that their technology would generate much interest and enthusiasm among Chinese filmmakers.
Edwards says he would launch an office in China by the end of this year, in addition to his company's offices in Los Angeles and London.
"And now we're working on an even more ambitious project for the next generation of filmmakers here in China. We're dreaming big, and we're here to support everyone with all of our Western expertise. But we have a China-centric philosophy. We are here to birth the next generation of filmmakers and their best projects, so that they can be global hits all around the world. And this begins with an understanding of the technology, but what I'm bringing is the process that we use to build a big Marvel movie, to build a 'Star Wars' movie. This can be applied to a truly Eastern story. And we can make a wonderful future together for the Chinese film industry."
Hollywood studios are relying more and more on previsualization, as the cost of movies escalates with increasingly elaborate digital effects. However, previsualization is seldom employed in Chinese filmmaking.