×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chinese Cinema: Base FX’s Effects Exception

Beijing vfx studio stands apart from its local rivals

China has yet to establish much of a visual effects industry built on quality of work. Indeed most Chinese filmmakers tend to use Thai or Korean shops, as their graphics are better than those from China’s vfx companies but not as pricey as the top-end effects from the U.S., Europe or Australia/New Zealand.

One notable exception to the mediocrity of Chinese vfx has been Base FX, a Beijing-based digital effects house set up in 2006 with the aim of serving both Hollywood and the local Chinese and Asian industries.

As a mark of its difference, Base FX has collected a couple of Emmys (for “The Pacific” and “Boardwalk Empire”) and 15 months ago struck a strategic partnership with Industrial Light & Magic. The deal, which was renewed and expanded in April, gives ILM/Lucasfilm guaranteed scale and capacity in China. It also guarantees Base FX a certain amount of prestigious film-related work each year.

Under ILM supervision, the company has worked on “G.I. Joe: Retaliation,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” and “The Lone Ranger.” Most recently it supplied 350 shots for “Pacific Rim” and it is set to be a key part of “Star Wars: Episode VII.” U.S. TV work includes effects for Starz’s “Black Sails” and HBO’s “True Detectives.”

In the past year, the company has leaped forward in other ways too. It has tripled its revenues, increased its staff from 210 to some 300, and is now building a clone operation at a former steel mill site in Wuxi, near Shanghai. Though there may be some file sharing, the company intends to have two separate teams that work on their own projects.

As the Chinese film industry matures Base FX is attracting more local commissions. Even with the ILM work, founder Christopher Bremble says, the proportion of Hollywood-sourced work has dropped from 70% a couple of years ago to less than half now. Local filmmakers using Base FX include Lu Chuan (“The Last Supper”) and Zhang Yimou (“The Flowers of War”), while producer clients include Bill Kong’s Edko and production giant Wanda Media.

The company has also recently been chosen to produce a live-action car-racing film for the core of one of the “dark rides” Wanda is building into its theme parks.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Sully

    Georgia Attorney General Closes Probe of 'Sully' Tax Credits

    The Georgia attorney general’s office has closed a criminal investigation into Warner Bros.’ use of tax credits on the Clint Eastwood film “Sully,” after state revenue agents declined to pursue the case. The state prosecutor’s office opened a criminal probe two years ago, after a whistleblower alleged that the production had claimed more than $600,000 [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify VP Paul Vogel Talks Subscription Prices, Label Licenses, Podcasts

    The annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference gives representatives from major companies the opportunity to present to the investment community, and Paul Vogel, Spotify’s VP and head of financial planning & analysis, treasury and investor relations, spoke on the streaming giant’s behalf on Tuesday morning. While many of his comments were statements frequently heard in the [...]

  • Women in Animation Logo

    WIA Partners With Animation Mentor, Toon Boom to Expand Scholarship Program

    Women in Animation has partnered with Animation Mentor and Toon Boom to expand the organization’s WIA Scholarship Program with workshops and software packages. WIA scholarships are given to animation students with a financial need and who demonstrate talent and passion for animation that will lead to a promising career in the field. The Animation Mentor [...]

  • Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions

    Def Jam, Astralwerks Launch Label Divisions in South East Asia

    Universal Music Group today announced what it calls a significant expansion of its recorded music operations across South East Asia with the launch of two new label divisions: Def Jam South East Asia, to focus on the hip-hop scene within the region, and Astralwerks Asia, a label “with a true focus on nurturing talent within Asia across [...]

  • Bob Bakish Viacom CEO

    ViacomCBS Leaders Talk NFL Negotiations, Streaming Wars and Merger Focus

    Viacom and CBS aim to prosper in the streaming arena by covering both ends of the marketplace, blending Viacom’s focus on ad-supported platforms with CBS’ strong head start on subscribers for CBS All Access and Showtime. ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish and incoming ViacomCBS chief financial officer Christina Spade outlined the combined company’s vision for how [...]

  • Spotify

    Spotify Dismisses Amazon’s High-Definition Audio: ‘It’s Not a Big Differentiator’

    At the moment Amazon Music launched its new high-definition audio service on Tuesday morning, which it says offers the best streaming audio fidelity available, Spotify VP and head of investor relations Paul Vogel was speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communicopia conference in Lower Manhattan. While Tidal and Deezer have long offered a high-fidelity service and Apple [...]

  • Randall Stephenson

    AT&T CEO Defends WarnerMedia Strategy, Addresses Activist Investor's Letter

    AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson defended the $85 billion deal for Time Warner as the right strategy for the company in response to criticism from an activist investor. Consumers are watching more content and more of that viewing is digital, so combining a telecommunications company like AT&T with a content powerhouse like WarnerMedia is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content