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Visualizing the future

By Liu Wei  (China Daily)

09:16, May 25, 2012

Christopher Bremble was texting a friend at the Emmy Award Ceremony in 2010. His company worked on the visual effects of the fifth episode of HBO's miniseries The Pacific. He'd never imagined he'd win, because he was up against the show's pilot, and pilots usually take the top spot.

"We didn't " he was about to text "win" when someone lifted him out of his chair and said: "That's you."

"Next thing I knew was I texted walking along the aisle, 'no, we win, we win'," Bremble recalls in his Beijing office.

The 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special went to his company, Base FX, a team of about 230 people, all but 10 of whom are Chinese. It was the first time a Chinese team won an Emmy. But the glorious scene might be repeated.

At the 84th Academy Awards earlier this year, Martin Scorsese's first 3D film, Hugo, took home the awards for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Visual Effects, Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. Behind Hugo's dazzling portrayal of old Paris is Pixomondo, a global visual effects company with Beijing and Shanghai offices.

China has been working hard to increase its global soft power. While Chinese films rarely enter Hollywood's mainstream cinema scene, Chinese specialists of CG, animation and 3D technology have been involved in such Hollywood blockbusters as Mission: Impossible, Super 8 and Spider-Man.

The overwhelming majority of Pixomondo's Beijing and Shanghai office employees is Chinese. Ten of its 12 global facilities worked on more than 800 shots on Hugo. The Chinese teams took over a substantial part of the work.


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