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Commercial Postproduction in China – Part One: Landscape
中国的商业化后期制作格局 - 第一章: 格局


Introduction 简介

With healthy budgets and creativity among brands and agencies on the rise, the Chinese commercial environment is ripe with opportunity and increasing numbers of postproduction studios are entering the market to capitalize. However, those companies should be aware that operating in China comes with significant challenges.

For this three part series, SHP+ interviewed a selection of China’s most experienced commercial postproduction leaders to discuss the industry in 2015 and what it takes to thrive in the China market. International or foreign-managed are dominating the market and provided our focus for the series, though we spoke with a number of Chinese practitioners and studio bosses along the way. Since SHP+ is focused on the craft and creativity in Chinese advertising, our primary interest was in postproduction for commercial projects, with movie VFX referenced primarily in its relationship with the commercial work.

Included throughout the article is a selection of examples of recent postproduction work done in China.




Part One 第一章

Landscape 格局


The Wild East 东部荒野


“In terms of procedures, how you interact with clients and the rules of the industry, China is still the Wild East. It’s a totally different market that’s still developing and finding its way.”

       – Jan Heinze, Executive Producer & COO Asia, Pixomondo Beijing


       – Jan Heinze,Pixomondo北京,亚洲区执行制片人&首席运营官

Alongside the ‘typical’ post-production services, most post houses are branching out into other lucrative opportunity-areas. This includes stepping up to meet the demand for media to fill the dozens of theme parks opening every year. The multitude of real estate developments have seen some studios move to offer architectural visualization and showroom graphics, while others are catering for the massive consumer products market with CG for TVCs and 3D still images. Live events for China’s enormous luxury goods markets, such as cars and fashion, represent a particularly big opportunity area.

现在,绝大多数后期制作公司除了提供‘典型’的后期制作服务外, 都已开始拓展其他一些更赚钱的机会领域中。他们不断地向媒体行业需求靠拢,以填补每年新开发的几十个主题公园的空缺。房地产开发发展蓬勃,因而有一些工作 室开始转向建筑可视化和展厅平面设计领域,还有一些工作室开始针对大规模消费品市场制作CG电视商业广告和3D静态影像。尤其是中国巨大的奢饰品市场的现 场活动,比如汽车和时尚行业,机会尤为巨大。



Image Unit for Jaguar event installation.  Images courtesy of Image Unit. Image Unit制作的捷豹广告。图片均由Image Unit 授权. 

It’s well known that China’s booming film industry is soon to become the biggest in the world. The growing number of companies entering the market to take advantage are mostly setting up shop in Beijing, the home of Chinese moviemaking, and tend to view commercials as stopgaps to occupy unused artists and generate quick cash. As a result, Beijing’s commercial marketplace remains relatively undeveloped.

当然,中国的电影行业欣欣向荣,很快就将成为全球最大的市场。越来越多的公司进军中国市场,抢占先机,这些公司多数都落户在中国电影之乡 – 北京,而且他们往往认为商业广告是一种权宜之计,是一种占领那些还未施展拳脚的艺术家,以及迅速赚钱的方式。相对来讲,北京的广告市场仍然不发达。

Shanghai, on the other hand, is China’s commercial heart, with the highest concentration of creative agencies, fashion and design brands. Though the government is developing Shanghai’s film industry, for most companies commercial work is the sole or predominant focus.


Unsurprisingly, the potential in Shanghai’s postproduction market has attracted major international companies to set up shop in the city over the last two years. Australian Fin Design + Effects and Oriental Post from Thailand have opened for business, Pixomondo returned with a new look creative studio and MPC added their 10th worldwide office at the beginning of 2015.  Alongside the big players, there are a growing number of boutique and freelance studios, while many production houses also now offer their own in-house postproduction service.

不出所料,上海的后期制作市场很有潜力,在过去的两年中,国际大公司纷纷被吸引,在上海设立公司。澳大利亚的Fin Design + Effects,泰国的Oriental Post已然开展业务,Pixomondo带着全新的创意工作室卷土重来,2015年年初,MPC全球第十家公司在上海成立。除了这些大公司之外,也有越来越多的精品工作室和自由工作室,而且现在很多的制作公司自身也可以提供后期制作服务。


Healthy Budgets Vs. Rising Costs 预算良好与成本攀升


One major pull factor to China is the bumper client budgets, which are still on the increase. Marcus Roth, General Manager of Image Unit and formerly Pixomondo Shanghai, confirms, “Budgets are in a very good situation, even compared to the west. The people I talk to in Hong Kong always say they don’t have the big mainland budgets like we have.”

客户充足的预算是中国主要的拉动因素,而且预算还在不断攀升。Marcus Roth此前曾是Pixomondo的总经理,现在担任Image Unit总经理,他说道,中国的算情况很好,即使同西方相比也如此。在香港时总有一些人,香港的算没有大陆这充裕

Budgets can however, be hard to ascertain, making quoting for jobs a shot in the dark. There is no clear pricing structure and often clients will ask for quotes without revealing their budget, or even a sense of time.


The flip side to the healthy budgets is the increasing costs brought about by general inflation and rising wages. China has long moved on from being the cheap outsourcing destination of old.


Moreover, the existence of tax subsidies in certain territories overseas has given visual effects companies in that market an advantage over their worldwide competition. This was a significant factor that led to Pixomondo closing a handful of offices, including Shanghai, in 2012.


BaseFX founder and CEO Chris Bremble stressed that China faces this same challenge closer to home, “If you’re just competing on price and quality, and you’re a small to mid sized Chinese studio, you’re going to get crushed by Korea. They’re cheaper and probably better.”

BaseFX创始人兼CEO Chris Bremble强调,中国也面临着邻国的冲击,如果只是在价格和量上争,同又是国内的中小型公司,那就会被挤垮国的公司不价格更低,而且量可能更好。

Do Chinese clients look outside China for postproduction work?  The truth is, a significant volume of post work is already being sent overseas. In some cases, local post companies are working simply as an aggregator, securing projects and sending the work to Korea.

那么,国内的客户是否会开始向海外寻求后期制作服务呢? 事实上,已有大量的后期制作工作发往海外。有时候,中国本地的后期制作公司仅仅是在充当整合者的角色,他们确保项目进行,把制作发给韩国制作。

For the lower budget jobs, Animation Director Brian Dowrick, in the market since 2007, suggests that clients will generally only use a domestic post house if they are content with less than world-class results, “Clients are always looking for a bargain and the quality in China is going up, but it’s still not close to matching the western studios. If the Client has the money, they normally look outside China, or they get the less complicated shots done here to even out their budget and spend the big money where it is needed.”

动画导演Brian Dowrick表示,自2007年以来,就市场上一些预算较低的项目而言,如果客户自身可以接受那些低于世界水准的制作,那他们一般只会找国内的制作公司,户总求一种价格上的平衡,然中国的制作水平越来越高,但是不能和西方制作相匹。所以,如果客钱的话,一般是会找海外的公司,或者只是把那些不那么复镜头国内的公司制作,这样可以平衡算,把大部分预算用在真正需要的地方



Cgfish for iQiyi.  Images courtesy of Cgfish.  Cgfish制作的爱奇艺广告。图片均由Cgfish授权。

For the bigger budget work, Roth suggests that the presence of international post houses in China means there is little price incentive for clients to travel overseas. “If you go to a post company in Shanghai, they will fly people in from overseas. The agency and production company going overseas wouldn’t change much in the cost structure.”

Roth表示,如果客户的预算更高一些,那就没必要为了价格跑去外国,因为有一些国外的后期制作公司在中国就有分支 。如果你去一家上海的后期制作公司,他海外的人来中国。广告公司和制作公司如果去海外的,也不会改太多的成本构。

This is where international houses have a distinct advantage over local Chinese competitors. It’s not easy for Chinese clients, with less experience dealing with international companies, to look abroad, where the mentality, business style and working process are different. Pixomondo can, as Heinze puts it, provide a convenient “gate to the world, but the clients don’t have to control it.” For the post house itself, the benefits are obvious – scalability and the ability to meet specialized skill requirements with talent at other facilities worldwide.

这正是国外制作公司同中国本土制作公司相比所具有的独特竞争优势。对于那些没太和国外公司打过交道的中国客户,他们不愿意去国外找制作公司,因为国外的思维方式,经营方式和工作流程都跟他们自身不同。正如Pixomondo亚洲区首席运营官Jan Heinze所说,Pixomondo可以给客户打开一扇便利的通往世界的大,但是客又不用去控制它。就后期制作公司自身而言,好处也很明显 – 由于他们在全球各地都有人才,他们可以不断扩充,也有能力满足特定技能的要求。

Furthermore, personal contact is a key factor in keeping local clients working with them.  As Bremble outlines, domestic clients like “the tangibility of walking into our Beijing office, seeing the work being done, talking to the artists, engaging us and being able to affect the outcome. Our local clients are very hands on and want to interact with the talent.”


Heinze agrees, “Our work is all about communication, understanding each other, producing work mostly for this market. In that sense, we have a big advantage producing it in China.”


Is there a danger that the growing number of companies undercut each other on price? With an abundance of work to go around, company leaders seem unfazed. Each of the high-end houses is sufficiently confident in their quality offering that competition is not a concern. Rather, those interviewed unanimously agreed that competition of genuine quality is positive, as it will raise the general level of the domestic industry. Roth explains, “I’m very happy that the big names are here. It means more clients will consider doing something locally in Shanghai rather than going somewhere else, which develops the demand and the supply side.”


It will, Heinze suggests, give rise to companies pushing themselves to achieve excellence, “If there are more companies who value quality and produce great work, that’s a great thing for a market. It pushes us all.”


Creativity & Craft 创意与手


China’s creative industries are an exciting place to be in 2015. With the atmosphere frequently compared with that of New York in the 1960s, there is vibrancy within the arts and industry, particularly amongst advertising agencies.

2015年,中国的创新产业振奋人心。人们经常会把上海的氛围和20世纪60年代的纽约进行对比,艺术和工业领域充满活力,广告行业尤为突出 。

Unlike a decade ago, where products in a free-spending and relatively uncompetitive market sold regardless of how well they were marketed, brands have recently had to up their game. The need to stand out has necessitated smarter creative ideas and clients being more strategic with their resources.


“Brands are changing from saying ‘I have to produce something’ to ‘I have to produce something that’s better than my competitors’ says Heinze, “ The international brands and some Chinese companies are really starting to appreciate this and hiring people who have an understanding for design, advertising and marketing.”


Creatives in the business are relishing this new era. Steven Marolho, General Manager of MPC Shanghai, explains, “Everyone is being challenged to deliver inspiring work. Directors, creatives and artists are all enjoying the process much more. That’s a welcome change. Good work propagates good work, so as the bar goes up, we can expect a higher level of execution to become the norm.”

业界的创意人员品味着全新的时代。 MPC上海总经理Steven Marolho解释说,每个人都在接受着挑,如何作出鼓舞人心的作品演、意人艺术家都更享受工作程。是一种受人迎的转变一部好的作品繁衍出更多好的作品,随着提升,我的期待也更高,这是自然而然的事情。



MPC Shanghai for Coca Cola. Read about how MPC Shanghai created the T-Rex for Coca Cola here.  Images courtesy of MPC.


 It is only recently that the quality level in China’s advertising industry has markedly improved. For a long time the much-discussed stereotypes were all too true. Uninspired work gave rise to unoriginal output, even direct copycat Chinese versions of western commercials. Storytelling was lazy and the visual effects fell short of international standards. Through it all was a feeling that it didn’t really matter anyway, since the audience was relatively unsophisticated.


In recent years however, with access to the internet and video sharing sites becoming almost universal nationwide, and the rapid growth of cinema screens across all tiers of city, the Chinese consumer is being increasingly exposed to the best that Hollywood visual effects and international commercial production has to offer. Tastes are gradually becoming more sophisticated and with it there is a greater expectation of quality. Marolho explains that, “It’s changed enormously. We always used to hear ‘but it’s China’, but now there are fewer separations between an international and a China commercial. It’s more about staying on-brand than trying to appease a particular market.”


For the luxury goods especially, client expectations of quality are higher than ever, seeing them place more value on high-end postproduction and allocating budget accordingly to match the front-end investment.


There is still a key distinction to be made between the major cities and the rural areas though, with different levels of aesthetic experience and expectation between the major east coast cities and vast swathes of the rest of China. Achieving a world-class standard across the country is unrealistic, even unnecessary for most clients. Dowrick believes ambition among many studios is still only to reach a ‘China standard’, “They have a borderline cusp where they try to get really close to a western standard but they don’t quite make it and they’re comfortable with that.”  



Post Production Office for Nissan. Images courtesy of Post Production Office.  PO朝霆制作的日产广告. 图片均由PO授权.


Post Production Office for Canon. Images courtesy of Post Production Office.  PO朝霆制作的佳能广告. 图片均由PO授权. 


Post Production Office for JMC.  Images courtesy of Post Production Office.  PO朝霆制作的江铃汽车广告. 图片均由PO授权. 

There are still creative hurdles to overcome, including the enduring, dreaded copycats commercials. Phenom Films Creative Director Sam Khorshid explains, “Directors come in, show me another commercial and just say ‘we want this’”.

做创意的时候,还有一些障碍要克服,包括那些持久又令人恐惧的山寨广告。天工异彩影视的创意总监Sam Khorshid解释说,“导演找到我,给我看一则广告,然后告诉我说‘我就想要这样的’”

Moreover, there often remains a tendency toward VFX in place of good ideas or storytelling, “Sometimes VFX are used to make up the gaps but when the idea isn’t clear you can’t hide behind it” says Marolho, “For us that’s a big challenge.”


The sheer size and unpredictability of the Chinese consumer base means that for all the creative zeal, the risk associated with a radical new campaign is magnified, leading to a cautious tempering of ambition. Many studios agreed that there remains a kind of blueprint that must be followed, especially for the car TVC market.


It’s here that world-class international post houses can play an important role in inspiring confidence that amazing results can be achieved, emboldening clients and agencies to strive for more audacious campaigns.

在这里,世界级和国际化的后期制作公司可以发挥重要的作用,他们可以鼓舞人们的信心, 让人们相信他们可以做出很棒的制作,让客户和公司更大胆,在做广告时更加无所畏惧。



 Cgfish for Tencent.  Images courtesy of Cgfish.  Cgfish制作的腾讯广告. 图片均由Cgfish授权.


Cgfish for BMW.  Images courtesy of Cgfish.  Cgfish制作的宝马广告.  图片均由Cgfish授权.


Commercial Postproduction in China, Part Two: The China Schedule, exploring the unique challenges associated with working with Chinese clients.


Contributors 参与者


Jan HeinzeJan Heinze

Executive Producer & COO Asia, Pixomondo | Pixomondo 亚洲区执行制片人兼首席运营官

Jan Heinze joined Pixomondo in Germany in 2000 and played a key role in the establishment of their Beijing studio in 2009.  He has since been undertaking strategic and operational management for the company in Asia, with a focus on the Chinese market, taking on roles including business development, facility development and integration, project management and intercultural communication.

Jan Heinze于2000年加入Pixomondo德国工作室,并且是促成2009年北京工作室成立的关键力量。此后便一直负责亚洲区的战略与运营管理,其主要工作重点是针对中国市场,承担的责任包括:商业开发、设备开发和集成、项目管理和跨文化沟通。

Pixomondo is an international creative design, media production and visual effects studio, best known for award-winning visual effects work. The company maintains a diversified portfolio of business activities including corporate communication, interactive digital content, live events, theme park entertainment experiences and original IP. Pixomondo China operates in Beijing and Shanghai to serve the domestic film, entertainment and advertisement industry.



Brian Dowrick

Brian Dowrick

Animation Director & VFX Supervisor动画导演兼视效总监

Brian Dowrick has twenty years animation experience, including twelve years with Rhythm & Hues and almost ten in China, during which time he has run his own training school and led animation departments for five studios in Beijing.

Brian Dowrick在动画行业已有20年的从业经验,曾在Rhythm & Hues工作过12年,而且在中国待过近10年,在此期间,他还开办了自己的培训学校,而且在北京担任五家工作室的动画部门负责人。


Chen GangChen Gang 陈刚

Founder & Director, Cgfish BeijingCgfish北京创始人、总监

Chen Gang is a VFX artist, director and producer with over ten years experience, entirely in the China market. He founded Cgfish in 2003.


Cgfish is a Beijing company founded in 2003, offering high-end animation and visual effects work for commercials, events and television.


Chris BrembleChris Bremble

Founder & CEO, Base FX Base FX创始人兼首席执行官

Chris Bremble founded BaseFX in 2006 in Beijing and has since guided the company to create visual effects for over 150 movies and television series from both Hollywood and China.

Chris Bremble自2003年起来到中国,并于2006年在北京创建BaseFX,此后,他带领公司为好莱坞和中国打造了150多部影视作品的视觉特效。

BaseFX is an award-winning high-end visual effects company with offices in Beijing, Wuxi and Xiamen serving the film, television and commercial industries, with 450 full time artists and staff. The company has struck up a strategic alliance with Hollywood visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and content agreements with Tencent.



Steven MarolhoSteven Marolho

General Manager, MPC Shanghai MPC上海总经理

Steven Marolho has been executive producing visual effects for over ten years, first coming to China in 2009 as EP for Smoke & Mirrors before joining Technicolor in 2012. He has been General Manager for MPC Shanghai since they opened for business in January 2015.

Steven Marolho十多年来一直担任视觉特效制作的高管,2009年他来到中国,最初担任的是Smoke & Mirrors的执行制片人,后于2012年加入特艺。自2015年1月MPC上海工作室创立以来,他便一直担任总经理。

MPC, a Technicolor company, has consistently won the highest industry awards for both their commercial and feature film work, having a hand in numerous household-name blockbusters.  Headquartered in London, the company has facilities in ten locations worldwide, most recently opening a studio in Shanghai.



Marcus RothMarcus Roth

General Manager, Image Unit Image Unit(上海)总经理

Marcus Roth has been managing VFX and visual production studios for over 25 years. He has over ten years experience in China, including four years as General Manager of Pixomondo Shanghai before co-founding Image Unit in 2013.

Marcus Roth有着超过25年的视觉特效和视觉制作工作室的管理经验。在中国也有着10多年的经验,其中有四年担任Pixomondo上海总经理,之后在2013年与人共同创立了Image Unit。

Image Unit focuses on visual design, high-end CGI and visualization located in Shanghai, serving clients in China and around the world. The company has just opened a facility in Stuttgart to serve their German clients.

Image Unit位于上海,专注于视觉设计、高端CGI和可视化业务,服务对象包括中国客户和全球客户。该公司近期又在德国斯图加特创立了工作室,从而可以为德国客户提供服务。


Amanda WuAmanda Wu

General Manager, Post Production Office (PO) | PO朝霆总经理

Amanda Wu is a Shanghai native with ten years experience in marketing and project management positions including four as General Manager of Post Production Office Group.

Amanda Wu是上海人,有着十年的市场营销和项目管理经验,其中有四年是担任PO朝霆集团的总经理。

Post Production Office (PO) is one of Asia’s largest and longest running postproduction companies offering CG, visual effects, offline and online editing through to color grading for commercials, television and film. Established in 2003 in Hong Kong, the company has since expanded to offices in Shanghai and Beijing, recently adding two more in Hangzhou and Taiwan.



Sam KhorshidSam Khorshid

VFX Supervisor & Creative Director, Phenom Films |天工异彩视效总监兼创意总监

Sam Khorshid has spent 15 years in the entertainment industry, including five in China, working in feature film, commercials, television, ride films and games. He has worked on such feature films as 2012, Alice in Wonderland, Iron man, and Kung Fu epic Flying swords of Dragon Gate Inn.

Sam Khorshid在娱乐产业已有15年的经验,其中还包括在中国工作的5年,他的业务领域包括电影广告、电视、动感电影和游戏。参与的影片包括《2012》、《爱丽斯梦游仙境》、《钢铁侠》,以及功夫片《龙门飞甲》。


Wayne EnglandWayne England

Creative Director, Ride Film & Commercials Director, VFX Supervisor & Producer, Phenom Films | 天工异彩创意总监、动感电影与广告总监、视效总监兼制片人

Wayne England is a CG and VFX artist with over 20 years industry experience, now serving as Creative Director, Ride Film & Commercials Director, VFX Supervisor and Producer for Phenom Films, moving between Beijing and Los Angeles.

Wayne England是一位CG和特效艺术家,已有20多年的从业经验,现任天工异彩的创意总监,同时还是动感电影与广告总监,视效总监兼制片人,他经常往返于北京和洛杉矶之间。

Phenom Films, based in both Beijing and Los Angeles, is the largest privately owned production company in China. The studio offers a complete start to finish post production solution including award winning VFX operations for major motion pictures, commercials and game cinematics. Phenom also specializes in stereo interactive ride films and immersive themed installations.


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