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Commercial Postproduction in China – Part Two: Clients
中国的商业化后期制作格局 - 第二章:客户篇


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.


SHP+采访了一些在中国最富有经验的商业后期制作公司的领袖,探讨2015年后期制作产业的格局以及如何能够在中国市场蓬勃发展,我们将文章分为 三部分呈现给大家。虽然我们也采访了一些中国的从业人员和工作室老板,但这次讨论的一系列重点均来自于国际公司或是外国人管理的公司,因为他们是中国市场 的主导者。SHP+关注的重点是中国广告业的技巧和创意,主要感兴趣的是商业项目的后期制作,同时也探讨了电影特效和商业作品之间的主要关系。


Part Two 第二章


Clients 客户篇


“Schedules tend to be arbitrary. You look at the project and think ‘you want to do all of this in that amount of time?!”

– Wayne England, Creative Director, VFX Supervisor & Producer, Phenom Films


– Wayne England,天工异彩影视创意总监、视效总监兼制片人

Highly demanding postproduction scheduling, referred to as the ‘China schedule’ by studio bosses, remains a major challenge of operating in China. MPC Shanghai GM Steven Marolho explains, “It’s a constant that schedules are either unrealistic or formulaic in nature, one week, small job; two weeks, middle job; big job three to three-and-a-half weeks. Too often schedules are not based on the actual post workload required. Then, when you do get longer post time, the job expectations are so big and crazy that you’re faced with exactly the same situation.”

高度紧张的后期制作日程通常被制作公司的老板称为‘中国式制作日程’,这一点仍旧是在中国开展业务面临的重大挑战。MPC上海总经理Steven Marolho解释说,如果是小型目,客和制作公司定的日程是一周完成;中型目的,两周完成;大型目的,三周到三周半完成。如果目非常复,那可就有得做了。偶也会你两三个月的时间,但通常都是那些工程量巨大,令人抓狂的目,多你点时间,是你心里更有底。


Fin Design + Effects for Adidas.  Images courtesy of Fin Design + Effects | Fin Design + Effects制作的阿迪达斯广告。片由Fin Design + Effects提供


Fin Design + Effects for Nike | Fin Design + Effects制作的耐克广告


Fin Design + Effects for Mercedes | Fin Design + Effects制作的奔驰汽车广告

Inexperience & Expectations 经验不足&期望过


Part of the reason may be that China’s visual effects industry was virtually non-existent until the turn of the century. The majority of local production company producers, not to mention agency and client planners, are relatively new to the business and few understand the complex process of creating visual effects.


This inexperience, coupled with stuttering communication between production company, agency, client and post house has been and continues to be felt in the scheduling of commercial production.


Clients enter into projects with unrealistic expectations for what can be achieved within the timeframe, often providing Hollywood blockbuster effects as reference and expecting a similar outcome in less than a month. Typically the post house will not have been brought in early enough to provide extra guidance.


Once the post house is involved in the process, a crucial challenge is managing expectations while maintaining client enthusiasm. Studios must be especially smart about when to show clients work in progress. Show it too early and inexperienced clients can panic that it doesn’t appear finished. Show it too late however, and posthouses leave themselves open for clients to demand big, unrealistic changes that are impossible at that advanced stage.


Sam Khorshid, VFX Supervisor for Phenom Films believes the Chinese commercial industry will only truly compete on the world stage once experience amongst client, agency and production company planners improves, “90% of VFX artists here are as good as the guys in LA, but if the planning isn’t solid, if the budget or the time to execute isn’t enough it’s never going reach that same level of quality.”

天工异彩视效总监Sam Khorshid认为,只有当客户、广告机构、制作公司策划者之间积累更多经验的时候,中国的广告行业才能真正地在世界舞台上竞争,国内90%的特效跟洛杉水平相当,但是如果划做的不牢固,算和时间都不足的,那作品永也达不到人家一的水平。


Image Unit for Mercedes.  Images courtesy of Image Unit. | Image Unit制作的奔驰汽车广告。片由Image Unit提供。



Image Unit for Mazda | Image Unit制作的马自达汽车广告


Indecision & Revisions 犹豫不决&反复修改


Contributing to the problem is the notorious difficulty in having clients make decisions. This may be attributed to the hierarchical structure of most Chinese companies, whereby all decisions, no matter how minor, must pass through a complex approval process by individuals at each level of the company, before being ratified by one company leader.   Marcus Roth, GM of Shanghai’s Image Unit, outlined the issue, “It’s very unclear who can make a decision. You usually you don’t have a single responsible person to sign off designs or production steps so you can proceed. It’s always a group of people. Often people within the group actually change during the process.”

客户做决定时异常艰难,这一点是人尽皆知的,这也是问题的原因之一。这可能是由于多数中国公司都存在人事等级制度,所有决策,无论大小,都要经过公司每个级别领导的复杂审批流程,最后还要有公司大领导的批准。上海Image Unit的总经理Marcus Roth列出了这个问题,到底由来做决定往往不是很清晰。通常都不是由一个人来批准某项设计或是制作步致无法推到下一步,通常都是一几个人做决定。有时候还中途换人。

As a result, campaigns often spend excessive time in discussion and ideas remain unclear in preproduction, leaving insufficient time for production and post. “Procrastination on decision-making hurts the production schedule,” explains Marolho, “We can’t afford to throw six people at a task for a week, only to later find it was a waste of time. The budgets aren’t there for that sort of trial and error. You need an approval as only then can you move on with confidence.”

由此就导致了大量的时间花费在讨论上,前期制作期间概念还没敲定,所以制作和后期没有足够多的时间。做决策的拖拖拉拉耽了制作日程, Marolho解释说,不能先把六个人扔到一个目上做了一周,然后发现白白浪时间,我承担不起这样的代价。根本没有这样反复尝试,犯再改。相反,如果事先想法就批,我就会充满信心向前推进。

The outcome is intense time pressure. Traditionally, posthouses have born the brunt of the poor scheduling and procrastination. Particularly demanding for foreign post houses is local production companies blocking weekends as post workdays. Chinese production companies often prefer to work with Chinese post houses that are more amenable and accepting of unpaid overtime caused by poor planning.

这样就导致了时间紧迫,压力很大。按照传统,后期制作公司会想办法弥补制作周期不足还有拖拖拉拉带来的后果。对国外的后期制作公司来说,比较苛刻的是,国内的制作公司把周末也变成了后期制作的工作日。这样,国内的制作公司往往跟愿意找国内的后期制作公司合作 – 因为他们比较灵活,虽然前期规划不当,但是他们愿意额外加班,却又不拿薪水。



MPC Shanghai for Chang’An.  Images courtesy of MPC | MPC上海制作的长安汽车广告。片由MPC提供

Then there is the notorious whirlpool of endless, unpaid revisions and pushed deadlines. Roth explained, “you cannot prevent the problem of ongoing revisions without additional payments. If we say we won’t go on revising and demand that the client pays, the client will just not make the last payment.”


One experienced VFX Supervisor (who preferred to remain unnamed) spoke in no uncertain terms about the problem, “Chinese clients say ‘I only have 100 shots and I have 1 million RMB.’ But later the 100 shots will turn into 200 and eventually 400. But the one million RMB budget will have shrunk to 600,000RMB. That’s guaranteed to occur with Chinese clients, even when they are good friends.”


The reasons this is a standard business practice in China are manifold, but a key contributor is that clients often do not know what they want until they see it. Decisions come too late in production, if at all. Again, this is born out of the relative inexperience of brand marketers working in advertising production, and a general unfamiliarity with the creation process. Often compounding the problem is production companies failing to properly communicate the necessary schedule or stand up to the client in the face of their constant indecision.

为什么这样的处事方式成了中国的标准,原因有多重,但是关键因素是客户往往都不知道自己想要什么,除非他们看到了最终做出来的东西。制作中决策姗姗来迟 – 如果真有决策的话。这是由于品牌营销者在广告制作方面的经验相对不足造成的,一般他们对创作过程也不熟悉。而制作公司又不能正确地将必要的制作日程传达给客户,面对客户经常性的犹豫不决无法对抗,这些原因又使得问题更加恶化。



BaseFX for ThinkPad. Images courtesy of BaseFX | BaseFX 制作的ThinkPad广告。片由BaseFX提供


BaseFX for Vodafone  |  BaseFX制作的沃达广告

Roth explained that usually clients would rather accept lower quality than allow higher budget, “even if the budget is sufficient, they start revising at a late stage. You tell them it’s not possible to achieve the higher quality at that stage; there’s not enough render time or there will be compromises elsewhere, but they will accept that only to be able to constantly revise.”


Khorshid explained how Phenom fights against the dreaded late changes, “We protect ourselves by creating what I call ‘visual contracts’. They are dated, sent back and forth, we get confirmation from everybody on their side and get it involved in the contract. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but in general it has helped a lot.” Exhibition work is particularly preferable for post houses because the fixed date for the show makes endless revisions impossible.


To compound the frustration, Chinese clients are not noted for their loyalty to service providers. With a high turnover of staff within client companies, studios need to constantly work on relationship management. One key individual moving company can result in a lost client. Moreover, clients usually require the post house to pitch for every project, rather than rewarding a job well done with the next contract. Roth suggests this can catch foreign companies off-guard, “Companies entering the market are sometimes willing to lose money on jobs because they think the client will come back next time, but it doesn’t work like that.”


Clients in China demand a greater degree of control and influence than they do in western markets, and all stages of production in the chain are subject to their whims. One of the most dangerous manifestations of their power is the common situation of payments being withheld for a year or more.


China is not a market to enter into lightly.   It is therefore crucial to invest locally – in infrastructure, staff and building relationships – and have the flexibility to ride out the storms. Establishing a front office and planning to execute work through other studios worldwide is an extremely risky business model. Marolho puts it bluntly, “When you’re at the whims of people on the other side of the world, you’re not in control, and people don’t want to give their projects to people who aren’t in control. You need to have the potential to finish what you started in that shop, without Internet connectivity and time-zone reliance. There are only so many times you can say ‘we’re going to have to wait until he wakes up’. Clients don’t have that level of patience.” A number of international players have come and gone, having fallen prey to this misguided strategy.

打入中国市场并不容易。因此在本地进行投资非常重要 – 投资基础设施、人员、疏通关系 – 而且要灵活应变以便能够安然度过难关。在这设立一间办公室,把执行工作放到世界各地的工作室来完成,这是一种风险极高的商业模式。Marolho直言不讳,“如果你要受到世界另一端的人的随意摆弄,那事情就不在你的掌控之中,而且人们都不愿意把项目交给那些他们管控不了的人手中。工作一旦做起来就应该可以在本地完成,不用上网联系其他人,还要考虑时差。你不能总是说‘我们可以等他睡醒了再说’。客户可没那么有耐心。”很多国际公司来了又撤出,因为他们受到了这种战略的误导。



Post Production Office for Red Bull.  Images courtesy of Red Bull | PO朝霆制作的牛广告。片由牛提供


Positive Evolution 积极的


In spite of the difficulties, there is a general feeling that things are getting better. Pixomondo Beijing EP and Asia COO Jan Heinze, summed up, “It’s changing rapidly. It’s exciting to see the development in such a short timeframe, to see how much our clients improved.”

虽然困难重重,但是整体而言情况还是越来越好。Pixomondo北京执行制片人兼亚洲区首席运营官Jan Heinze概括说,情况化迅速。我很高地看到在么短的时间生了么多变化,客户也在不断改进。

The manner in which production companies handle projects is improving with clients becoming more respectful of the fact that they need to pay for extra work. The notoriously long China working days and weekend are coming more into line with international standard ten-hour working days. Roth outlined the change, “If [clients] make a schedule, and it’s totally unrealistic, you can tell them and they accept it. They are more flexible, at least in the early stages.”


International post houses are playing their role in the evolution, bringing experience and expertise, acting in some cases as creative partners to agencies and brands, to help educate, inspire and plan from an earlier stage in the process.


Heinze explained how this model differs from the studio-client relationship in the US, “Here we are much more involved and have way more influence. Clients come to us for creative solutions and to learn the processes. We complement them with our skills. They notify us early if they have initial ideas. If it hasn’t been done before, they ask ‘can we do that?’ and we try to work out with them how. We’re happy to consult, even if it’s for free. Clients really value it if you can help them to push ideas further.”


The more world-class work post houses can help execute, the more examples they will have to show, giving clients an idea in advance of what they are looking for. Marolho explains, “When people see it they say, ‘great, we love that, we want that’ and we can explain how we did it.”



Pixomondo for Zihua.  Images courtesy of Pixomondo | Pixomondo制作的自化意广告。片由Pixomondo提供


The final installment, Commercial Postproduction in China, Part Three: Talent, investigating the artist shortage ‘crisis’ and manifold resulting issues, is coming next week.



Commercial Postproduction in China – Part One: Landscape

中国的商业化后期制作格局 - 第一个部分: 格局

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.

Pixomondo是一家集合了创意设计、媒体制作和视觉特效的国际化工作室,最为人熟知的当属其视觉特效获奖 作品了。公司业务涵盖了多种多样的商业活动,包括企业传播、交互式数字内容、现场活动、主题公园娱乐体验以及原创IP。Pixomondo中国在北京和上 海均设有工作室,旨在为中国的电影、娱乐以及广告行业提供服务。


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.



BillyBecket2Billy Becket

Managing Director & Executive Producer, Fin Design + Effects, Shanghai | Fin Design + Effects上海 总经&执行制片

Billy Becket has been the Managing Director of Fin Design + Effects Shanghai since the office opened in September, 2014.  Originally from New York, Billy was a producer for some of San Francisco’s top ad agencies prior to joining the Fin’s Sydney team in 2005.

Fin Design + Effects上海办公室自2014年9月成立以来,Billy Becket就开始担任总经理。Billy来自于纽约,此前曾在几家旧金山的顶级广告机构担任制片人,后于2005年加入Fin Design + Effects悉尼公司。

Fin Design + Effects is a boutique design and VFX house based in Surry Hills, Sydney and Shanghai, China. Established in 2001, Fin is home to Australia’s most highly awarded, close-knit team of VFX artists, designers and producers.

Fin Design + Effects是一家精品设计及视效公司,在悉尼Surry Hills和上海均有办公室。该公司于2001年成立,很多在澳大利亚获得过最高奖项的视效师、设计师和制片人都在此任职,团队紧凑有致。


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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