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image unit Presents Its 3InFocus
image unit作品三部曲



The visual quality of commercial work made for the China market is increasingly impressive, due in part to more collaborative and creative relationships in the production process.  To celebrate the positive evolution, SHP+ presents 3InFocus a series in which China-based postproduction companies showcase three recent projects of which they are particularly proud.


image unit

Marcus Roth来中国已有十多年了,他现在是image unit公司联合创始人兼总经理,他对自己给公司的精细定位很满意。“最初我们只是想做一家小而精的工作室,不想每个项目都接,只想做那些真在不错的项目。”

After more than a decade in China, image unit co-founder and general manger Marcus Roth is comfortable in the niche he has carved for his company. “From the beginning our plan was to stay as a small, boutique-like shop. We don’t want to do every project.  I’d rather just make the really nice ones.”  

img_5123Image Unit联合创始人兼总经理Marcus Roth | Marcus Roth, Co-founder and General Manager of Image Unit

积累了十年的经验之后,2013年Roth在上海成立了image unit公司,致力于为现场活动打造高端视频内容,专注于复杂的CGI,为中国市场的国际客户提供服务。公司70%的项目都是汽车和贸易展会的视频,而且也越来越注重大型建筑项目的展厅展示。此外,公司还涉猎产品可视化和3D效果呈现,其中就包括手机、电脑、咖啡机广告和印刷品等等。

A ten-year China veteran, Roth founded image unit in Shanghai in 2013 to create high-end video content for live events, with a focus on complex CGI, working with international clients for the China market.  About 70% of the work is video content for car events and trade fairs, with an increasingly important focus on showrooms of major architectural projects.  The third area is visualizations and 3D builds for products like mobile phones, laptops and coffee machines for TVCs and print.

但image unit也不是什么都做 –他们没有制作,不做调色,不做剪辑,也不做线上。Roth对虚拟现实没什么兴趣,对主题公园的也只是三分钟热度。但是一旦做起什么,他们就会努力做到无懈可击。

image unit don’t do everything – no production, nor color grading, editing or online.  Roth is not fussed about VR, and theme parks present only a passing interest.  But what they do, they strive to do to an impeccable standard.


Roth来自德国斯图加特,1994年,他跟人合作创立了MACKEVISION公司,专做CGI和后期,此后12年,他一直在德国担任公司CEO,2005年,上海工作室成立。后来他又短暂回到德国,加入Realtime Technology (RTT)公司,2009年,他再次返回中国,担任Pixomondo上海新公司总经理。这家公司专注活动视频内容、电视广告CGI制作和电影特效。虽然参与了这么多高端项目(其中还包括奥斯卡获奖影片《雨果》),但公司还是陷入了财政危机,不得不关掉柏林、多伦多、伦敦和上海工作室。“我看到到(电影制作)其实很难赚到钱”,Roth如是说。

Stuttgart native Roth co-founded CGI and postproduction company MACKEVISION in 1994, acting as CEO in Germany for 12 years and launching the company’s Shanghai’s branch in 2005.  After a stint back in Germany with Realtime Technology (RTT), in 2009 he returned to China as general manager of Pixomondo’s new Shanghai branch.  The studio offered video content for events, CGI for TVCs and visual effects for movies but, despite working on high profile projects including Academy Award-winning film Hugo, the company ran into financial difficulties and was forced to close its offices in Berlin, Toronto, London and Shanghai. “I’ve learnt [movies work] is a very difficult business to earn money with”, says Roth.

img_0878Image Unit上海办公室 | Image Unit Shanghai Office

于是,Roth决定整合核心团队的八名成员,成立了image unit公司。现在上海团队已经有12名全职员工,如项目需要,他们还可以从中国本地或者欧洲找一些自由职业者,团队人数会壮大一倍,远程加入项目。

Roth’s response was to rally eight of the core team and, with Daniel Rajcic, form image unit.  The full time Shanghai team has since grown to 12, and is able to double in size with freelancers coming in from China or Europe, or working remotely around the world, as projects dictate.


In late 2015, the company opened a second studio in Stuttgart, Germany, both to handle high-end briefs from local clients and to fill talent gaps when they arise in projects for the China market.



Work isn’t, however, outsourced from Germany to China.  Roth explains that that model is dead, with rising wages in China and the strength of the Yuan against other currencies making production in Shanghai at least as expensive as Europe.  Besides, there is more than enough work for the Shanghai team from the enormous domestic market, where opportunities abound and budgets are, he says, “very sufficient.  They started too small but now they are in a very good situation.”


Jaguar booth, Guangzhou Auto Show 2015

近年来,广州车展已经逐渐跻身到中国最引人注目的车展之列。image unit跟Imagination Shanghai合作,打造了捷豹展位视频。除了主屏幕的视觉呈现,还要打造移动立方体LED的内容,这也使得这项任务变得尤为特殊。立方体从天花板落下,挡住了舞台上的汽车。再次拉上去时,全新的捷豹F-Pace就会展现在观众面前。

The Guangzhou Auto Show has evolved in recent years to become one of the most important car shows in China. image unit collaborated with Imagination Shanghai to create the video content for the Jaguar booth. Alongside creating visuals for the main screens, the addition of a movable LED cube made this a special task. The cube moved down from the ceiling, hiding the car on the stage. When the cube moved up again, the new Jaguar F-Pace was revealed.

Roth: Image Unit的一个优势就是我们随时都有现场技术装备和创意团队,即使最后一刻需要变动,我们也能改动,适应展位屏幕的视频需求。这样可以最大化保证流程的灵活性,实现最佳品质。

One of image units’ strengths is we always have a technical set-up and a creative team on site to perform last second adjustments and to fit the video content to the screens on the booth. This ensures maximum flexibility for the process and highest quality for the content.

  • 客户:捷豹路虎中国
  • 广告公司:Imagination
  • 制作公司:image unit
  • 导演:Daniel Rajcic
  • 后期制作:image unit
  • Client: Jaguar Land Rover China
  • Agency: Imagination
  • Production Company: image unit
  • Director: Daniel Rajcic
  • Post Production: image unit


Despite the abundant work, Roth still doesn’t feel much local competition.  “China looks easy from outside”, he says, “but it’s a very difficult market with very demanding clients.  I guess some companies feel it’s too difficult to make profit here.”


Roth’s response to the challenges is typically sanguine.  He concedes the difficulty in dealing with clients that often avoid clearly identifying the goals, and in finding the single person able to make decisions, but he is too experienced to let that frustrate him, noting simply, “It doesn’t mean western is better, it’s just a different culture and approach.”



The German’s serenity can be partly attributed to the fact that, working for events with fixed dates, his company is protected from the “uncontrolled, ongoing revisions, without additional payments” that blight the schedules of other post houses in China.


He prefers to highlight the fact that things are improving, with growing experience in the market, including better all round communication. “10 years ago people really didn’t know how long things took.” he says, “But now, if they make a schedule that’s totally unrealistic, you can tell them and they accept it.  [Clients] are more flexible, at least in the early stages.”

泰克鲁斯·腾风 2016日内瓦车展

Techrules, Geneva Auto Show 2016


Billed as China’s first supercar, Techrules’ Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) is powered by electricity, using backup turbine engines as generators. Techrules unveiled the 1030 horsepower turbine-electric supercar concept at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.


我们很高兴能跟BlueScope和id creation合作,打造这么精彩的新闻发布会。image unit斯图加特和上海两个工作室紧密合作,竭尽所能充分利用春节假期,在很短的制作时间里,打造了这部面向未来的全CG短片。

We were thrilled to work together with BlueScope and id creations to produce an outstanding experience for the press conference. The image unit facilities in Stuttgart and in Shanghai worked closely together, making best use of the short production time during the Chinese New Year Holidays to create a full CG film that directs the way into the future.


  • 客户:泰克鲁斯·腾风
  • 广告公司:Blue Scope
  • 制作:id creations
  • 导演:Fabrice Sanchez
  • 后期:Image Unit
  • Client: Techrules
  • Agency: Blue Scope
  • Production Company: id creations
  • Director: Fabrice Sanchez
  • Post Production: image unit


Roth does point to the enduring challenge of scarcity of talent. “We still have a lot of international artists after all these years,” he says, “because we still just can’t find the local people with the skills to replace them”.  The situation is exacerbated by a relatively tiny pool of domestic freelance artists, partly because it is not a widely understood or respected status in China, and partly because there are no legal constructs for artists to work independently.  Companies are forced to handle freelancers in what Roth calls a “half-legal” grey area that he says is uncomfortable for everyone involved.


Bringing in talent from overseas to plug gaps is complicated, with visas becoming increasingly difficult to obtain, especially on a long-term basis.   As a result, post houses are generally obliged to employ local artists full time and accept the inconvenient reality of poaching and a high staff turnover.


Inflexibility is problematic in the project business, especially in China where typically short project timelines necessitate jobs to start immediately.  Roth’s answer has been to establish the facility in Stuttgart to enable him to quickly and efficiently bring a team together without any visa or inter-continental flight issues.  On the ground in China, he says, “The best solution is to hire young, talented people hungry for education, then raise them up yourself.”  


Castrol Product Launch, China 2016

Image Unit跟M&C Saatchi aeiou和38pro合作,在短短的两周制作周期内,打造了一系列润滑油动画,用于嘉实多新品发布会。

Image Unit collaborated with M&C Saatchi aeiou and 38pro to create a series of liquid oil animations for a Castrol product launch within a production timeline of less than two weeks.



The challenge was to create the appearance of oil, and not have the liquids look and act like water. During the R&D work we found that oil acts like warm honey. Apart from the viscosity, the kind and amount of air bubbles caught within the liquids are also important oil characteristics while, generally speaking, it was important to make the oil look “appealing”. Both the audience and the client agreed our video content was a highlight of the event.


  • 客户:嘉实多中国
  • 广告:M&C Saatchi aeiou
  • 制作:38pro
  • 导演:Leon Loukeris
  • 后期:Image Unit
  • Client: Castrol China
  • Agency: M&C Saatchi aeiou
  • Production Company: 38pro
  • Director: Leon Loukeris
  • Post Production: Image Unit


Ever the optimist, Roth believes the pain points are easing year on year.  One of the keys, he says is communication, which is why he regularly holds Friday night meetups for the Shanghai creative community.  “We can grow together”, he smiles, “It will take time, but we are patient.”

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