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Thursday, September 8, 2016, 11:09

Not quite yet Hollywood dazzling

By Xu Fan

Not quite yet Hollywood dazzling
Guo Jingming, director and writer of the namesake novel on which the film is based. (Photo provided to China Daily )

Yang Yuejuan, a veteran producer who has done some visual-effects blockbusters, says Chinese stars often feel embarrassed to perform in such an environment. "They'll complain it's hard for them to imagine things when there is actually nothing in front of them," says Yang.

Another problem faced by visual-effects professionals is that many producers do not realize the significance of getting them involved in the process right from the script-writing.

Explaining why this is needed, Xu says: "We need to figure out what we can do or cannot do while turning words into a visible world."

Xu also says that you need a coordinator to guarantee all the visual-effects creators - in a big-budget blockbuster the number may run to hundreds of people - connect their parts seamlessly.

"Sometimes the creatures are produced by one team and the sets are done by others. So, when combining the two parts, a lot of elements need to be adjusted, such as the shadows, the movements of the creatures and so on," says Xu.

But despite the problems, positive changes are evident in China's booming film industry.

For The Mystic Nine , a television series prequel of the hit tomb-raider serial The Lost Tomb, the visual effects took up 40 percent of its budget.

In Novoland: The Castle in the Sky , which depicts human beings and mutants born with wings, the virtual sets were created during the pre-production process.

Separately, domestic viewers, whose expectations have been raised thanks to Hollywood, also agree that locally made fantasy productions are upping their game when it comes to special effects.

"Hollywood has worked for decades to reach where it is. We have a long way to go," says Zhan Taifeng, an industry professional.

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