We talk to VFX Creative Director Ting Lo (T.Lo) about how Base FX delivers photoreal and stylized effects for high-profile international productions and top-grossing films for Chinese audiences.
Base FX is the leading visual effects and animation studio in China, with facilities located throughout Asia and a strategic partnership with ILM to deliver work on international tent pole features. The Oscar-nominated and three-time Emmy Award-winning studio is the largest in China, with theatrical credits including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Aquaman” and “Bumblebee,” and television credits for “Black Sails,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “The Pacific,” among others. For Chinese audiences, the studio has worked with leading directors on top-grossing domestic films, including the recent sci-fi box office hit “The Wandering Earth,” where the studio was heavily involved in pre-production storyboarding, concept art, previs and animatic development, through on-set supervision and post.
VFX Creative Director T.Lo collaborates closely with directors and production teams to develop the look and style of films from pre-production to post. She was drawn to the VFX industry because of the endless possibilities afforded by technology and her desire to lure audiences into cinematic worlds. “Working in visual effects is almost magical, though it takes a lot of dedicated work from teams of artists,” remarked T.Lo. “The payoff is being able to create entire new worlds from green screen or bring fantastical imaginary creatures to life.”
The studio’s size, robust production slate and demanding schedule for coordinating teams across Asia and internationally required a reliable solution for pipeline management. Base FX integrated Shotgun into the studio’s core pipeline three years ago to help systematically track tasks, schedules and client and internal feedback and approvals. Prior to implementing Shotgun, the team relied on Excel spreadsheets and studio coordinators for manually communicating project statuses, tasks, review processes and timelines. Today, more than 100 artists are plugged into Shotgun at facilities located across China in Beijing, Wuxi, Xiamen and Dachang. “All of our production teams and artists use Shotgun, which is user-friendly and quite easy to pick up,” said T.Lo. “Though most new hires don’t have Shotgun experience unless they’ve worked at other large or Western facilities, they’re able to learn it very quickly and apply it to use within a few days.”
Base FX uses a unique pipeline setup tailored to each project, with Shotgun at the core to drive communication and production management. The main Shotgun benefit for the studio is having a streamlined method for tracking shots and assets throughout production, allowing all teams to view task history and identify any workflow bottlenecks and inefficiencies. The studio also benefits heavily from Shotgun’s visual components, which enable teams to preview shots and assets, study sequences and layouts and provide artists with a clear understanding of projects without needing to be briefed by supervisors on every aspect of production. During review processes, RV provides teams with a method for seamlessly viewing sequences, with the clean interface providing all critical shot information in one screen, including feedback, related shots, references and the timeline; for immediate comparison between the original and different versions, RV also links to source files for easy reference.
“As a supervisor, it’s essential to have a tool that can organize daily reviews for shots and assets,” said T.Lo. “Shotgun provides us with a streamlined method for organizing feedback, reference materials from clients and source files delivered to vendors. We can also use it to create different tags so we can promptly search for what we need, whether it be a specific request from a client or updated version of an asset.”
Additionally, Shotgun provides Base FX with a secure channel to receive and deliver shots, sequences and assets with clients and teams remotely. This bridges communication between all stages of production and provides supervisors working at different facilities or on-set with an effective and reliable pathway for quickly sharing information and receiving the latest updates.
Base FX recently expanded with a new animation facility, while concurrently focusing on live action content with production on a visual effects-centric feature film. As the studio continues to grow, offering both visual effects services and original animated and live action content, Shotgun will be critical for future expansion, removing pipeline bottlenecks, streamlining production tasks and review processes, and allowing large teams to collaborate internationally and in remote locations.
For more information on Base FX, visit: http://www.base-fx.com/