A Western VFX guy in China

Xi You Ji – Monkey King TV Series

Late entry, but i was too busy from Sept. until now to blog anything. At this moment i involved as on-set supervisor for the new Monkey King TV Series (50 Episodes) which is expected to go on-air with the beginning of 2011. With an overall budget of nearly 100m RMB (14.5m USD) including post-production the highest budget ever paid for a Chinese TV series. Equivalent shows were made for a 10th of the costs in previous days. But the producer Song Ya Ping, shareholder of the Huayi Brothers and highly acclaimed TV producer in China aims at a LOTR version of Monkey King and should prepare him to pitch a 100m USD version of the same saga which is one of the 4 most famous novels in Chinese literature. 
My job also includes the customization of the 4 F900R’s meaning the creation of a film look with LUT’s and advising on the whole post-production workflow and DI. I also built a on-set previz system which is able to do high-precision keying in floating point space and can simultaneously record up to 3 uncompressed HD live feeds.
At this point in my Chinese career i just want mention that improvisation in China is everything and that things usually get done much faster than in the West despite the accidents that occur from time to time like a broken crane where a camera operator dropped 15 feets (he survived 😉 ) or a camera get smashed from the wire crew or explosives were triggered to early, etc…
Eventhough western crews would probably not cope with the non-existing safety standards or working hours, producers are normally very pleased with the results from Chinese crews which are tough like bricks and no matter weather or conditons hold their positions until the last scene is finished. Much respects to those guys, especially to my Hunan Kung-Fu instructors and their stunt crews which are undoubtfully the best i ever met.
These photos are just few impressions about some locations, we shoot more than 40.000 pictures until now and later entries will introduce stunning vistas shot with
a 16 Nikon camera rig from remote locations like the New territories, Xin Jiang, Xanxi, Tibet, Yunnan and others which will be sold later to Getty Images.

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