The “International Digital Cinema Technology Forum” was sponsored by the Organizing Committee of Beijing International Film Festival, and organized by the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology. In order to implement the national strategy for the innovation and development of science and technology, continuously improve the level of China's film science and technology, and accelerate the construction of a strong film country, the Beijing International Film Festival began to set up this theme forum event since 2017.
The forum has invited six film science and technology experts and directors from home and abroad to deliver speeches on the four topics of “production technology and comprehensive application of hi-tech format film”, “key production technology and application strategy of high-quality visual effects film”, “overall design and technology application of exquisite three-dimensional animation films production”, and “action films with spectacular dynamics presented in digital technology production”. They will explain the significance of the construction of the industrialization system for film production in upgrading the quality of the Chinese film industry, explore the strategies and paths for the creation and production of exquisite films in the new era, help the Chinese films move from “plateau” to “peak” and accelerate the transition of China from a big film country to a strong one.
The first speaker was Xie Ning, Vice President of Base FX, Vice Chairman of CPPA and council member of Previs Society Asia. His speech topic was “The Composition and Evolution of the Production System for Visual Effects Film Industry”.
Xie Ning joked that he was an “layman” as he majored in English, started to attract business at first, and came to Beijing to get engaged in the special effects field in 2003. He indicates that the film industry is undergoing tremendous changes. The trend of heavy industrialization in the global film industry is increasingly obvious, and the focus of film production is shifting from the early stage to the post stage. The acceleration of the Chinese film industrialization lies in the industrialization of computerized visual effects. With the post stage giving pressure to the early stage, the preview of visual effects has become a good partner for investors, which promotes the film production process reform and accelerates the industrialization process. Visual effects preview has become a powerful tool for popularizing audio-visual language and film teaching, and is a turbocharger for the Chinese films to realize corner overtaking. The most important thing in the film industry system is to begin with the end in mind. The efforts in all aspects must ultimately lead to the results presented
Australia senior film producer Chris Godfrey believes that the most important thing in all film production is “communication”. Therefore, he gave a speech on “Cooperation and Communication between Director and Visual Effects Director”. Every time you think about special effects shots, you need to plunge into it to make sure that the visual effects director understand your purposes. At the same time, we must also pay attention to the feedback in the shooting. Only through feedbacks can we know whether the shooting orientation is correct or not. Only through timely communication and feedback collection can we make the whole shooting process faster and more natural.
Furthermore, a budget plays the most important role, according to Chris. Goals of shooting and production should be achieved reasonably within the budget. Budgeting underlies the process of seeking methods for fixing problems.
The best performance is to see no performance. The best technique is to see no technique. Mr. Wang Yaming, Sony (China) Co., Ltd., and Technical Director of the Innovation Business Development Division of Sony China Professional Systems Group, firstly introduced the five factors related to the quality of 2-dimensional moving images and the visual limits of human eyes, and pointed out the problem that the current technical standards for film lags behind.
In his point of view, the new trends in the development of film technology are high resolution, wide color gamut, high dynamic range, high frame rate, and high quantization bits. However, the reality is the contradiction of the rapid development of technology versus the slow progress in technical standards. Technical standards have dragged the development of the film industry, and many new technologies can only stay in the experimental stage. Although films are now detached from film, many technical standards are still those in the film era, which is a typical path dependencies. Therefore, it is necessary to re-examine the results of technological development and formulate new film technology standards. The entire industry should work together. Shooting and post production is not the problem. Display is actually the core problem. The cinema must provide a unique audiovisual environment that cannot be achieved at home in order to attract the audience. Most of the world’s LED display screens are made in China. He believes that in the new spate of film technology development, Chinese companies will enjoy great opportunities.
The well-known American director Anthony LaMolinara introduced some new technologies such as VR, 2Pac, and holography one by one. He is not particularly obsessed with VR. He prefers holographic technology instead. In his eyes, hologram is a way of future entertainment. He introduced this complex new technology in detail.
He mentioned Bolt to uphold his viewpoint. The fastest people in the world still have to learn to run. Technology is always developing and the vision is becoming more and more complicated. Then he must continue to learn how to look. He has a very important thing to do in China: to teach Chinese directors how to watch pictures and visual effects. He believes that real artists need enough time to make films. They should not focus on speed but ignore quality. There would be no good art without enough time. Currently China offers the best opportunity. He hoped that all filmmakers will have the opportunity to make good works and communicate with the rest of the world.
Canadian film worker, scriptwriter and director Alain Desrochers put up a film of his, in person on site. Desrochers utilized specific visual effects episodes to visually show their use of technologies, and also let us see the dramatic changes of the film effects brought about by technology progress over the past eight years. Most special effects in his films are to protect the safety of the actors. Desrochers took several dangerous explosion scenes as examples to give us a detailed introduction to the stipulation and execution of the shooting plans.
Gao Pengdong, co-founder and vice president of Land High Tech, Doctor of Engineering, associate researcher, High-capacity Computing Center of Communication University of China, carried out some analysis on the current work of Land High Tech.
He notes that although China owns a huge film market, it is still not a strong country in production, because our efforts in standardization are deficient. More efforts should be made to divide the work in more detail and perfect the process management. What Land High Tech is doing is to prepare for an omni-bearing cycle of movies. From the initial capital expenditure to the final distribution and release, tasks should be allocated to different companies. However, the process of allocation and the desired structure must be clearly presented. Now that there are more and more co-productions, the communications between producers in different places need to be solved online directly. Therefore, based on the status quo, we must improve the efficiency of online communication, and ensure the privacy of the communicated information. In this way, we can promote China's film and television industrialization with the filmmakers around the world.
When the speeches were finished, the Forum entered the final interactive communication session. Six film science and technology experts and directors from home and abroad discussed some current problems in face of China’s film market. Among them, Xie Ning, vice president of Base FX, proposed that currently domestic technical talents are hard to come by, so China should expand the search scope for talents. At the same time, China should increase investment in talent training and attract talents from different fields into the film technology scope. In the context of global competition, we will strive to realize corner overtaking and enter into a new stage of development.
In the Q&A session, an audience asked the senior Australian film producer Chris Godfrey whether digital photography will replace shots. On this regard, Chris Godfrey said: some real feelings and inspirations are difficult to get from virtual shooting, so real shots will still be used.
The film itself is a product of science and technology, which is a revolution in the history of human civilization. At the end of the 19th century, it was because of the scientific exploration and experimentation by many scientists and inventors that film was born. Films and technologies are inseparable. Technological progress definitely impels the development of films. How to create better films by using new technological achievements is very important for the cinema of China. Held during this session of BIFF, the Forum provides a good platform for exchanges on film technologies between China and the rest of the world. In addition, the experience of learning from each other will enable the participants to effectively promote the application of film technologies in filmmaking in China, and to create high-quality Chinese films in the current era.