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Old 03-01-2013, 05:00 AM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axiomatic
No studio who can handle the quality and volume of work that Blockbusters require are charging $800/month in SE Asia that I know of. Maybe for roto/mm legwork? Certainly not for complete sequences, comping or supervisor positions.

Yes, Asia is cheaper, but it isn't a hell of a lot so and the quality is still far below par. Take China as an example. There are literally only a handful of shops (I'd argue ~3) capable of handling of the standard required by Blockbusters and none of them are close to being that cheap.

I'd be interested in hearing of examples that support otherwise.

Basically I think your argument is flawed. Yes developing economies are a problem for VFX but compared with subsidies and the over supply problem it's smoke without fire. Certainly for the next 3-5 years...


I have said over and over and over that what I am talking about doesn't apply to the top of the top of the VFX world. I have also posed the question of how often does a Davy Jones or Richard Parker come along in VFX? The majority of VFX done in film and television (blowing up stuff, matte paintings, set extensions, vehicles driving and flying around, basic monsters etc.) can be done by just about any studio anywhere.

When I visited Big Foot in Cebu Philippines they had a small in house team. Could they do a Davy Jones or Richard Parker? No. They were doing better than anything we were doing on SyFy though. Their local artists make about $400 per month. The leads, one guy from, I believe germany, another from canada, make about $2500 to $3000 per month, tax free. You only need one or two top guys to get everyone else up to speed.

You are in Beijing which is an expensive environment by any standards. Of course, you won't find super cheap there. I have been to studios in Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, Hefei and other locations where the cost of living is a tiny fraction of Beijing or Shanghai and they are working beyond cheap. Of course the quality is not there yet. That is why my question was posed as, "What happens when...?" Because it is coming. The very top VFX artists you speak of have been showing up in places like India, China, Philippines, making huge salaries to essentially train the competition, if you want to look at it that way. The gap is closing faster than one might think.

We have outsourced to a studio in Dalian doing this kind of work. Can they handle a blockbuster? No. Can they handle most low budget and TV level stuff. Yes they can. I have their price list somewhere. It is cheap. Just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was done inexpensively in China, or the movie Ultra Violet, not that it had great FX, was done all in China. That's where it is going to start, and slowly work its way up. 3-5 years could change everything.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:20 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teruchan

When I visited Big Foot in Cebu Philippines they had a small in house team. Could they do a Davy Jones or Richard Parker? No. They were doing better than anything we were doing on SyFy though. Their local artists make about $400 per month. The leads, one guy from, I believe germany, another from canada, make about $2500 to $3000 per month, tax free. You only need one or two top guys to get everyone else up to speed.



I know a couple of people there... Very ambitious lot.
They're not ILM of course... but they have the fire in their belly for sure.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:33 AM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teruchan
You are in Beijing which is an expensive environment by any standards. Of course, you won't find super cheap there. I have been to studios in Fuzhou, Zhengzhou, Hefei and other locations where the cost of living is a tiny fraction of Beijing or Shanghai and they are working beyond cheap. Of course the quality is not there yet. That is why my question was posed as, "What happens when...?" Because it is coming. The very top VFX artists you speak of have been showing up in places like India, China, Philippines, making huge salaries to essentially train the competition, if you want to look at it that way. The gap is closing faster than one might think.
Unfortunately I agree with you. That IS the direction it's heading. The only way I see it changing is after a time (and who know how much time) the cost will rise in these countries/areas and only THEN will it become feasible for VFX studios to start again in the developed countries. We see it with manufacturing now. Of course in manufacturing they also have to take in the cost of transportation - which is always increasing and the labor force is slowly being paid more. Manufacturing IS coming back (albeit slowly) to the US where the good here are sold. It's only NOW becoming cost-effectiove to do so. I see the same happening with VFX, though in all honesty I think it will take quite a bit more time. I hope I'm wrong. I often am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by teruchan
We have outsourced to a studio in Dalian doing this kind of work. Can they handle a blockbuster? No. Can they handle most low budget and TV level stuff. Yes they can. I have their price list somewhere. It is cheap. Just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie that was done inexpensively in China, or the movie Ultra Violet, not that it had great FX, was done all in China. That's where it is going to start, and slowly work its way up. 3-5 years could change everything.

I thought the VFX for UltraViolet were pretty good. And hopefully a few more years after that it will level out. What can I say, I'm an optimist.
 
Old 03-01-2013, 12:59 PM   #64
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Here's cinematographer Haskell Wexler talking about bad conditions in other areas of the film industry:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I9RBWX_iIM

Unions didn't help much for them, so I'm not sure how far a union will get VFX artists. It's progress, maybe, but by far not a complete solution.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:20 PM   #65
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VFX Unionization: A Chat With IATSE's Vanessa Holtgrewe

Quote:
"Working in entertainment can be exhilarating, but transience is the nature of the industry: at any time, a project could be cancelled, shelved, or simply completed -- leaving everyone involved looking for work. It's an industry where profit drives many decisions, and contract employees often find themselves at the mercy of executives who know little about the craftsmanship involved in the productions they oversee, aside from the fact that they'd like the work done faster and cheaper if possible."

http://vfxg.org/profiles/blogs/vfx-...nessa-holtgrewe
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:28 PM   #66
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I dunno... all too often I have seen Unions work on behalf of employees- against the employers.
I'm not convinced that's what the industry needs.

Be careful that the union isn't the nail in the coffin.
 
Old 03-01-2013, 10:51 PM   #67
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This might be of interest...


There was ANOTHER Labor fight during the OSCAR that was not reported:

Quote:
"
On Sunday night, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell accepted the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling for Les Misérables.

“It’s quite overwhelming,” Ms Westcott said in her speech. “But we can only accept a little bit of this, it’s all down to our fantastic team.”

In a case of life imitating art, the predominantly female workers in that team shocked the producers of Les Mis, by taking to the barricades and demanding a change to working conditions and pay.

A year on, and following a meeting between the union and the employers this week, sources close to the negotiations believe a wholesale overhaul of the terms is close."

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e..._ref_map=%5B%5D
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:03 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by redbellpeppers
I dunno... all too often I have seen Unions work on behalf of employees- against the employers.
I'm not convinced that's what the industry needs.

Be careful that the union isn't the nail in the coffin.

IMO, it's not so much against the employers, but rather FOR the employees. I don't think that it will help either way. The "nail in the coffin" has already been produced and I think it's inevitable - it's just a matter of when the hammer will fall. But I don't think that creating a union would do it. It would probably take too long to get anything effectively done and by that time all of the big VFX houses in the US will be gone. Sad to say.

Perhaps something more of a Trade Union - as opposed to a union - would be better? A Trade Union would help ALL VFX houses, but I think that it would be far more difficult to get ALL (or even most) VFX houses to join. Hell, there are some in here who feel that this is only a "Pro California VFX Houses" plea for help. It would be great to see all VFX houses join forces, but there are too many that feel this will all blow over and THEY will be the ones to reap the benefits. Of course they will be correct - for a time - but they too will inevitably succumb to the greed of the industry.
 
Old 03-01-2013, 11:03 PM   #69
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