News / Arts & Entertainment

Hollywood Visual Effects Go Global

Hollywood Visual Effects Go Globali
X
Elizabeth Lee
April 22, 2014 10:02 PM
Many of today’s Hollywood blockbuster movies include stunning visual effects. Most of those effects used to be produced in Hollywood, but that has changed. Now, one film can include visual effects produced in many different countries. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles on how the globalization of visual effects is affecting artists in Hollywood and around the world.
Elizabeth Lee
— Many of today’s Hollywood blockbuster movies include stunning visual effects.  Most of those effects used to be produced in Hollywood, but that has changed.  Now, one film can include visual effects produced in many different countries.
 
Tommy Williamson is passionate about filmmaking .  As a former visual effects supervisor, he worked on many Hollywood blockbusters, but not anymore.

“It kind of breaks my heart to leave the whole thing; in fact I don’t even say that I left.  I said it left me," said Williamson.

Thanks to technology, visual effects work can be done anywhere in the world and more Hollywood films are including work from other countries.

"In the last five to seven years is where you’ve seen an explosion of content getting processed in different parts of the world," said Venkatesh Roddam, chief executive officer of India-based Reliance MediaWorks. "Not just India, but China, Taiwan, Korea, India; these are all the markets that content from Hollywood is going to."

Countries such as India offer lower costs, and some are offering financial incentives for work to be done there.  

“I’ve been at 12 different visual effects companies.  [I’ve] been on the staff of five, all of which have gone bankrupt for one reason or another; basically it’s only two, the way we work and the subsidy race that’s driven so many of them out of business," said Dave Rand.

Rand and Daniel Lay, co-founders of the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals &Technicians, say that subsidies offered by other countries are driving work out of Hollywood.  He says the solution lies in the U.S. federal courts.

“The United States government puts very strong anti-subsidy laws that have been around for years that allow for domestic industries that are being injured by these international subsidies to seek relief through the trade courts," Lay said.
 
He wants a U.S. federal court to levy a mandatory tax on the work produced outside the U.S.

“It’s not a progressive idea.  “You are actually artificially pumping up the cost.  You are limiting talent availability," said Roddam.

Roddam says currently Hollywood can draw from an international talent pool.  

It’s benefiting artists like Kunal Chindarkar, who works on Hollywood movies from Singapore for visual effects company Double Negative.

“The people that are working with me right now in Double Negative are...are from all over the world.  We have people from Australia, from U.K., from France," he said.

Roddam says working with Hollywood improves the quality of work worldwide.  He says the key to a visual effects company’s survival is to also branch out into other areas of filmmaking.  

Firms also need a presence in countries where the work is done, and that includes the U.S.

“You cannot survive in this marketplace without a physical presence here," Roddam said. "So from that perspective, companies like ours will continue to create American jobs in America, rather than actually think about how much of this work is going to Canada or U.K. or India or China."

Roddam also says the visual effects industry will continue to evolve and those who want to stay in the business will have to continue to adapt.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

New Orleans-based Water Seed joins Shawna Renee inside the "Soul Lounge" where they introduce listeners to their latest album, a wonderful fusion of jazz, soul and rhythm & blues. The group also explains how the heart of New Orleans influences each of them as musicians and songwriters.