by Film horizon on 15 February 2017

In recent years, Chinese film industry is booming beyond expectation, which makes more and more film studios from abroad trying to force their way into Chinese market and get a slice of the growing cake. VHQ, by no means an exception, is one of them. Distinct from most of disoriented multinationals, VHQ not only gains a firm foothold here, but also carries a smooth shift from TVC to film post production. So, how does a Singapore-based post house successfully manage to be a “prophet” honor saved in “Chinese film market”? The country head Kelvin Low and deputy general manager Ben Yang from VHQ is interviewed by us to share theirinvaluable experience with you.

VHQ General Manager Kelvin Low

VHQ Deputy General Manager Ben Yang

Decided edge in the chaotic war

The overwhelming development of Chinese film industry has been as attractive as the red sea for people to thrust themselves into and go to great length to fight their way out of the chaotic competition.However, it is never easy for multinationals to set a foot in the local door and have a firm presence in the disordered market. As a Southeast Asia company with over 20 years of history, VHQ enters into the market without a hitch. What’s their edge after all?

VHQ Workspace

Big scale

The scale of the enterprise usually represents what it is capable of manufacturing and producing. Moreover, the big-scale company is more reliable from the perspective of investors. One of the dominant strength of multinationals is their larger scale over most of their domestic counterparts. The deputy general manager Ben Yang introduced:“VHQ’s scale is in the front rank among all the domestic post housesand we are still growing. The scale is rather essential for the big VFX films in the market because the team is easier to be controlled as a whole.”

VHQ Screening Room


Multinationals also have a cutting edge over the Chinese post vendors in terms of internationalization. VHQ has a talent pool from all over the world and the whole office is like a small version of UN. Like Ben Yang told us, “VHQ is neither entirely a foreign company nor a local one. We are mixing them together and balance it out. The artists from abroad possess better ideas and skills like Dayne Cowan, so they can take better approach and solutions. On the other hand, hiring local artists can control the time and cost more effectively.”

VHQ Post Production Equipment


Another advantage of multinationals lies in their network cross the border. Unlike domestic vendors, the transnationals has laid out its production team in other countries to co-share the knowhow, knowledge and resources. Apparently, such teams with a widespread network are far more worthwhile to hire for the production side. “VHQ’s team spreads all over Malaysia, Singapore and BJ and the artists areflexibly allocated to projects as required across branches. For instance, “Three lives”, the project we are currently running is produced by our teams home and abroad”.

VHQ Reception

Asset to film is what talents to enterprise

Unlike TVC production, film generates a massive data amount in the post stage. It is prerequisite for every post house to effectively manage the data without any loss and improve efficiency. VHQ is no exception. It spares no effort to purchase the costly equipment of data management besides using the state-of-the-art web engineer techniques to manage the data as regular approach. The general manager Kelvin Low said, “We have six storages with 300T for each of them just for film department. The equipment is interconnected with each other. Any of them goes south, a new backup will be automatically reboot. That means no data will be lost as long as it is within certain value”. Apart from this, VHQ has an internal R&D part in store specifically for data. Ben Yang explains for us:” we will compress the data through internal R&D and strive to reduce the unnecessary delete and management for the data. The overall efficiency of the team will be improved on the premise of zero loss.

VHQ Storage Device

Talent to the enterprise is what data to film production, which is the core and integral part. As a multinational, VHQ draws numerous top artists from all over the world. It is a huge challenge to pull together all the best talents in one team. As Kelvin Low sees it, the key for VHQ to attractive so many resources is the company culture. “We are service provider and talent is vital in service industry. Good system is always available to be bought, but not top notch artists. We tend to take a more oversea approach in terms of staff management, relative more open than most of Chinese companies. Our office feels like a big family together. We have faith in our staff and always endeavor to allocate the best project for them. At the same time, we also pay attention to train their skills and keep up the spirit and morale. In this way, the company and the staff will be bonding warmly. People will feel more attached to the company and carry out the better work”.

VHQ Color Grading Machine

Besides the company culture, the top international talents are also interested in the future growth of VHQ, let alone the expectation and challenge along with that. Hence, even as senior as Dayne Cowan, the prestigious Hollywood VFX supervisor is also more than happy to join as a member of VHQ. Speaking of Dayne Cowan, Kelvin Low is rather generous with his compliment,”Dayne is not only brilliant at VFX, but a more than qualified producer. He has great control on both art and management. Talent like him is very hard to find. He is taking care of a lot of work here, and most important thing is to expand the team in Singapore and Malaysia and set up the R&D team there.”

VHQ Rest Area

Understanding the market, pinpointing the position allows a better chance in Chinese film market

VHQ takes film as it main business ever since the year 2014. Exposed to many kinds of films, VHQ has its own “unique taste” for picking up the films. “For a VFX house, the more challenge, the more intriguing. That’s why we really fancy sci-fi films. After all, there isn’t any real fantastic sci-fi film in China yet. As a matter of fact, everything is doable in VFX, the question lies in time and money. The current Chinese film market is still premature and takes time to grow. Nevertheless, there is no such thing as Hollywood can accomplish but we can’t. The only difference is that Hollywood is left with more time”.

ime and money is indeed two major problems fronting Chinese film market. Any film production requires time. It takes six years to complete the film“Avatar” in States while in China, it might be only given a year at most to finish it. That is part of the reason why not many sci-fi stories are adapted into film here in China. Kelvin also states:” the overall industry takes time to ripe. Directors need to know that enough patience, R&D and time to conduct the R&D is what takes to make a film beyond ordinary.”

VHQ Office Block

VHQ has positioned itself to be “a growing company” in the backdrop of the emerging film market and hopes togo with the tides. Like what Ben Yang said, “Now we are going through the phase that VHQ collides and progresses with the whole industry. It is already quite amazing that the market has achieved such a significant accomplishment even though it is not full-fledged yet. We should equip ourselves to be more compatible with the overall industry and industrial system due to the fact that the local industrial system stands for the long-time thought and wisdom of Chinese film shooting. It deserves our effort to learn. On the other hand, it requires us to couple with more internationalized production principles and ideas from western side, then many years later, we are able to build a system with our own standard and style instead of craving for Hollywood film industry.”

Kelvin also thinks much of Chinese film market, “Chinese film is still at initial stage and hurdles will be ahead waiting for us. Still, there will be huge room for the film market in the second-tier and third-tier cities to blossom. The market is expected to grow much bigger than today even though sometimes it might be derailed during the course. ”

VHQ Office Block

In addition, Ben Yang holds considerable confidence for post production here in China apart from speaking highly of domestic film market. “It is an inevitable trend that Chinese team plays a bigger and bigger role in the post market because the techniques and talents’ skills are blooming out of expectation. Everyone is more willing to work with the local team since the communication is smoother.”

All in all, the work matters the most in winning the trust of the market. “In the past few years, Chinese market bears significant fruit and more and more people are looking forward to see where it goes. As a post house, the future will definitely be brighter as long as we strive to accomplish good work.”


刘国林:Kelvin Low,VHQ北京总经理

杨   奔:Ben Yang, VHQ北京副总经理