Magazine article Variety

Ilm Link Makes Base a Budding Powerhouse

Magazine article Variety

Ilm Link Makes Base a Budding Powerhouse

Article excerpt

The feature film visual effects industry has all but fled California, chasing incentives to whatever corner of the map may offer them. Yet Industrial Light & Magic remains in the Golden State, in part because of its its partnership with Bering's Base FX.

Years ago, Lucasfilm's leaders realized that while much vfx had become commoditized, ILM excelled in two areas that could command a premium price: high-end, researchintensive vfx, and production management for subcontractors. The key was finding such subcontractors.

Gretchen Libby, ILM executive in charge of global studios, found Base FX on a trip to China. In 2007, ILM entered a partnership with Beijing-based BaseFX that continues today.

Initially, ILM had a financial stake in Base; now China Media Capital has stepped in. But Base remains exclusive to ILM for all Hollywood studio pictures. The deal lets ILM treat Base as essentially an extension of its own workforce, so it doesn't have to ramp up and lay people off when work drops.

Libby and others credit Base's chief creative officer, Tang Bingbing, with bringing the company up to Hollywood standards. Tang instituted "Base Camp" where the company's young workforce learned both the creative standards required and basic workplace skills.

Dealing with a Chinese company imposed a learning curve on ILM, too. …

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