SoFTA field trip: exploring film production

12 Apr 2023

On 23 and 34 March, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University School of Film and Arts students embarked on a two-day field trip for film study. Their first stop was the Xiangshan Film Studio in Ningbo, one of the largest and most influential film shooting bases in China, where popular domestic dramas such as "The Legend of the Condor Heroes," "Orphan of Zhao," "The Longest Day in Chang'an," "Nirvana in Fire," "The Legend of Mi Yue," and "Eternal Love" were filmed.

Xiangshan Film Studio has six functional zones: a riverside town, a fantasy world, a dream factory, a martial arts world, a Tang Dynasty city, and a Republican-era city. The unique architectural styles allow films from different eras and styles to be shot. Additionally, the film city has a state-of-the-art digital studio, which can composite images in real-time and synchronously, shorten the film production cycle, and reduce production costs. The film studio has also built Asia's largest underwater studio and a standard film studio, which provide more possibilities for film and television production.

Visit Xiangshan Film Studio

Experience the late dubbing of the TV series "Qing Yuk"

TV drama "Folding Waist" set scene

Visit the cast of Tencent drama "Huang Fei Huang Map"

The following day, the students visited Xiangshan Starry Props Rental Co., Ltd., a company with over 20 years of experience in the industry and at the forefront of prop rental and set decoration services. The company provides over 10,000 kinds of props for TV shows and movies annually and accepts all kinds of set decoration services. They work closely with Xiangshan Film and Television City, providing professional prop rental and set decoration services to create excellent film and television works.

After visiting Xiangshan Film Studio's prop warehouse, the students went to a nearby virtual photography studio to observe the on-site production of the sci-fi web drama "The Sea of Dreams," which was written by Liu Cixin and directed by Tian Li, and produced by the main team of "The River God" (Beijing Xian Gongfu Culture). During the break, they took photos with director Tian Li. The tour leader, Yibin Yu, also invited Tian Li and the main team to visit SoFTA in the future, and students will have the opportunity to interact closely with well-known filmmakers.

Visit the cast of the science fiction network drama "The Sea of Dreams"

Later, the students visited Asia's largest underwater photography studio. The studio was jointly built by the Ningbo Film and Television Culture Industry Zone and the Beijing Jingzhe Film and Television Culture Communication Company, covering an area of 2,000 square meters and costing 26 million RMB. To ensure the lighting effect of underwater shooting, the studio uses film-specific dysprosium lamps equipped with four groups of lamps ranging from 1.2K to 6K. There are also more than ten types of scenery props for rendering underwater scenes, such as peach blossom forests, deep seas, moons, and lotus flowers, creating a dreamy underwater world.

In addition, a special stainless steel rest bar was installed above the water surface in the underwater photography studio. There is also a shooting platform in the water, and the crew can adjust the depth of the platform in the water based on the height of the crew members. The underwater photography studio also has a 9-meter-wide and 2-meter-high shooting viewing window. An ozone disinfection machine is placed at the edge of the studio to continuously disinfect the water in the pool to ensure the hygiene and safety of the water quality. The studio also has multiple water quality filtering facilities, including water softening facilities, to ensure that the water quality meets drinking water standards. At the same time, the studio is equipped with underfloor heating, air conditioning, and a special water temperature thermometer to ensure that the water temperature is kept constant at 28°C or above and the room temperature is maintained at 26°C or above throughout the year.

The students also visited Xinhui Feng Film and Television Equipment Rental Co., Ltd. in XinQiao. This company has operated for almost a decade, with three equipment rental companies in Beijing and Ningbo, with a total investment of 50 million yuan and annual revenue of tens of millions. Xinhui Feng provides film crews with comprehensive equipment and personnel services and has established long-term partnerships with multiple production companies. They also collaborate with Xiangshan Film and Television City, providing equipment services for film and television productions in the area.

Later, the students visited a 10,000-square-meter studio, where there are film studios with a height of over 30 meters, enough to be used to build various large-scale ancient costume drama scenes. The grand scale amazed everyone.

The students also visited Huanggong'ao Village Xiong'er Cultural Media Co., Ltd., a company that provides services such as clothing, makeup, and shooting locations for film and television production.

The study tour gave the students a comprehensive understanding of the film production process, expanded their horizons, and deepened their understanding of the film industry they will work. This activity also provided more supporting resources for students' future graduation works or related work after entering the industry, including personnel configuration, venue and equipment rental, costume and prop rental, art decoration, and post-production services. These resources will help them better leverage their talents in their future learning and career and contribute to artistic creation professionally and efficiently. It also provided the students with a platform to learn and communicate with industry professionals, enhancing their practical abilities and professional qualities.


By Wenzhen Li

Translated by Wenzhen Li and Yibin Yu

Photos courtesy of Yibin Yu

12 Apr 2023