Malaysia has right mix to be 3D-content Asia hub

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has the opportunity to be at the forefront of stereoscopic 3D technology in the Asian region, said Craig Tanner, visual effects editor of the hit movie Avatar.

He believes the country has a competitive edge to excel in that segment of movie making. “This is its multilingual, largely English-speaking population and the world-class quality of its post-production facilities,” he told In.Tech.

Tanner, who has visited other countries in the region, spent almost three weeks in Kuala Lumpur, and could make Malaysia the regional hub for his 3D studio.

"Malaysia is high on my list. Labour costs here are not cheap, but that’s not my only consideration. Your country is a melting pot (of cultures and traditions) which is good for creativity,” he said.

“There are other Asian countries that have English-speaking citizens but yours is an attractive multicultural society as well.”


Tanner, who was also visual effects editor for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, is president of his company — Digital Revolution Studios (DRS) — which is headquartered in Los Angeles.

During his visit, he has been reviewing demo-reels from many local post-production houses and is impressed by both the talent and the equipment available here.

“From a hardware standpoint, Avatar could have been made here. I have seen many facilities around the region and the equipment at the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (Finas) is top notch,” he said.

Tanner said an announcement on DRS’ regional hub would be made by year end, at the latest.

“We are looking at creating new 3D content for Asia, be it for TV, cinemas, billboards, or whatever. We will provide training and the proper workflow processes,” Tanner said.


Tanner’s wife, Gina, who is chief executive officer of DRS, said Malaysia has untapped creative resources that the company could help develop.

“There are more than a thousand unemployed or under-employed animators in the country,” she said.

Tanner said the creative talent that DRS would train needs to have good work ethics and be able to take direction. “It doesn’t matter if they have zero experience. It’s their attitude that counts,” he added.

According to him, his current focus is on expanding his company and he has no plans to be involved in a sequel to Avatar, if any.

“No more blue people for me,” he quipped. “It is a great privilege to have worked on that movie. But creating more 3D content is my focus. DRS has the largest library of 3D clips in the world, and we want to keep on adding to that.”

Tanner was also in the capital here to speak at a seminar on visual effects, organised by the Association of Post-Production and Animation Companies of Malaysia.

The seminar is sponsored by Finas and the Multimedia Development Corporation, guardian of the country’s MSC Malaysia initiative to build a knowledge-based workforce and leapfrog the nation in information and communications technology.

Avatar is a science fiction movie written and directed by James Cameron, which drew accolades for its 3D effects. It broke several box office records and is the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide.

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