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I n the US, we fondly recall our patriot- ic past through iconic national stories: George Washington at Valley Forge, Paul Revere riding through the night, Bet- sy Ross sewing the flag. China's story is told in Red Cliff, a movie directed by John Woo that opened recently. e epic story—first told in the classic 700-year-old Chinese novel Romance of the ree Kingdoms—is about a power-hungry general seeking per- mission from the Han Dynasty emperor to crush two troublesome warlords. ose two warlords band together to fight the general and his overwhelmingly superior forces, and, with their cunning and brav- ery, change China's history forever. "e story is so engrained in people's consciousness that there's really no equiva- lent in the US," says Craig Hayes, who was both overall visual effects supervisor of the movie and VFX supe at the now-defunct e Orphanage, which led the digital work on the film. Twelve other VFX vendors contributed, as well. e film came to e Orphanage through producer Terence Chang, who produced Red Cliff with Woo. "e guys at e Orphanage were friends with Ter- ence from way back," says Hayes, noting that the studio was on the radar screen of the Asian film community due to its work on the Korean feature e Host. e Or- phanage team first met with Woo in Los Angeles to talk about ideas and examine some initial previsualizations, steps that were suggested by Hayes. December 2009 42 n n n n Visual Effects Numerous visual effects facilities from around the world contributed work to the Chinese epic Red Cliff, including Frantic Films VFX, now Prime Focus, which produced the battle shots above and on the next page.

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