Everything from:China

I lived from 2005 to 2011 in Shanghai, China, and blogged every now and then about this fascinating country.

Back from Hunan!

So I spend the last four days in Hunan (湖南) province, shooting some tea mountains near a city called Shimen. We flew from Shanghai’s Hongqiao airport to Changsha (长沙), the capital of Hunan province. Mao Zedong is from that province and he’s pretty much everywhere around there – on posters, paintings and even statues. From Changsha we drove 5 hours or so to Shimen to spend another night there. Then we drove to the tea mountains of the Hunan Tea Company and shot some footage with the workers and manager there. Was a fun trip, a bit hectic and quite hot, but totally worth the time. Got some good footage for the customer and was invited to the most incredible lunches and dinners all the time. Hunanese food is ultra spicy, like Sichuan food, and very natural. They don’t use thick sauces like in other provinces but the flavor is extremely strong, anyway. Will put some more pics online during the next days. […]

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John Rabe: Some photos from the shoot.

In October 2007, I had the chance to join the JOHN RABE movie team in Shanghai and took it immediately. What followed were almost 4 months full of excitement, pain and so much learning and experience. It was the best time of my life. And now, the movie finally started running in german cinemas. It will probably also start running in China on April 29th. I can’t wait to see it. I started working in the VFX department under the command of Joachim Grüninger. He taught me an insane amount of things and gave me many chances to learn how shooting a movie works, what the rules on a set are, and, and, and… Thank you so much, Jo! The rest of the crew were super nice people, too… The director Florian Gallenberger was very nice and calm, the assistant directors were very nice, too, and the rest of the international crew also. We had germans, french, chinese and japanese working in the team. And our 2nd unit director was from India, how cool is that. I love it when so many cultures work together. Now that the movie has opened and many people will hopefully go and see it, […]

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Olympia: Opening Ceremony images faked?!

Wow, this is pretty interesting. Jetzt fand die Zeitung “Beijing Shibao” doch noch das Haar in der Suppe: Das Feuerwerk, diese Kunstform mit so großer Tradition in China, war gefälscht. Zumindest ein Teil davon. Ein Angestellter der Video-Produktionsfirma “Shui Jing Shi” gab gegenüber dem Blatt zu, dass man einen Teil der spektakulären Feuerwerke zuvor aufgezeichnet und in die weltweiten Live-Übertragungen eingespielt habe. Es handelt sich dabei um die Bilder von den “Fußabdrücken” im Himmel über der Stadt, die sich vom Stadtteil Yongdingmen südlich des Stadtzentrums auf das Stadion im Norden “zubewegten”. Mehr als ein Jahr lang seien diese Sequenzen mit Computeranimation vorbereitet worden. Nur die Übertragung des letzten der 29 Fußstapfen sei live gewesen, wie der Video-Mitarbeiter Gao Xiaolong der Zeitung berichtete. Die Zahl 29 stand dabei für die Tatsache, dass die Olympischen Spiele der Neuzeit zum 29. Mal stattfinden. That’s a quote from the magazine “Spiegel” in Germany. Translation: The chinese newspaper “Beijing Shibao” found out, that part of the TV images from the opening ceremony were fake: The part, where footsteps in form of fireworks walk towards the stadium have been animated at least a year in advance, the magazine was told by an employee named Gao Xiaolong […]

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New HDR’s.

It’s been a long time since I last posted some of my images here. I’m trying to upload at least 5 new works every week to flickr, but recently I’ve fallen a bit behind – there’s much business stuff going on at the moment and I’ve to take care of a visiting family member, too. But I managed to squeeze in some time here and there for some new pics in the last weeks and here they are! Enjoy. This is the new CCTV building in Beijing. It was supposed to be finished before the Olympics but that didn’t work out too well. So now they try to finish it by 2009, as far as I know. Here are some shots that I took in Parma, while visiting my sister. They are some months old, but I never got around until recently to edit the hell out of them. Parma is a nice little city, these were taken downtown. The food there, especially the bacon and cheese, are uber delicious. My sister got a new dog just two weeks before we arrived… She’s such a cutie, so here are three images from Agatha. Last picture from Europe: Switzerland. We went […]

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Shanghai crippled by Olympia.

My brother’s in town during his summer vacation, and that was reason enough to visit a fake market yesterday. He wants to stock up on some nice things. We went to the nearest one on Nanjing road, but were shocked to learn that Olympia has reached even to there. No watches available. No DVD’s. No fake iPhones. Nada. Of course, they have insane amounts of faked T-Shirts and other cheap stuff, but it felt liked a half-hearted fake market. And the shop keepers seemed kind of silent – I was asked to ‘looky looky’ only three times, and we spend almost an hour there. Weird. Really weird. And police! We passed police guys like three or four times. The security seems rather strong there at the moment, too. So we only bought half of what we wanted, we didn’t find any fake Nike shoes (what!), only these fugly Crocs everywhere and 90’s Converse sneakers. Back to the future, baby. I wonder what the shopkeepers eat during Olympia, their income will probably be pretty low. Then we went to two different DVD stores, while I really want that new Angelina Jolie movie WANTED my brother wanted some TV-series. WANTED is out […]

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China University Horror: Gamble For Your Future.

My wife’s cousin from Xi’An arrived yesterday. She’s with us for a couple of days to brush up her english. My wife told me in the beginning that this will help her to get into a Hong Kong university. But by now I’ve found out much more about this topic, and it’s really scary what’s going on. In Europe, or at least Germany, you kind of have two years to prove how good you are. The exam scores of the last two school years are more or less deciding to what kind of university you can go to. Here in China, a two day long exam decides your future. It’s held in the last month of your last year in school. That’s nuts, in my humble opinion! Let’s say you’re a good student in China. You learn hard and well. But you’re nervous easily. So you go to the university exam for two days and you’re so nervous that you mess it up. Then it’s over! You can either spend another year and repeat the test, or you can apply for 2nd or 3rd grade universities. And here’s the horror: Chinese companies value you much more then in other countries […]

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Terrorism in China?

Going through my RSS feeds, I just saw the article “Turkestan Islamic Party takes credit for Shanghai and Kunming bus blasts, and warns of more to come; China denies claims” published on Shanghaiist. (…) this latest video issued by a certain Turkestan Islamic Party (…) sent a tingle down our spine. In it, a Commander Seyfullah claims credit for the following, according to an AFP report: the May 5 Shanghai bus explosion which killed three; another Shanghai attack (not sure which one exactly); an attack on police in Wenzhou on July 17 using an explosive-laden tractora bombing of a Guangzhou plastic factory on July 17 and the July 21 bombings of three buses in Kunming and Minshan in Yunnan Province Scares the shit out of me. Is China the new America? […]

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How Sinico S.p.A. and a chinese friend cheated me.

I was comfortable moving to Shanghai in 2005 because I knew I had work there. Selling machines from Europe to China. Eventually, in 2006, we build up a partnership with the italian company Sinico S.p.A. – they produce tube processing automation machines. Machines, that cut long tubes in small parts and make them ready for use with operations such as facing and chamfering. These machines are great for the chinese market, since they replace manual labor, and manual labor has horrible accuracy and speed. So, in the first year, we spend most of the time searching for potential customers, as it is normal. We collected all the customers, we traveled to them and introduced our machine, we spend a lot of time and money for Sinico. We, that was my colleague Nick Zhang (张红军), and myself. Nick was already working for my father’s company when I moved to Shanghai. Before joining my fathers company, he was teaching english in schools. Originally he is from the Henan province, but he moved around China before settling down in Shanghai. Anyway, in September 2007, we finally signed the first contract. A big customer in the north decided to buy one of Sinicos machines. […]

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