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How A Chinese Animation Studio Uses An American ‘Robot’ Director

The BBC created this video profile of Beijing, China-based animation studio Light Chaser Animation, which is one of numerous companies in China that is aiming to create high-end Hollywood-quality CGI. The company was founded by Gary Wang, who was a founder of Tudou, China’s equivalent of YouTube.

One of the coolest things about the video was seeing the company’s futuristic ‘telepresence robot’ American animation director in action:


The accompanying BBC article described how the robot, which is a mobile platform with an iPad, is used at the studio:

The wi-fi controlled device can move around the company’s offices and it allows animation director Colin Brady—who lives in Los Angeles and did not want to move to China—to communicate with the rest of the team in Beijing.

He says he uses the robot more than he initially expected to. “During meetings and interviewing new employees, it is very helpful to look people in the eye and then look at their screen,” says Mr Brady. “It is very weird to be a robot that can roll around independently and surprise people at their desks, but that’s a little bit of the fun part too.” The best thing for him about using it is it allows him to spend more time at home.

His assistant Mo Chen says: “It’s a bit scary when Colin suddenly shows up from behind, but thankfully, this doesn’t happen a lot.” But she says she does not find it weird talking to Colin through the device, since she is used to using Apple’s Facetime app.

Below you can take a look at Light Chasers’ first project, Little Yeyos, which is about “seven little spirits living in the mythological Chinese spirit world who wander about only at night.”