CENTRO Digital Pictures has been creating a reputation over the past years for excellence in digital post-production and multimedia. Centro has often been called the ILM of Asia, an appellation that is quite close to the truth. Centro was founded 10 years ago by John Chu and specialises in television commercials, corporate presentations, special effects for films and just about anything else that requires the special talent and equipment needed to manipulate digital images. There is just about every modern piece of electronic equipment you can image at Centro's offices in Kowloon Tong. The hardware and software alone is worth more than $70 million. The latest edition to this extraordinary collection of hi-tech toys is Domino, a system developed by Quantel for editing films. The Domino system was first used in the film Stargate for some of its special effects and has been well received by many of the people who have been using it. If it becomes really popular it could encroach on some of the territory normally dominated by Silicon Graphics. Centro used the Domino in a collaborative effort with Golden Harvest to create the ultra special effects needed for the film The Umbrella Story. The film is a sentimental tear-jerker about the 100-year history of a company that makes umbrellas. The story is based on a real company and many Hong Kong Chinese will be familiar with the events in the film. The story is not likely to be all that appealing to the non-Chinese viewer and the style of the writing and acting does seem to lay things on a bit thick. If one is looking for something subtle, then it will almost certainly be found in the way the technology is handled, not the people. Along with the hi-tech, Centro has also put up a World-Wide Web page on the Internet to show off both itself and the film. The site can be found at http://www.centro.com.hk/ . The executive director of corporate development for Centro, Emil Fung, said: 'We are experimenting with many different things on our Web page.' The story begins back in the Qing dynasty and comes right up to 1986, when the company finally closed. It does not take a great deal of imagination to realise how difficult it would be to try and recreate the Hong Kong of a few years ago, much less the Hong Kong of 30 or 40 years ago. Centro had to go out and obtain scores of old film footage of Hong Kong and then, with the help of digital technology, put modern actors in the frames. This was done to great effect in the recent American film, Forest Gump, where the hero meets and speaks to a number of now dead but famous personalities.