Reflections on SIRT Conference
A recent opportunity allowed me to make new friends up in the Toronto area. Sheridan College and the SIRT Centre (Screen Industries Research and Training Centre) invited me to represent the Previsualization Society and speak on its educational mandate. In addition to my talk on the types of previsualization, I participated on a panel discussing the interaction between previsualization artists and the rest of the production crew. Two other Society representatives were present. Ron Frankel from Proof gave an interesting talk on his experiences with the Previzion system from Lightcraft and David Morin supplied his usual speaking sophistication to the event's keynote lecture.
The event was held in the Pinewood Toronto Studios facility. John Helliker and his team did a tremendous job of transforming one of Pinewood's sound stages for the event. The space was nicely divided up into a lounge space, vendor booth areas, a motion capture volume, and the main speaking stage.
Viacon Mocap Volume
There was a great array of speakers. I particularly enjoyed Parag Havaldar's overview of Sony's virtual production pipeline. Starz Animation's Rob Burton gave us a sneak peak at his company's live action / CG hybrid production Lovebirds, and the various motion capture demonstrations showing the value of virtual cinematography were presented by Jimmy Corvan (Viacon), Jarrod Kozeal (Vicon), Jeff Beavers, Rob Aitchison (Autodesk) and Brian Gedge.
Events like these are very important. Not only are they a venue for new technologies and production techniques, but they also play a critical role in emphasizing the value previsualization provides to any production. Previsualization not only provides effective planning and conceptual sequence design to large scale vfx films, but it also seems to awaken the sleeping director within. So many people seem to instinctively gravitate towards previs because previs is at a stage where it can act as a doorway to those wishing to break into the film, game and television industries. In other words, previs makes the idea of filmmaking accessible to all. This is being further emphasized and reinforced by the advent of Virtual Production. Granted, films like Avatar give the impression that Virtual Production and previs is only a game for the financially equipped, but I would suggest otherwise. People see the potential of these technologies and techniques and want a piece of the action. I intend to expand on the differences between these to disciplines in another blog post.
After the event on Thursday, a group of us went out to dinner. Being in Toronto, we came to the quick conclusion that a trip up the CN Tower was in order. This is quite a structure and the views were spectacular. I must admit that the "revolving" aspect of the restaurant at 1500 to 1600 feet left a little bit to be desired, but the food was fantastic. Thank you to all who participated, particularly those who picked up the tab.