For the past few years I’ve been the CTO of a division of Sony Pictures heading up Imageworks, Animation, and more recently Colorworks and Post Production. Before this time, I’d had opportunities to lead large teams on movies, but had never served in an executive position. These notes are mostly for myself, but hopefully someone else will benefit as well.
A few great quotes from the excellent book by Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.
“There is nothing quite like ignorance combined with a driving need to succeed to force rapid learning.”
“Believe me, you don’t want to be at a company where there is more candor in the hallways than in the rooms where fundamental ideas or matters of policy are being hashed out.”
Making a major blockbuster movie takes a lot of work. How much?
At this year’s Academy Scientific And Technical Achievement Awards show, OpenColorIO was among 19 other winners. If you haven’t heard of OpenColorIO, it’s a color management framework that makes managing color for cinema and video much more straightforward for engineers and artists alike. It’s been adopted by most of the major 2d and 3d applications for our business and has been a bit of a game-changer in terms of simplifying color workflows around the world.
This weekend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Steve LaVietes, Jeremy Selen and Brian Hall an Academy Award for their work on Imagework’s Katana. Not surprisingly, it was a fantastic night.
When I was in 5th grade I dissected a frog. Today we dissected a hard drive.
We found an old 80gb hard drive and decided to turn it into a learning experiment this morning. My girls had never seen a hard drive outside of a computer before and hadn’t particularly thought about what caused the sounds a computer makes when it’s loading something.
It turns out, we cannot be trusted to pack a box.
It started simple enough with a goal to pack our CD’s for our upcoming move. The first distraction was sorting through the CD’s to make sure to avoid moving anything we’re never going to listen to again–naturally it would be a terrible waste to move a few 3 ounce objects for nothing. Now however, it has digressed into sorting them into “his” and “hers” collections, digitizing every album that made it through the first gauntlet and finding appropriate digital artwork to go with each and every CD. This, for music we mostly haven’t thought about in the last 7 years.
The above snapshot is my stack that remains to be digitized tonight. Part of it actually.
At this rate, we’ll be ready to move in about 10 years. But, we will be very organized.
Last week a number of the supervisors from Imageworks took a few hours to get hands-on with the latest stereo rigs and equipment. Stereo Supervisor Rob Engle led the group through some prepared material and facilitated a discussion that continued through the morning.
Many of the supervisors at Sony Pictures Imageworks have already worked on one or more stereo films. This made the discussion and the experimenting with the rigs all the more interesting.
Academy Award winning VFX supervisor Scott Stokdyk at the stereo controls. Even if you know exactly how you want to dial the inter-axial and convergence, it takes a bit of rehearsal to get used to the controls.
After a few hours on stage, the team returned to the screening room to review the results and talk about the merits of the various experiments.
It’s rare to be able to get that kind of group together in a room for a few hours to discuss and experiment with the latest in an evolving technology. Certainly one of the perks of my job.