From the beginning it’s been about the full visual experience for me rather than just what’s on the screen. It’s my background in theatre and arts technical delivery and the fact that I’ve grown up and worked with visual media for a while now that’s made me look at the complete event and not just individual aspects of a show.
Because my career originated in theatre, this meant that I always looked at the full experience of the audience, made up from all of its component parts such as lighting, sound, set and playback. It came as quite a shock when I first moved into the ‘corporate’ world and found that these elements were not as ‘joined up’ as I was used to. It’s much better these days but there are still occasions where the first time that the complete visual experience is looked at is when the different disciplines arrive on site.
It was a natural progression moving from the technical side in theatre to the management of an interactive media centre in Tamworth where we did pretty much everything from DTP to running rehearsal spaces through to live events. I even broke out into computer programming, but it’s these different skills that all have a part in what I do today. These assorted disciplines, combined with my knowledge of media playback and stage lighting all have a place in creating theatrical experiences for live events. It’s the synthesis of understanding performance, amalgamated with technical knowledge that helps me deliver the vision of artistic and creative directors – and often in translating their creative language into that spoken by the ‘technical’ world.
It was in these early days that I initially worked closely with Jan Hüwel (ex ceo at Coolux GMBH, now executive director at ioversal GmbH) and the guys from Coolux. We tended to look at things in a similar way, feeling that because lighting and video were treated as totally separate disciplines this meant they didn’t always marry up properly. We recognised that all that was needed was different skill sets to enable lighting and video to talk cohesively to each other.
Sharing a similar thought process with people like the team at Coolux, and now with those at disguise definitely inspires me. I like to push boundaries and there are many creative people out there who aren’t afraid to take on a challenge. It’s these risk-taking people that are combining technology, audio, video and lighting and using them in a way people don’t expect that can make experiences magical. They’re the ones that I tend to gravitate towards.
I’m also a great daydreamer. I do long car journeys which allows my mind to wander. Quite often something seemingly completely unconnected will trigger an idea in my head allowing me to come to a solution to an AV conundrum. The other day I saw a kids wind turbine responding to a breeze which initiated an idea about how flags in a piece of video content could respond to real world influences such as wind strength.
It was in one of my rare moments of ‘resting’ that I saw ITR were looking for help in some projection mapping and media server work at an open day they were organising. Fairly soon after the open day ITR founded Immersive AV and I joined them as technical director. Six months later I was asked to take on the role of md. I’d previously been technical director and media consultant to companies such as XL Video (PRG) and Creative Technology.
Set apart from the competition
Joining Immersive AV has given me an outlet for my creative maverick attitude and it’s part of the basis for this partnership with disguise. We like to provide the creative solution to the technical question, concentrating primarily on the fantastic end result and working back from there. That end result can easily vary from a large scale event to a different way for people to experience a stand at an exhibition. We aim to apply the same ethos to all sizes of experience.
We always begin with a brief of the creative project first prior to working on the software or hardware required. We take each project as an individual and independent entity. We believe that technology can be fitted around it rather than the other way round. For example, if you can use a standard burglar alarm sensor to trigger content rather than a complex tracking system then do that – although we do complex tracking as well! We are project driven rather than technology driven and don’t shoehorn technology and expense in to the detriment of creativity. One size doesn’t fit all even if the brief looks incredibly similar to another from the outset.
I believe, that from the client’s point of view, the recognition that we are now partnered with disguise definitely contributes to Immersive’s credibility. But it also helps us to focus on what we do best. We are not a rental house – we are an integral part of the creative workflow.
And I believe It also brings Immersive AV experience into disguise. The partnership enables both companies to explore integration that we may not have had access to otherwise, combining our extensive experience of interaction with real world events with disguise playback power. It offers work outside of large touring shows, providing a diversification of projects across all markets from installations to live events, wherever and whenever they are.