Featured Member: Dave Blackburn
DREW YOU TO THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS?
I got my start in new media in 1992 by using 3D animation
and modeling software for engineering projects. Interested in different applications in medicine,
architecture, city planning and entertainment, I left my career as an engineer
to work as a consultant in the emerging business of real time 3D
applications. I wanted to
see where the world of visualization and real time immersive interfaces was
going. As I started to learn about
it, I realized I knew more than most of the people in the field.
WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE INDUSTRY?
I worked on my own for 14 years as a consultant and
producer. My practice evolved into expertise in real-time character animation
and motion capture, which got me a VP job with Motion Analysis. They hired me to visit locations in
North and South America to bring their motion capture technology into a variety
of production facilities. Motion
Analysis built and designed their own high fidelity motion capture systems, and
we sold them to TV and film producers, and game/interactive entertainment
DID YOU START OUT AS A PRODUCER?
In 2000, I created a digital co-host for Martin Short for
the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences annual awards event at the Los
Angeles Biltmore Bowl – the first live, virtual co-host of a live awards
show. Over the years, I worked
with client The Jim Henson Company evolving the HDPS, a completely motion
capture- and performance-driven real-time CG animation system. They put together the most
sophisticated virtual character live production system in existence. Puppeteers used the technology to
drive a virtual character's facial animation and voice, rather than a physical
puppet. Body performers in Motion
Capture suits worked in concert with the puppeteers. When it matured, the
system was used to produce Sid, The Science Kid a Jim Henson/KCET
collaboration TV show that won numerous awards.
LED YOU TO JOIN THE PGA?
I hadn’t heard of the PGA, but my role as
Executive Producer of fastpitch remote broadcasting efforts got me the credits
to join in 2005, under the urgings of my PGA sponsor Julie Klein. I went to screenings and
workshops and stayed connected.
YOU TALK ABOUT THE VOLUNTEER/COMMITTEE WORK YOU DO FOR THE GUILD?
got involved with the PGA Camera Assessment Committee, in its early evolution,
and I would like to continue being involved with PGA-related Committee work in
the future, where my skills and 20 years entertainment industry experience can
be utilized appropriately.
PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?
On August 26th, 2010, everything changed for me
as a result of a horrific car accident.
With 27 broken bones, 2 collapsed lungs, and a bruised heart, among
numerous other complications, I
spent 64 days in a trauma center in Phoenix, then another 52 days at Kaiser
Hospital in Hollywood, followed by 100 days at the Hancock Park Rehabilitation
Center in LA. I'm still in a wheelchair. My job went away while I recovered. Fourteen months later, the job is gone and I’m looking to
ease back into my next professional position. I’m a PGA member still and I still produce the Fastpitch
World Championships. This year I
was inducted into the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame during this
year's annual World Championship event.
HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INTERESTING PROJECTS, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
I was an early proponent and evangelist of performance
animation before anyone knew what it was.
I was experimenting with it back in 1993. Now it’s on the big screen and it’s fabulous. Avatar was a brilliant movie, but it
was disappointing in the way that the PR people made it seem like Cameron
invented all the technology. He
gave us a modern vision and now Tintin is pushing it further. The movie
includes one continuous 10-minute cut of an escape from a city that’s totally