The Visual Effects Research Lab : Herding Cats to Infinity
In the paper I outline the current findings of the research undertaken at the VERL. The three-year project links the worlds of film, art, technology and computer science. In sharing methodologies and promoting cross, trans and inter disciplinary understanding the project challenges established notions of visual thought and creates new synergies between scientists, artists, and film-makers. In 1985 painter David Hockney was invited by Quantel to experience its TV computer graphics system Paintbox. Hockney worked for 8 hours nonstop creating artworks with the ‘tablet’ and ‘pen’ set up. He described the system as like ‘painting with light’. In the spirit of Quantel’s project VERL and Creative Scotland invited artists to propose fantastical moving image projects un-realizable with incumbent technology. VERL worked with the four selected artists to shoot high resolution (up to 4K) and post-produce in Nuke and Maya a series of innovative film projects for cinematic exhibition. The projects pushed the lab’s facilities and team to its limits creating impossible ornithological stunts, buildings rising from burning embers, real and imagined robots and visceral fantasy worlds. This project has had a great deal of publicity in the National and International media, and has been widely acknowledged to be of great significance to the European research community in film media. The UK Film Council, Broadcast Magazine, OFCOM Scotland, The European Union RDF, Nordmedia Germany and Film Fyn Denmark have all quoted findings from the project. It was awarded “Best Practice in Media / Science” at the Creative City Challenge Awards 2011 in Bremen Germany.