All Speakers

Sydney

David Zwierzchaczewski

David Zwierzchaczewski

Animation Specialist & Application Engineer

Autodesk

David Zwierzchaczewski has been working in the Film/ TV and games industry for over 15 years. Trained as a traditional 2D animator David quickly transitioned over to 3D where he moved up through the production ranks to direct several projects. Some of the recent project he has been involved in are Civilisation V, Dark Siders II, Saints Row the Third, L.A. Noire He is now the resident 3D specialist at Autodesk, where he is on the BETA development teams for Maya, 3DS Max, MudBox and Motion Builder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9XqguB-cFE

David Zwierzchaczewski's Presentation Topic at Convergence

“Reality to Virtual Reality”

It's easier making VR experiences form real world data.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy

Evangelist Unreal Engine

Epic Games, Melbourne

Chris Murphy is an Evangelist for Epic Games and director of Pub Games.With over 10 years of experience using Unreal Engine, a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Bachelor of Multimedia, Chris has a broad skillset across a range of game development disciplines. Chris’ game development credits extend across PC, PS4, iOS and Android.

Most recently Chris worked with Pub Games to release Primal Carnage: Extinction, for PC and PS4, which has the distinctive title of being the first Australian project implementing the Steam Economy for inter-player sales and trading.

Chris’ role as Evangelist for Epic Games is to help independent game developers build successful games with Unreal Engine 4 through support, training and education.

Chris will be running a 2hr workshop titled "Creating Epic VR Games" in the afternoon at Convergence as part of the Immersive Symposium.

Simon Che de Boer

Simon Che de Boer

Creative Director & Founder

realityvirtual.co

realityvirtual.co is an Auckland based creative technologies R&D collective with an enthusiast towards the visual realm. - In a nutshell, we are streamlining VFX & capture technologies - allowing us to deliver presence in many forms, a ‘being there’ sensation. Truly an absolute godsend for foreign clients, innovative viral VR / video marketing strategies & end-user experiences alike.

realityvirtual.co primary focus is towards the development of immersive media' technologies. All interrelated, these covers a host of fields: Semi autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV & Drone) cinematography, industry typology surveying utilizing ground station way point navigation, HDR video, stunning in-motion timelapse techniques, FPV (first person view), head tracking stereoscopic 360° cinematic capture, in-motion 4D photogrammetry techniques and virtual reality (VR) cinematography/simulations. Our ethos is driven towards the cutting-edge as we are continuously employing new drone and production techniques alike.

Damian Candusso

Damian Candusso

Associate Professor, School of Communication & Creative Industries

Charles Sturt University

Damian provides a unique nexus between industry practice and research in sound and immersive media. He has extensive expertise working at the pinnacle of the film, television, music and non-traditional screen industries. Notable screen credits include: The LEGO Movie, The Great Gatsby, Australia, and 79th Academy Award winning Happy Feet. Damian has been nominated and awarded at both national and international levels including: the Centenary Medal, awarded on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen for his Contribution to Australian Society, the City of Los Angeles Certificate of Recognition and many peer reviewed awards. Damian has also served on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), a first for an Australian.

As a Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University, Damian provides innovative research solutions for industry. Damian's research includes sound design and interactive sound spatialisation for 3-D film, 360 film and Virtual Reality. More details can be found on his CSU staff page and on Imdb.

Damian Candusso's Presentation Topic at Convergence

"Heightening Realities: Spatial Sound for Immersive Media"

There is much attention directed towards the visual aspect of 360º film and Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Realities. However, there has been limited consideration given to the application of sound in these new mediums. This presentation considers a practice-led approach to the creation of a soundtrack specifically for these emerging mediums by giving equal importance to the design of a sonically rich and a spatially immersive soundtrack. In combination with the immersive visual experience, only then can a visceral immersive experience be achieved.

The presentation explores employing and adapting contemporary linear film sound design and game sound design practices to create a soundtrack for the new realities from capture, editing and to publication.

Mathew Tizard

Mathew Tizard

Creative Technologist

Google Global Creative Team (ZOO) APAC

After an academic background in AI, and a decade of making things for the web at Yahoo and elsewhere, Mat slipped and fell into advertising by accident, working at at Australian and New Zealand agencies such as TBWA, Colenso BBDO and Shine.

At Shine Mat was responsible for reinventing the phonograph for The Beck's Edison Bottle project and creating interactive street posters, utilising conductive ink. Previously, at Colenso, he was instrumental in several award-winning projects including Westpac's Impulse Saver, Mountain Dew's "Beyond The Wall" and The V Motion Project.

He has been working in Google's Zoo team in Sydney as Creative Technologist since 2014.

Michael Ritchie

Michael Ritchie

MD / Executive Producer & Principal

Revolver / RevLover

Michael Ritchie is the Managing Director/ Executive Producer and Principal of Revolver, an Australian based production company known for its commitment to produce both original and innovative, high end work.

Michael's career began in the mid 80s, where he worked his way to a sought out position as Head Of Television at Ogilvy in Sydney, at the age of 25. After 10 years on the agency side and a successful stint working as a Regional Head Of Television at DDB in Hong Kong, Michael moved in to production joining Sydney based Pod Film, where he was made partner in 1997. In his time with the company, Michael saw Pod grow to become one of the most innovative production companies in the region at that time.

1999 saw his most successful collaboration, with director Steve Rogers, when he joined Revolver. Since then Michael has received pretty much every international award there is, in the way of recognition at Cannes, D&AD, Clio, One Show and AWARD. He has twice been approached by Baz Luhrman, to produce the only advertising campaigns Baz has ever done - one of which was the Chanel No.5 film, starring Nicole Kidman. He is also the Deputy Chairman of AWARD, the most recognised industry body in this country, and one of the founding members of the Commercial Producers Council.

In 2010 Michael also co-founded and became Managing Director of Will O'Rourke, a sister production company to Revolver - which concentrates on content and brand funded alternatives – and was awarded the coveted Grand Prix at Cannes and a further two Grand Prix at Spikes for its work on the NAB 'Break Up' campaign. Michael has forged international alliances with some of the most influential production companies in the world, from Biscuit Filmworks in Los Angeles, to Sonny in London. He has produced work for the entire range of clients, as well as producing music video's for the likes of Radiohead, The Presets and Beck.

Chris Rollings

Chris Rollings

Executive Producer

Google APAC

Chris started out in England where he worked for some of London's finest Ad agencies. In 2010 he made the move to Sydney, where he joined TBWA and continued to deliver award winning work.

Prior to Joining Google Chris was one of the founding members of R/GA Sydney.

Today Chris leads production across Google Zoo APAC and helps brands realise the creative potential of Google.

Rebecca Bezzina

Rebecca Bezzina

Managing Director

R/GA

Rebecca is R/GA Sydney’s VP Managing Director and a near founding member of the agency, having joined as Client Services Director in 2013 and being instrumental in its rapid growth since.

After a stint as managing director of Cummins & Partners, she returned to R/GA Sydney to take the helm in 2016 where she’s now spearheading new business and relationships, and driving digital transformation for clients.

Prior to R/GA, Rebecca led a number of blue-chip accounts at M&C Saatchi/Mark for over five years. As a trusted strategic partner, she delivered award-winning, transformational work for Google, News Ltd, Nestle and Qantas Frequent Flyer, before bringing Australia’s largest account The Commonwealth Bank to the agency and ushering in their highly successful re-positioning.

Rebecca has had a rapid rise in the industry which also included being awarded Young Direct Marketer of the Year (ADMA) and a Top 30 Under 30 Nomination.

Benjamin Richards

Benjamin Richards

Director of Creative Development & Innovation

Cutting Edge

Benjamin Richards has always been extremely passionate about art, science, technology and the moving image. In the early 90s he saw the culmination of his interests in the form of primitive 3D software which resulted in an award winning animated short and since then, he has been involved in nearly all aspects of film and tv production, winning multiple awards for his VFX work and documentaries.

He worked with Autodesk for 7 years as a technical specialist, living and traveling extensively across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and North America, working with the likes of Weta, Pixar and Lucasfilm on high profile feature films such as Avatar, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars & The Incredibles and games studios such as EA, Ubisoft and Sony on several AAA game titles, as well as with all manner of technology partners.

Benjamin is keenly interested in the future of entertainment and the possibilities new technologies such as AR and VR enable. As Director of Creative Development & Innovation for Cutting Edge, he is at the forefront of an exciting new era of storytelling.

Morgan Lean

Morgan Lean

Director

Epiphany Games

Director of Epiphany Games, creator of many games both computer and other media. World Builder, Programmer & Entrepreneur.

Epiphany Games develops games and game related technologies. We developed the Emergent Games technologies Terrain engine for Lightspeed, we are developing our own Games and looking for other opportunities in the gaming space.Epiphany Games is Australian company with a Studio in Sydney.

Epiphany Games titles include: Blood of Sol, Majestic Nights, Frozen Hearth, Runic Rumble, Aki and Plizkin: Codex of Ancients and Ámorrá: Teigh Suil.

Mathew Hermans

Mathew Hermans

VR CG Supervisor

Electric Lens Co.

Matt is a young veteran of the advertising industry in Australia. Covering the gamut of TVC, Film and installation mediums he has a wide base of experience over the past 15 years. During this time he developed dangerously futuristic workflows at Fuel and Alt VFX while waiting for technology to catch up to his vision.

Over the past couple of years he has finally met with this intersection of Virtual Reality and VFX.

Combining the highly technical discipline of high end VFX and ground breaking game engines he is smashing these together to form 'photo-realism on a real-time budget' and pioneer a new area of immersive story telling.

Luke Bubb

Luke Bubb

Artist / Art Director / Concept Design

Moving Peaks, Byron Bay

Luke is a South African born artist living in Australia working primarily with design, storytelling and emotional experience projects to create original narratives in the Art's, Film and Virtual Reality mediums.

Currently commercial projects involve world building, environment design and art direction for Virtual Reality. Personal projects include abstract expression artworks for a collaborative exhibition and healing concept designs for property developers.

The last 10 years have seen him create work for Australia's award winning studios including AltVFX, FuelVFX, FIN Design, Umeric, Cutting Edge and Method Studios.

His work on Orrery Sequence in Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus gained internationally attention and has been published on sites such as FXguide and in magazines including Cinefex.

Luke’s commercial clients include the BBC, VISA, SBS Travel, MTV, GE, Nokia, NEC, Kirin, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Cadbury, Ford, Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Toyota.

Films include Prometheus, Australia, The Tree, Bedtime Stories, The Spirit, The Square and Tomorrow When the War Began.

Sean Callinan

Sean Callinan

Head of Games

JMC

Always loved to draw, did music, art, acting, singing at school, joined the local amateur theatre, formed a band, tried to find the sweet-spot between prog rock and punk, failed, left school, got sacked from various jobs, became a photographer at the local paper, became a music assistant at the teachers college,  met my wife and moved to Sydney with her, photographed real estate, ran a restaurant darkroom, went to design college, met long-time friends, worked on AFTRS student films, dropped out to start a production company, nearly starved,  did some acting, met a record exec who took pity on us, made videos for bands including INXS, Crowded House & Fleetwood Mac, made a micro-budget weirdo feature film, got nominated for an AFI award, started teaching, fell out with my business partner,  freelanced as a production designer on commercials music videos shorts and features, kept doing graphic design, interactive design, and animation,  got jack of the early hours in film,  decided to be an animator and motion designer and went back to uni, got a Masters,  started teaching more regularly at UTS,  started teaching at JMC,  occasionally get lured back to production design, occasionally still animate,  got offered the Head of Department position at JMC,  here I am!

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

“The digital natives are restless: building resilience and creative flexibility in animation & games”

Will discuss the rapid pace of technological change in these disciplines and what it means for animation and gaming. Some of the preconceptions and knowledge gaps they enter the field with. Will look especially at the type of “first in family” and less academically inclined recruits that we deal with at JMC, and outline a series of key principles that we seek to impart to give them the best chance of making a long-term career in an evolving world of animation, VFX, VR, AR, and whatever is beyond.

Justin Mclean

Justin Mclean

VR Games Developer

CEO ALTA

Mclean is the founder of the IoT Sydney Meetup, a monthly gathering of IoT enthusiasts where attendees can network and share ideas, and hear from businesses who are innovating in the IoT space. The meetup was created following a chance encounter with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, the founder of IoT London. Deschamps-Sonsino suggested to Mclean to start a meetup in Sydneyfollowing from  experience in speaking at conferences about the Arduino platform and open source hardware led him to believe he could make it work. From the beginning in 2013, the group now boasts over 1200 members, and attendance at the monthly meetings has steadily grown in the last few months, encompassing a wide array of professions.

Penny Wong

Penny Wong

Director, Radmis

Technology & Enterprise

Penny has over 15 years of technology consulting experience helping clients (including Optus, Telstra, NSW Gov, Visa, MasterCard & Coles) to deliver digital projects and opportunities underpinned by emerging technologies.

Penny is a co-founder of Radmis, a digital product prototyping & artificial intelligence software company. She studied computer science and holds a Grad Cert of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Master of International Business & Law from the University of Sydney.

Craig Murphy

Craig Murphy

Cloud & IoT Specialist

IBM

An experienced technology advisor/advocate for cloud computing, cloud based applications, virtualisation, backup and disaster recovery. Helping businesses with moving into the cloud, building a cloud strategy and implementing cloud based services and the "Internet of Things" for business applications projects.

Specialist implementation services provided for IBM Power Systems. Long history working with IBM i (iSeries) systems, Audits, Implementation, Management, Migrations, Upgrades and system decommissioning.

Specialties: Technology Evangelist for Cloud Computing, Solution Design for Private - Hybrid - Public cloud, Virtualisation (Xen, VMware, PowerVM) and IBMi (iSeries, AS/400).

Vaughan Knight

Vaughan Knight

Technical Evangelism Lead

Microsoft

Vaughan is a Technical Evangelism Lead at Microsoft, he heads up the team focused on engaging with the developer and IT pro community, whether it be in tech start-ups, ISVs, enterprise, gaming studios or students beginning their careers.

The era of holographic computing is here and Microsoft's HoloLens is next-generation technology enabled by Windows 10 that puts you at the centre of a world that blends holograms with reality. Holograms are the next evolution in computing. With this vision in mind, hardware, software, and design came together to create the first fully untethered holographic computer.

The HoloLens headset is a bold piece of hardware and the most exciting evidence yet that Microsoft is taking wearable tech very seriously. We are very excited to be hosting Lawrence and hearing more about the exciting augmented unteathered holographic computer:  HoloLens.

Steve Lennon

Steve Lennon

Director, Digital Transformation & Data Insights

Robotics & IoT

Serving on the CGI Australia leadership team, Steve’s focus is to guide customers in crafting their vision and roadmap for digital transformation. He partners with business and IT leaders, enabling them to achieve their journey to a more profitable and sustainable future. Innovation, leadership alignment, design thinking, cultural change and business strategy are key capabilities Steve brings to the table, backed by the global resources, end-to-end digital services and value-added IP of CGI.

Steve has been driving the IoT agenda forward at CGI, and in his former global role with Fujitsu, where he acted as a trusted advisor for Fujitsu’s IP owners, engaging with Fujitsu R&D Labs around the world. He has been an active contributor with the IoT Association of Australia since its inception. His role covers the key digital technologies now impacting the business landscape, including IoT, data analytics, Blockchain, AR/MR, robotics, automation and 360˙ customer experience.

Steve has adapted and evolved his unique perspective through senior investment banking, technology, management consulting, creative agency and executive leadership roles across Australia, the US and Europe.

Jed Fisher

Jed Fisher

Cofounder & Managing Partner

4D Pipeline

Jed is a cofounder and Managing Partner of 4D Pipeline, a digital product design and strategy firm which helps startups and global 100's make great products people love. Specializing in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, web, mobile, and 3D visualization. Clients include AMD, AUDI, Intel, BMW Mini, Unity Technologies, VANS, Dassault Systèmes, Simplygon, SolidWorks, Adidas, Xerox PARC, NVIDIA, Honeywell, Nemetschek, VizRT, Toon Boom, Panasonic, Onuma, and many other leading brands.

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

"Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Opportunities for Enterprises"

Jed will be discussing Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Opportunities for Enterprises. How AR/VR/MR can help with design, training, digital marketing and retail sale opportunities. He'll cover Virtual-Reality, Hololens, and Augmented-Reality experiences and share examples from personal experiences and past work and how these technologies have helped his customers.​​

Jed has led product strategy, product development, and companies before, and has significant hands on experience working with high growth companies. ​He has worked extensively with product and app building, 3D computer graphics, manufacturing, AEC, consumer apps, and entertainment/gaming industries.

​Based out of Sydney, Australia.  4D Pipeline has offices in Silicon Valley, Europe, and now Australia.

 

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards

CEO

Verge:VT

Mark is a ground-breaking, dynamic and energetic architect and engineer who has earned two patents and numerous awards over his 25-year career; as CEO of Verge:VT, he brings ideas to life in a compelling photorealistic virtual world and enables us to design, comment on and explore spaces and environments in an engaging, compelling and collaborative way.

Early in Mark's career he created the first ever golf, cricket and tennis simulations for the BBC and Sky TV in the UK and ABC and CBS in the US. His innovation and technology has been purchased by the biggest brands in the world including Unilever, Walmart and Woolworths, and he sold Red Dot Square Solutions, his previous company, to advertising giant WPP in 2009.

Craig Newlyn

Craig Newlyn

Director / Chief UAV Controller / Commercial Pilot CPL

Droneheadz

Craig has an aviation and engineering background and is a fully qualified CASA Instrument Rated Commercial Pilot. As DroneHeadz Chief UAV Controller he brings this knowledge and professionalism into the drone or unmanned aviation industry. These high standards can be seen in our product as well as our well trained staff and compliance to Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

Drones and VR / IoT are a perfect marriage. Craig will have plenty of insights for anyone interested in virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

Stephanie Cholakyan

Stephanie Cholakyan

3D Motion Graphics & FX,

Academy of Interactive Entertainment

3D Artist specializing in 3D Motion Graphics & FX, located in Sydney, Australia.

Stephanie uses Autodesk Maya to create her 3D Motion Graphics & FX work and Pixologic Zbrush for sculpting projects.She's currently working as a 2nd Year Game Art Teacher at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, with previous experience as a 3D Designer at a Defence Simulation company and studies a Master of Design (Animation) part-time.

Eric Fear

Eric Fear

VR Games Developer & Educator

Acedemy Interactive Entertainment

Eric is a dedicated artist and tech-head with a passion for interactivity and entertainment. Coming from a design production background, he focuses on workflows, pipelines, and new technologies.Eric is Game Art Coordinator at AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) and Senior Technical Artist at InspaceVR, and huge Star Wars nerd.

Marc Chee

Marc Chee

Software & Systems Engineer, AI Researcher, Game Developer

Acedemy Interactive Entertainment

Marc has bounced around Academia and Research for the majority of his Software Engineering career. He was working in VR before it was cool, helping design and build large scale interactive visualisation environments. He hopped on to the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon at just about the right time, working on cutting edge research on game playing AI. He now spends his time forcing his accumulated knowledge into other people's brains as a Game Programming Teacher at AIE.

James Dellow

James Dellow

Human-centred designer & technology strategist

Chief Technology Solutions

James is a human-centred designer, applying user-centred design, visual thinking and corporate ethnographic techniques, as a technology strategist. James works end-to-end on projects; from user research to solution architecture and helping businesses get the most from technology.

Rick Pearce

Rick Pearce

Founder / Creative Director

SPECTRE VR

Having started his career daydreaming at Walt Disney Animation Studios which was a life long dream at that point, Rick quickly realized that imagination was a powerful tool to create and inspire. Through many years of discovery Rick developed a passion for film-making and has extensive experience across the entire production life cycle.

He has either shot, edited or developed 3D graphics and visual effects for Australia and New Zealand’s most recognized brands and networks. Virtual reality has been something on his horizon since he first saw "Lawn Mower Man" and now sees it as a conduit to let imagination take the reigns. His passion and flair for photography, motion design and special effects only equal his appetite for science, philosophy and technology.

Michela Ledwidge

Michela Ledwidge

Director

Mod Productions

Michela Ledwidge is an artist and director redefining the space between cinema and interactivity. She has over 20 years pioneering experience including building the first website in NSW, establishing the National Library of Australia’s first web service and creating some of the first VR prototypes with VRML in the mid 90s. In Europe she worked on some of the largest digital productions of the dotcom boom and won Britain’s NESTA Invention award for 'remixable film' in 2004. Returning to Australia she won the inaugural Sydney Film Festival Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award in 2009 and, influenced by modding culture, co-founded Studio Mod in 2010 to focus on her vision for playful storytelling. Michela is a regular contributor to production-based research, development and education, and presents regularly at international conferences including SIGGRAPH.

Recent work includes porting Mod's award-winning immersive interactive cinematic experience, ACO Virtual to room-based VR on the HTC Vive platform, 360 videos for the Rocks Discovery Museum and Mardi Gras 2016, immersive experience, Action Stations for the Australian National Maritime Museum, onboard a submarine and a destroyer, and immersive experience, Power of 1 at Old Parliament House, Canberra.

Patrick Catanzariti

Patrick Catanzariti

Founder

Dev Diner

Patrick "PatCat" Catanzariti is the founder of Dev Diner, a site helping developers navigate the world of emerging tech with a weekly newsletter, interviews with industry pioneers, opinion pieces and guides for various technologies. He is a contributing editor at SitePoint for emerging tech such as the Internet of Things, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, artificial intelligence and more. He is also an instructor at SitePoint Premium and O'Reilly, a Meta Pioneer and a freelance web developer who clearly loves every opportunity to tinker with something new in a tech demo.

PatCat is always happy to help newcomers get started in the industry and believes that the key to entering this new era of emerging technologies successfully is to have as many developers entering the field and sharing their knowledge and experience together. If you have any questions around emerging tech, PatCat is your guy.

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