News Reel & Blog

Written by Daniel Kirby on 31st July 2016

vr headset siggraph

This year's Siggraph conference is now over, and we've taken a look at some of the big stories from the event.

Siggraph is the most significant animation and interactive conference worldwide, covering a whole host of topics over four days. On the exhibition floor, legions of companies from engineering, graphics, motion picture and video game industries set up shop, and with over 14,000 people in attendance at this years event, they had an impressive audience.

The event offers a first look at new projects and technologies,  breakdowns of the effects used in major blockbuster movies and a range of interactive exhibits. Interestingly the event also sees many research papers presented, as the event  is also seen as a highly prestigious forum for the publication of computer graphics research.

As with recent Siggraph conferences, virtual reality featured heavily this year, with a range of immersive demonstrations on offer on the exhibition floor, especially in the 'VR Village' as you would probably expect.

One of the most well received of these was the 'Synesthesia Suit', which aims to give the wearer highly realistic sensations whilst they are in virtual reality environments. This is achieved through the use of dozens of vibrating actuators, which the producers of the suit call 'vibro-tactile sensations'.

Elsewhere at the event there was a remarkable ‘real-time’ demonstration, which saw British company Ninja Theory, in collaboration with several other companies, present their performance capture technology which will be used on their upcoming game ‘Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice’. Using their technology they were able to shoot and edit scenes for their game to release quality in just a matter of minutes, a process which would otherwise have taken many weeks to achieve.

Overall the event was a major success and a hugely enjoyable experience according to those who were fortunate enough to attend.  There was a highly positive atmosphere at the conference as the industry experiences an unprecedented number of jobs and rapid technological developments, and it will be interesting to see how announcements and demos from the event begin to make their way into the public eye over coming months.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 25th July 2016

robot wars premiere bbc2

Robot Wars returned to BBC2 last night, achieving an impressive 2 million viewers, a figure greater than that achieved by the series finale of Top Gear.

The episode was followed by the first episode of Dragons' Den, which achievd 2.9 million viewers and rounded off a successful night for the channel.

With both series having just commenced, BBC2 looks to have secured a winning combination for Sunday nights.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 14th July 2016

RTS Futures Summer Party 2016

Yesterday evening Searchlight were able to attend a great event put on by the Royal Television Society. The event was held at Kings Place, which looks out on Regents Canal, and centred around a talk featuring several renowned producers and directors working in the television industry.

The host was Toby Earle, who writes for the Evening Standard as well as working as a journalist and broadcaster at London Live, and the speakers were as follows:

Emeka Onono. Series producer and director

Soleta Rogan.  MD, Rogan Productions

Daisy Scalchi.  Senior development producer

Nic Stacey. Writer, producer and director

The key topic of the discussion was quite simple, Toby simply went around the panel asking each speaker to describe a mistake that they had made in their career and what they had learned from it. This turned out to be a brilliant choice of topic for a talk, as the resulting stories were both informative and amusing, and also allowed the budding producers and directors in the audience the chance to see that these highly successful individuals are not infallible. It immediately made them relatable to those of us in the audience and we were glad to get such an insight into the tough world of TV production.

Overall it was a great night and we're looking forward to the next one!

Written by Daniel Kirby on 12th July 2016

In an annual research report published by Ofcom yesterday, it was announced that viewing of paid-for video-on-demand services such as Amazon and Netflix has more than tripled in just two years.

On the other hand, overall daily viewing of live TV has dropped by nearly half an hour per person in the past five years, with the most siginificant drop occurring among those ages between 16 and 24 years old, for whom live TV viewing figures fell by more than a quarter.

Ofcom have explained that this has resulted in a 'widening gap' between the viewing practices of younger and older viewers, with those over 65 seeing almost no change in their viewing habits. Currently traditional live TV accounts for only 36% of total viewing activity for 16-24 year olds, whilst for over-65s this figure is 83%.

Elsewhere in the report it was announced that BBC, ITV, and Channels 4 and 5 have seen their share of audiences fall, dropping to 70.7% of TV viewing last year - down from 77.2% 10 years ago.

Written by Daniel Kirby on 4th July 2016

Chris Evans has quit Top Gear just one day after the conclusion of the first series.

The series was fraught with controversy and criticism, with Evans facing allegations of bullying and misconduct, and more recently reports that co-presenter Matt LeBlanc had threatened to leave the show if Chris Evans did not step down.

chris evans quits top gear

The show also saw a significant drop in ratings compared to the previous series, and the BBC will no doubt be hoping that refreshing the presenters will help restore a balance to the flagging show.

Current reports suggest that the remaining presenters will be returning for the next series, which is due to begin filming in September.