Digital Creative Network West: Oct 23 Showcase Recap

Last month, Upstream in collaboration with West London Business and the Creative Enterprise Zone had our Digital Creative Network west event, kindly hosted by ITV Studios.

We were all left in awe by the fascinating talks from our five speakers, well technically four (read to the end to understand why). 

Here are the key takeaways from our speakers.

Peter Russell, Director of Technology @ITV Studios

Peter started as a runner  25 years ago.. His role has evolved  along with that of ITV’s. Peter highlighted the company’s embrace of innovation, especially with their streaming platform  ITVX  (launched end of 2022) which is now reaching over 2 billion streams.

ITV Studios encompasses 29 studio labels, spanning diverse genres, both acquired and initiated by the company. Internationally, ITV Studios has 22 companies, a testament to its expansive reach. Peter acknowledges the substantial business changes within the last few years, particularly the relocation to White City to its more compact and technologically sophisticated office.

He also mentioned the use of Elon Musk’s Starlink system, revolutionising connectivity for their productions in challenging locations like Ukraine and Tasmania.

“Generative AI is set to be a massive part of ITV”

Caitriona McAllister, Creative Technologist & Digital Designer @Seeper

Caitriona shared her transition from the fine arts to her current role as a creative technologist (CT) and digital designer. 

She emphasised the demand for individuals bridging the gap between creative vision and technical execution. CT’s role involves taking a project from concept to execution, ensuring a seamless and efficient storytelling experience for the audience.

We all know about immersive experiences within the art industry e.g Van Gogh’s exhibition, Caitriona explained, it goes beyond art and design, extending into various industries such as entertainment, gaming, healthcare and wellness.

As creative technologists, we’re storytellers. Collaboration is key, as we navigate through different fields, ensuring the story is efficient and resonates with diverse audiences.” 

Shahwali Shayan (Shaya), Founder @Shahnanigans

Shaya explained his incredible journey from a non-artistic and non-technological background, studying business to becoming a creative technologist, augmented reality (AR) creator, and the founder of Shahnanigans, a boutique creative studio.

The fascination of AR filters on social media, led him to join Instagram’s beta program. Quickly gaining popularity, he transitioned from a hobbyist to a sought-after AR creator, securing his first client within three weeks. AR became a career turning point, propelling Shaya to open up his own studio which successfully combines commercial success with an artistic approach, evident in collaborations with major brands and influencers. 

Shaya’s innovative ‘Ghosts of My Past’ installation in Tate Modern utilises 3D scans of handmade objects and digital design elements, allowing visitors to explore a digital collage anchored in the physical space. His installation further showcases the transformative impact of AR in cultural and artistic contexts. You can also experience it in Paris at the Eiffel Tower. 

Rafael Ceribelli, Creative Director @ScriPitch

Rafael shared his insights as a Creative Director at ScriPitch, emphasising the role of ScriPitch as a development hub for bringing scripts to life. Drawing from his unique perspective as a filmmaker and data analyst, he injected a dose of scepticism about the overhyped promises of generative AI in the creative process.

Rafael argues that while data is valuable, it lacks the human spirit found in art, expressing concern that studios, driven by financial motives, risk devaluing the creative essence of the industry. He advocates for the preservation of art’s significance and the necessity of respecting creatives as irreplaceable contributors.

ScriPitch’s focus on personal connections over algorithms promises a return to the basics.

Kevin Doogan, Head of Operations @iGeneMedia

iGene Media is a post-production company used to place virtual effects, and collaborating solutions for Hollywood majors and streaming platforms,

Kevin’s talk delved into the transformative impact of AI technology, particularly on the visual effects in the film industry. It emphasised the need for the industry to view AI as a tool for progress rather than as a threat. He also mentioned the challenges of maintaining believability in film effects for adults, and how technology plays a pivotal role in achieving this. The speech continued to ramble on about embracing the use of AI. 

In a dramatic twist, Kevin concluded his speech by tearing up his script, revealing it was written by AI, then made a bold statement, When does AI become art? Not at all,” highlighting the distinct roles of technology and human creativity.

The Digital Creative Network West event left us with a great appreciation for the dynamic fusion of creativity and technology. 

Watch the recap video below.

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