Dave Blackburn Honored By Producers Guild

December 5, 2011

Los Angeles, CA

December 2011
Member Spotlight: Dave Blackburn
By Elaine Spooner


Executive Producer and Pitcher Dave Blackburn after his International Softball Congress Hall of Fame induction surrounded by 7 members of his live video webcast production team.


"The world of virtual reality is coming together now, but differently than
we thought when I first saw its potential."
Dave Blackburn is an innovator and creative thinker who envisions a future
reality and makes it happen. He got his 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, he decided to leave his 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."
Blackburn soon joined the IICS (the International Interactive Communications
Society, one of the first groups of its kind in the entertainment business)
and started networking. He produced over 75 Virtual Reality Special Interest
Group meetings at the group's meeting place, The Electronic Café in Santa

"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. We sold them to TV and film
producers and game / interactive entertainment studios worldwide."

Other projects followed. In 2000, he 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, Blackburn 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.

Also in 2001, Blackburn brought his passion for fastpitch softball to the
Internet and streaming audio broadcasts of live games. "We were the first to
webcast softball games from remote locations." That was when Blackburn began
his role as Executive Producer with the International Softball Congress, the
organization that manages the annual Men's World Fastpitch Softball
championship Tournament. Today, his live internet production team handles 25
games each year with a streaming video infrastructure that he evolved and
championed. Dave has achieved numerous International softball pitching
records and distinctions in a 35 year playing career that has taken him to
play in 5 foreign countries, as well as all over the United States.

Blackburn's fastpitch webcasting system includes a 4-camera live production
system to cover the games like they do for televised baseball. He uses a
Tri-Caster manufactured by NewTek - a roll your own video production system
in a shoebox-size footprint. It's housed on the desktop of a Press Box at
whatever fastpitch stadium is hosting the ISC World Championships.

On August 26th, 2010, everything changed for him as a result of a horrific
car accident. With 27 broken bones, 2 collapsed lungs, and a bruised heart,
among numerous other complications, he 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. Still in a wheel
chair, he gets out in his Santa Monica neighborhood as much as he can.

"I'm re-inventing myself, literally," he explains. "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 the annual world
championship event."

"I hadn't heard of the PGA, but my executive producer role in 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. While I was healthy, I was a regular. My attendance
has been curtailed until the last 2-3 months because of my recovery, but
I've started going to screenings again."


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