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Video transcript

so when I was in elementary school I mean I studied math like everybody else the the basics that that we learned at school and found that there was there's something about it which you know it was greater than I am it wasn't that one person had decided that this is how it was going to be it was more that collectively we'd kind of slowly come to a better understanding of something that has always been there and so I really appreciated and kind of was in awe of that idea and at the same time I was playing a lot of music I think as a young kid and fascinated in how our ear and our brain and our mind works given all this kind of stimulus coming in so for me it was kind of a natural meeting of these two worlds a little bit of math and a little bit of perception you smash them together and you kind of land in color science before I started working in motion picture film I did some challenging some people would say some silly things I used to engage in a lot of mountaineering high-altitude climbing and on one of these expeditions at high altitude I suffered an injury to the retina on my left eye as a retinal hemorrhage so basically the retina was bleeding and and became damaged and it wasn't painful but during the process I was completely fascinated with what was happening to my visual system I was able to sort of see oh something's not right and this was different and new and then I was able to compare all my left eyes different to my right eye and if I kind of move my head this way I can see these weird things I've never seen before and so it was a weird sense of kind of objective analysis of what was going on despite the fact that it was in some sense as a medical emergency we were far away from hospitals and those kinds of things but that was probably one of the turning points where I recognized that wow I'm really interested in the human visual system and and what what it can and can't do and hopefully we're using that now in a way that's going to help everybody computer systems engineering is the primary degree I studied engineering is less about the specific knowledge and more about more about knowing how to learn at speed so a good portion of the degree is stress testing your ability to learn things you've never thought of before and then really put your assumptions to the test in a hurry so you know I considered the engineering kind of like a mixed bag of tools that can be applied to a lot of different circumstances when I started with Pixar a 35-millimeter film was still very much the predominant distribution format you know we used film projectors you had a xenon lamp and a Sean light through a transparency a color transparency up onto a huge screen the chemistry of the the color of film was very much a black art you know there wasn't very sophisticated and there were few players in the field sort of supplying the materials that we needed and so for us to gain insight into how better to control the color on film it was a real challenge so we went back to first principles we analyzed the film at a really low level I mean we kind of stretched and pushed and pulled it in every possible exposure way possible and measured everything that we could find about the film until we came to I guess a state where we knew more about how to how to influence the film than the people who were selling it to us we were able to do things with it that they didn't even know we're possible I am communicating with the artists the directors of photography the lighting leads and the folks who are responsible for implementing the color decisions of the studio and I'm working with them to better understand what they're trying to achieve often this is you know one to three years in advance of them doing the work they have an idea in their head of what they'd like to try it might be something that no one's ever seen before my job then is to sort of translate those requirements and turn them into a pipeline or a platformer or a set of steps and processes that we can gain confidence is going to work when the clock's ticking we don't have a lot of time to sort of finish this work or to just sort of iterate many times on a creative idea so I kind of build foundation of the pieces necessary to to allow those artists to really express themselves in a way that's repeatable things that are happening in in the world of motion picture film so for on the exhibition side you go to the cinema and there's a digital projector today that's how we that's how we experience our films on the big screen the next generation of digital projectors is using red green and blue lasers to illuminate the scene so all of a sudden we can get these really really saturated colors way out on the spectral locus so the most saturated things that humans can perceive we can now create some of those with these laser projectors and there's also new opportunities I think for some of our filmmakers to potentially show you colors that quite literally you've never seen before everything that you have a passion for has a value in this world and people are going to continue to tell you that this is not cool or this is not popular you know in my case it was math and music they you know still aren't necessarily the most socially upheld kind of you know revered pursuits but you know you can find a way easily where that makes a real difference for somebody that you can you can harness that passion and turn it into something that really makes a difference in the world