James Knight is AMD’s Virtual Production Director based in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to being Performance Capture Supervisor on Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spiderman, he spent four years managing the motion capture for James Cameron’s Avatar. Additionally he has done Performance Capture and Virtual Production for films including I Am Legend, 2012, Hulk and Prince Caspian and various video games including, Batman Arkham City, Scene It, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Gotham Racing. He is a member of the Visual Effects Society (VES), on the Board of Directors at the British Academy’s Los Angeles chapter (BAFTA-LA), and a member of the Scientific and Technical Achievement Committee at The Academy (AMPAS).
What is your hobby?
Biuld robots with my son
How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?
My little boy is fascinated by anything technical. As a little boy, he say life sized Transformers at Universal in Los Angeles, and ever since he’s been thrilled about robots!
Tell us what you love about it.
Well firstly, I love any activity with my son; and the fact that this is technical and requires creativity is a huge bonus. I’m pretty technically inclined, so I do enjoy building parts and figuring out our own innovations, if you want to call them that. Mostly I’m happy if they just end up standing!
Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?
A close friend of mine actually is part of Robot wars, so we’ve been invited to be part of that.
Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.
Well, my little boy wanted VEX IQ robots to begin with, so we have those. We bought a Meccano, Meccanoid which is fun to build. Lately we have been more assertive and we’re building our own robot with parts we’re machining in a friend’s shop that is used to build animatronics for Hollywood features!
Where do you buy most of your supplies?
Lately we buy most of our supplies at radioshack and varioius different websites
Are there any good books for beginners?
Two books that we loved. Robots for Beginners and Almost Human: Making Robots Think.
How has this changed your life?
I’d say it’s more affected my son’s life. He is now very much into robots, how they move, solve problems and help humans. The biggest thing is this has brought me really close to my son.
What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?
Start small – you’ll get frustrated if you try to go too big too fast.
Are there any other hobbies you have?
Yes. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.