CAMERA speeds growth of the south-west's crucible of creativity

One of the UK’s most eye-catching economic success stories has been south-west England’s emergence as a world-renowned powerhouse in the creative industries.

Based at the University of Bath, the EPSRC-funded Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research and Applications (CAMERA) is an important dynamo at the cluster's high-tech heart. CAMERA is driving technology underpinning a host of cutting-edge entertainment and creative experiences that are helping businesses grow and further raising the region’s global profile.

South-west England is at the forefront of the UK’s £116 billion creative industries sector. CAMERA’s state-of-the-art skills and facilities comprise a unique asset for the sector and over 50 firms, mostly from the south-west, have already used its motion capture studio. As well as 300+ hours of access to its studio, CAMERA has already delivered 200+ hours of training in its innovative tools and techniques.

Pioneering fresh experiences with virtual reality

From Wallace & Gromit and Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre School to a new breed of businesses pioneering fresh experiences utilising Virtual Reality (VR), the creative industries are indisputably a south-west success story. Based at the University of Bath, CAMERA is a cornerstone of this success and a important enabler of the sector’s ongoing growth both in the region and across the UK.

Built on 10 years of core EPSRC support, CAMERA is home to unique expertise and ground-breaking research into VR and motion capture (the process of recording movements digitally). Now, CAMERA is helping businesses in the South-West and across the UK to apply leading-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to opportunities and challenges facing the creative sector.

Dovetailing with other UKRI-supported initiatives in the south-west, including the doctoral training centres that are building the skills vital to the future health of the UK’s creative industries, CAMERA has not only developed outstanding capabilities but also ensured their widespread application through its proactive open-door policy.

Dozens of organisations in the region and beyond have already harnessed these, for example to aid development of more lifelike animated characters for films and video games, and to help respond constructively to the constraints posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global leadership in creative screen-based media

Unsurprisingly, CAMERA is an important player in the next big chapter in the region’s creative evolution: the £46 million MyWorld initiative. Supported by UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund and bringing together four local universities (Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa and UWE Bristol) with a host of local businesses and other organisations, MyWorld aims to propel the South-West to global leadership in creative screen-based media by pioneering new creativity-boosting digital formats and technologies.

Neill Campbell, CAMERA’s Director explains:

The goal is to generate 700 new jobs and boost the economy by £225 million. EPSRC’s investments over the last 15 years will be key to ensuring the region can exploit this phenomenal opportunity to the absolute maximum.