- - Themed Entertainment - -
Never let your visitor leave without a compelling reason to return.

With nearly 15 years of experience shooting for National Geographic, BBC, Wolper Productions, and MacGillivray Freeman Films, Pixelmonger's Creative Director, Scott Billups has been a highly sought-after cinematographer for LBE and themed attractions for over thirty years.

In addition to his extensive motion picture work, much of Scott's early work with Universal Studios, Iwerks, and others centered on filmed content that was shot solely for specific venues such as 360, panorama, early motion rides, large format, and experimental versions of IMAX.

Then the pixel showed up and Location Based Entertainment was up for the first big redefinition in 20 years. As Hollywood blockbusters began setting the bar for greater spectacle, theme parks stepped up with a growing catalog of technical innovation of their own. As one of Hollywood's first production companies to offer digital visual effects, Pixelmonger Studios was called upon to renovate and upgrade dozens of existing venues for leading parks around the world.

One of the boldest ventures to lead the trend toward digital production was Las Vegas's five city block-long Fremont Street Experience. Pixelmonger was brought in to pre-visualize architect Jon Jerde's Sky Parade design, but Jerde's "creative differences" with city planers lead to a parting of the ways.

Fortunately for us, they liked Pixelmonger's original models and the pipeline that we developed. With Jon's blessing, we were kept on to modify the structure and help create the initial graphics that would play over the venue's 460-meter length. The original canopy contained over 2 million light bulbs that were driven by a system that used 12 computers to run the graphics and nearly 20 computers to synchronize and run the controls. Although technology and the switch to LED lights has reduced the number of computers needed to run the massive venue, the operational pipeline remains the same as the system we designed 22 years ago.

Having created the original digital pre-visualizations for the Jurassic Park motion picture, we were asked to reuse our existing digital assets to create a digital pre-viz of an upcoming Jurassic Park ride. A portion of the practical walk-through model that Landmark Entertainment built had collapsed and injured three workers, just as Lew Wasserman (Universal Studio head), was about to walk through it. While we were building the digital version of Jurassic Park the Ride, we recommended a few design corrections to the original plans and were told to include them in the new model. Needless to say, we didn't get much new work from Landmark Entertainment after that, but we did start getting more from Universal.

#1 is the original physical walk-through model made by Landmark for Universal Creative.

#2 is the same location in our interactive 3D model after we made numerous design modifications.

#3 is the finished ride EXACTLY as we designed it.

  • We don't just design: WE INNOVATE

    In 1996, Stan Kinsey, then CEO of Iwerks Entertainment said, "Once you put in a roller coaster, it is very expensive to change. We need event technology that you can upgrade by the changing the software." Bringing that concept into the present, we've been working on fully integrated motion systems that can not only sync with your favorite console games, but that can be driven with game controllers.

  • We don't just INNOVATE: WE BRAND

    With years of solid advertising and marketing experience, many of our clients depend on our uniquely original branding style. In much the same way we repurposed the Jurassic Park assets from one project to another for Universal Studios, we used the digital models that we created for a  Busch Gardens seasonal venue design to make a commercial that they still use today, more than five years later.

From Stan Lee's original ultra-low budget Fantastic 4, to the $100 million dollar, 20th Century Fox block-buster, Walking With Dinosaurs, Pixelmonger's founder, Scott Billups has been a highly sought-after cinematographer, visual effect creator, writer, and director for over thirty years. He has served as Director of Photography on six multi-million dollar motion pictures and Visual Effects Creator on dozens more.

Scott is also well known for the hundreds of zany commercials he has written and directed including the darkly compelling SONY PlayStation commercial which he shot for noted director David Lynch.

Widely considered to be one of the dominant forces in the digital evolution of the motion picture industry, Scott's seminal work with digital human replication for both motion pictures and games has been widely chronicled by by both television and print media including three WIRED magazine cover articles, half dozen Wall Street Journal articles and dozens of articles in a wide range of publications.

Scott's most recent book, Digital Moviemaking , now in its third edition is considered by many to be the definitive guidebook to Hollywood's digital age.

Deeply involved in film schools all over the world, as well as co-founding of the American Film Institute’s Advanced Technologies program, Pixelmonger's Creative Director, Scott Billups has some very unusual advice for those considering a career in Hollywood:

“The word passion gets thrown around a lot in this industry. “You’ve got to have a real passion for filmmaking,” they’ll tell you. It is an easy phrase to use and looks real good in print, but the rancid alleyways of Hollywood Boulevard are full of people who came to this town with a belly full of passion. Passion blinds you; it is only your unyielding death grip on reality that will guarantee any measure of success in this business.

There are other gratuitous clichés that get thrown around like, “have faith in your abilities.” As though with faith alone you can surmount all obstacles. “Follow your dream” is perhaps the most hideous cliché of all because it panders to people who simply don’t have any other options. There is no cosmic external force that will turn a bad script into gold or make the clock move slower so you can catch up with your production schedule. There are no new stories to tell, no angles to exploit, no trends to follow.

The path through Hollywood was worn smooth long ago by people wearing shoes much bigger than yours or mine. Craft is important in making a quality movie, but without a firm grasp of the realities of the market and industry you’re just another chalk outline on the boulevard of dreams.

To make a living as a moviemaker in the digital age you need to have good communication skills, a good eye, and a white-knuckle grasp of the desktop production environment. You also need to understand what motivates and engages people, and how to push their buttons. Next, you need balls of steel (or ovaries as the case may be), and skin as thick as old shoe leather. A strong persistence of vision that borders on jackass stubborn will also serve you well as you continually forge past those who feel the urgent need to derail your little gem of a project.

Above all, you’ll need an inspired point of view as well as the will and determination to get your project made. Even if you possess all of the previously mentioned traits, without consummate team-building skills you’ve only got another pathetic side-show looking to hitch a ride with the grandest circus of them all.

To quote the always acerbic Dennis Miller, “From Balinese shadow plays to bullfighters in Madrid to the porn studios of the San Fernando Valley ... the only human desire more universal than the urge to put on a show is the urge to get paid for it.” So welcome to the freak show, my friend. I hope you’re wearing your bulletproof, Eddie Bauer, safari-slash-director’s jacket, because there’s nothing that this industry loves more than a well-dressed corpse.”