I just finished reading the current set of articles on ARS Technica about the history of the Amiga computer (http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2007/07/a-history-of-the-amiga-part-1/). It brought back great memories for me. I was a Commodore fanatic from the time I got my Vic 20 at age 15, and the Amiga really was something unique and ahead of its time. While I’ve long since lost my religious devotion to the Amiga, it still holds many fond memories for me, and was the foundation for my career in video software engineering.
While finishing my degree, I worked for Armadillo Brothers, a local computer chain that sold Amiga computers. Many of the customers we sold to used the Amiga for video, and I ended up creating tools for them to do more with it. One tool I created was a sing-along titler used by Living Scriptures for some of their animated videos (I didn’t have a good sense of the value of what I had created, and sold it to them for $30). I loved creating software for the Amiga, it was so far ahead of its time in many of its operating system design concepts, and much of what I learned there has served me well in creating software throughout my career.
After college, my friend and colleague from Armadillo Brothers, Steve Gregerson, contacted me with his idea for Hollywood FX, so over 6 months in the basement of my first house, I created the software for Hollywood FX. We released Hollywood FX a few months after Commodore went out of business, yet it still sold well enough to establish our business and become the foundation for the PC and Mac versions. It didn’t have any rendering code of its own. It used AREXX to control Newtek’s Lightwave to render 3D transitions with multiple inputs. AREXX also controlled separate frame store devices (ADPro and Video Toaster Flyer) to pull frames one at a time to use for texture mapping, and to write the resulting frames back out to the device. A 1 second transition could easily take all day to render, but the quality was great, and it was a relatively inexpensive product for creating amazing 3D effects.
The Amiga version led to the creation of the Windows and Mac versions of Hollywood FX (which had their own OpenGL-based rendering engine), which led to Pinnacle’s purchase of Hollywood FX, and my 13 years at Pinnacle, Avid and Corel, where I’ve built and rebuilt FX and video editing technologies, worked with an amazing group of people, and led the development of Pinnacle Studio for iPad which I’m happy to be working on every day now as part of my new company, Luma Touch.