Tag: Tim Jenison

Startup Grind San Antonio to Feature Tim Jenison of NewTek and Tim’s Vermeer

imgres-7Tim Jenison will be the featured speaker at Startup Grind San Antonio at noon on March 25th at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio.
Jenison is the founder of NewTek, a video graphics software and hardware company. He is an inventor, entrepreneur and now artist and filmmaker, in San Antonio.
Jenison is the star of the documentary, Tim’s Vermeer, produced by his friends Penn Jillette and Teller. It documents his nearly six-year long obsession to prove a link between technology and art.
Jenison developed a theory in 2008 that the 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, who was known for his use of light and realistic paintings with photographic qualities, had used a camera obscura and a comparator mirror to create his paintings. He later revised his theory to involve a concave mirror and comparator mirror. In the hour and twenty-minute documentary, Jenison re-creates Vermeer’s painting The Music Lesson using those tools.
Jenison, who didn’t consider himself an artist, travelled the world to do research on Vermeer. And he eventually recreated a room from Vermeer’s house in a warehouse on the outskirts of San Antonio. He spent a year there recreating the room, its furnishings, textiles and more and then to paint The Music Lesson. He also had to find materials to create the paints that Vermeer used.
At one point in the documentary, Jenison admits he would quit if the cameras weren’t rolling and holding him accountable.
In the end, he paints the Music Lesson and he’s 95 percent sure that Vermeer used similar tools in his paintings.
The documentary is currently playing in Austin and San Antonio. It is well worth seeing.
And if you’re able to attend Startup Grind San Antonio Tuesday at Geekdom, you can meet Jenison in person and ask him questions about NewTek or Tim’s Vermeer. You can get your ticket, which includes lunch, here.

Visionary Entrepreneur Tim Jenison Searches for the Truth in Tim’s Vermeer

images-2NewTek is one of the hidden gems of a technology company in San Antonio.
Tim Jenison co-founded NewTek, a desktop video graphics software company, in a storefront in downtown Topeka, Kansas in 1985. The company made the Video Toaster.
Jenison later relocated the company to San Antonio. NewTek continued to make innovative products like Lightwave 3D software used for special effects in movies and television shows. And in 2005, NewTek released the Tricaster, which allows people to do live video streaming with the production capabilities of a full studio in a backpack-sized piece of hardware.
NewTek is a little slice of Hollywood in the Alamo City. Filmmakers from all over the world visit its headquarters to meet with Jenison and his staff.
Jenison is one of those genius entrepreneur/inventors who always seems to be thinking up the next big thing.
And that next big thing is “Tim’s Vermeer,” a documentary.
Jenison teamed up with Penn Jillette, the film’s producer, to create the documentary “Tim’s Vermeer,” which will debut in Austin and San Antonio on Feb. 28th, according to this schedule just released by Sony Pictures Classic.
In the one hour and 20 minute long documentary, Jenison “attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all art: How did 17th century Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer (“Girl with a Pearl Earring”) manage to paint so photo-realistically — 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers,” according to news release.
Jenison spent eight years on the project and travelled the world to research it. In the project, he attempts to paint a Vermeer. But he’s not a painter. He’s a computer graphics guy.
The movie has been reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, Time Magazine, the New York Times and the even The Economist and has received rave reviews.

NewTek is booming from DIY broadcasting

Jim Plant, president and CEO of NewTek

Avatar and Titanic are just a few of the major motion pictures that used NewTek’s Lightwave 3D software to create special effects.
On the small screen, current TV shows like Terra Nova, a sci-fi drama and Hawaii Five-O also use the software.
Although NewTek is far from Hollywood, the San Antonio-based company is often an integral part of any movie or television show using computerized special effects. And that means the privately-held company is booming.
NewTek now occupies two buildings on San Antonio’s Northside with 120 local employees and 250 overall. It’s doubled in size since Tim Jenison, a pioneer of desktop video, moved the company to San Antonio in 1997 from Topeka, Kansas, where he founded it in 1985.
“2012 will be the biggest year in NewTek’s history,” said Jim Plant, its president and chief executive officer.
And the growth isn’t just coming from NewTek’s software. It manufactures the NewTek Tricaster, a 42-pound portable production system that fits into a backpack and allows anyone to produce broadcast-quality video from remote locations.
The Tricaster appeals to a wide array of customers from the National Basketball Association to production professionals, entrepreneurs, journalists and corporations.
Heng Dai Media, producing Music City Roots, has a TriCaster-equipped RV to travel the country and stream concerts live. Technology reporter Leo Laporte at Twit.TV has recently expanded his Tricaster-based studio.
NewTek has a long history of bringing video to the masses.
NewTek’s flagship product was the Video Toaster, released in 1990 for the Commodore Amiga computer. The product officially went away with the demise of the Commodore in 1994.
But occasionally a NewTek customer sends one in for repair, Plant said.
“People held on to them for a long, long time,” he said.
With the demise of the Video Toaster, NewTek poured all of its energy into developing and selling Lightwave, a special effects software program aimed at television shows and moviemakers. That product drove NewTek’s bottom line for a long time, Plant said.
“We made Lightwave work on everything,” said Donetta Colboch, director of public relations, who has been with the company for more than 20 years.
“The 3-D market was lot different back then,” Plant said. “People had to spend $20,000 to $30,000 for the software and another half a million for a refrigerator-sized computer to run it on.”
NewTek’s mission was and is to make video production affordable and easy, Plant said.
“It’s not hyperbole to say that Lightwave and the Video Toaster changed the entire industry,” he said.
NewTek created the next generation of the Video Toaster based on a personal computer platform and released it in 2001.
And in 2005, NewTek launched the first Tricaster.
“That’s really been the rocket booster that has propelled us through the years,” Plant said.
Schools and colleges also use the Tricaster to cover live events. Brands like the NBA use it along with media companies, entrepreneurs, companies and nonprofit organizations. Individuals like Dick Van Dyke and Adam Carolla have Tricasters to produce their own shows.
“Anybody can start a television studio,” Plant said. “Live production is accessible and doable like never before.”
NewTek is even working with Yoko Ono and the John Lennon Tour Bus to take the Tricaster on the road next year, said Philip Nelson, NewTek’s senior vice president of strategic development.
And every year NewTek holds a contest for high school students to cover the Alamo Bowl. It selects four students to produce the event live using its Tricaster.
“It’s like Willy Wonka’s golden ticket,” Plant said.
Nelson recounts how NewTek’s Founder Jenison was quoted a long time ago saying “In the next 20 years, your favorite TV show will be made by you or someone you know.” That day has arrived and Tricaster makes it possible, Nelson said.

With the Videotoaster, NewTek aimed to democratize media through video tapes. NewTek sent out more than 300,000 copies of its “Revolution” video in the early 1990s, Donetta Colboch said.
“On the average each of those copies was seen by seven additional people,” she said. Then along came the Internet and everything moved from video tapes to digital production online.

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