Relentless Play VFX Delivers The Little Render of Bethlehem

Relentless Play delivers VFX shots featuring ancient Bethlehem for Turning Point Productions’ “Why The Nativity?”

In the delivery of over 30 VFX shots, Thomas Hollier and Relentless Play LLC created digital environments for the cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem in ancient times, and handled all aspects of VFX on the project from visual development and previsualization to on-set supervision and final shot production. From the start, the digital work proceeded in close collaboration with production designer Joe Cashman and the team at Design/Build Productions. The early integration of set CAD data and digital assets into a consistent digital environment staged onto the set location’s actual elevation data not only provided accurate shot previz but also served as a “process-agnostic” planning tool to tailor the physical production methods to well defined creative goals.

NeRFs in Unreal Engine

NeRFs in Unreal Engine 5 are finally here. Check out the accurate reflections on the water of this lightfield I captured at Hearst Castle. Next step is to see how far frame rates and resolution can be pushed with the latest/fastest graphics cards. If the latest RTX4090 don’t cut it yet, I’m sure next year’s models will. This introduces a great deal more flexibility in the integration of location shoots with LED stage work (or traditional VFX for the matter).



Many of the generative strategies that have been used in traditional VFX are now easily applied to electronic components. This integration provides for a much larger toolset where boundaries between physical and virtual becomes blurred, and the canvas becomes immersive rather than flat.

Beach wood, stepper motors, arduino, grout.

Video Datagrams

Compositions featuring stacks of “chronographs” generated from digital video data. These images reveal intricacies hidden in movements and rhythms around us and through time.

Synced Video Tryptic

Filmmaker Natasha Maidoff approached me needing a way to display synced video for a multi screen piece at the Google Art Walk. Having multiple view ports embedded into a single piece creates tension between the individual screens and adds a dynamic layer on top of what happens within the boundaries of each. I built an aluminum frame to hold the LCD screens, power supplies and networked raspberry pi computers playing back the video in sync. The whole was then mounted to the wooden frame. more…


What is the right way to display generative art?  After having developed a fairly substantial collection of algorithmic art pieces, running them in a browser or cluttered computer desktop left me wanting. In 2014, I set out to build this display device to showcase the work in a more direct way, without the distracting UI clutter and gear that accompanies the typical interaction with technology.

Cement, Light and Time

Building a binary clock is a rite of passage for artists interested in exploring electronics. There is a subversive edge in over-designing it to the extent that its alleged primary purpose becomes obfuscated until all that is left is the contemplation of mysterious patterns. My version of this endeavor involves contrasting the immateriality of light with the weight and cold smoothness of polished cement. But it DOES tell time, although by the time you’ve decoded the bits, the time will be different.

The clock's circuit board was designed with an atmel MPU, bit-shift registers to address the individual LEDs, an RTC chip to keep accurate time, and a voltage regulator.

Tintype Photography

Learning the process of wetplate photography opens up the door to the magic of light. I worked with Sari and Jason Madsen at Tintypebooth doing tintype portraits at street fairs. This process, which was  commonly used at the end of the 19th century, remains both surprisingly simple and wondrous at the same time. I never got over the excitement of seeing the cloudy swirl of the chemicals float off the plate to magically reveal the traces of captured light.

Panoramic Photography

Along with providing necessary data for VFX production, panoramas provide visual great datasets to explore creative uses of composition, sharpness, perspective and mood.

Generative Art

The label of “digital art” is often applied to work that use computers to simulate the look of traditional physical media even when the physical medium on which this visual grammar was evolved is no longer there. Ultimately, algorithms are to data what the paintbrush is to the canvas, and in both cases it is the job of the artist to apply the former to the latter in a way that reveals a universal truth. These images were generated using the Processing toolkit.