Prof. Volker Helzle, Head of Research & Development / TD Supervisor, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
Volker Helzle is in charge of Research and Development at the Institute of Animation at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. After graduating from HDM Stuttgart Media University (Dipl. Ing. AV-Medien) in 2000 he moved to California and for three years worked at Eyematic Interfaces (later acquired by Google). Volker quickly advanced to team-lead in charge of the Los Angeles based Content Development Group where his team pioneered facial performance capture substantially contributing to the engineering and development of the Eyematic Facestation.
In 2003 he joined Filmakademie as supervisor of the research and development department at the Institute of Animation. The primary focus of his first few years at Filmakademie has been the development of facial animation tools. This led to one of the first plausible technology tests, realizing a virtual actor in an exemplary VFX production. More recently the focus of the research has expanded to joint research with industry partners in stereoscopic tool development. Another important field of research is to identify new applications for animation in general. As such the group collaborates with psychologists in the field of Autism research. Further ventures include combinations of poetry and procedural character animation in an art installation.
In addition to the technical research Volker is supervising the curriculum for the postgraduate Technical Director (TD) course at Filmakademie. TDs tackle the technological challenges of Animation, VFX and Transmedia productions at Filmakademie. The close relation to the research group allows students to engage in multidisciplinary projects.
As a program consultant he contributes to the organization of the annual FMX conference.
Being a C-64 kid of the 80ties, Volker's life was strongly influenced by video games and early computer graphics. To this day he is a passionate gamer but also finds interest in completely analogical activities like mountain hiking, gardening or yoga.