Ian Chisholm



Computer FX
was founded in 1982 by Craig Zerouni, Andrew Berend and myself, Ian Chisholm.  Andrew fairly quickly left to found The Computer Film Company with Mike Boudry.

CFX’s initial raison d’etre was the ability to animate wire frame images in real time using a vector display device called an IMI500.  This was the first real time animation system in Europe.  The image quality was limited but the interactivity was incomparable for the time.  Output was produced by filming mutiple passes on to 35mm movie film through coloured filters, a technique pioneered by the late Robert Abel.

architectural wire frame

CFX produced TV commercials, broadcast titles for The BBC and many others as well as corporate and architectural work.  In time the sytem expanded to include video output and to use Side Effects Prisms software.

commercial   Xerox TV commercial

“To do one job, I recall, we had no way of getting digital video back and forth to a post-house, so we ended up taking our 100lb Abekas A60 and putting it in the back of a taxi as a method of getting the D1 back and forth.  It took two or three people to do this plus a little wheely cart thing we had.  It was, like everything else about this business, completely mad.”

Craig Zerouni, quoted in CG101, Terrence Masson, 1999.

Computer work in feature films was much less common in CFX’s time but the company worked on Beyond Rangoon (1995) and First Knight (1995).

CFX lived and died before the internet became ubiquitous, never had a web site and Google reveals very little evidence of its existence.  A significant part of what there is relates to the wit, wisdom and sayings of Craig Zerouni.  My favourite, which doesn’t seem to have found its way into wider consciousness is:

Creative to Client, “Why not tell me what you want before I do it instead of telling me what you don’t want after I’ve done it”.

Other ex CFX people are Grahame Andrews, founder of post house LolaSteve Braggs, last heard of at ILM and Alan Marques, now a successful VFX supervisor.  Craig worked with Side Effects for many years and is now at Deluxe.

Ian Chisholm

Ian Chisholm – Motion Picture Engineer and Luthier