Head of R&D
Volker HelzleVolker Helzle is in charge of Research and Development at...
Simon SpielmannSimon Spielmann is a part of the R&D Project at the Institute of Animation...
Andreas SchusterAndreas Schuster joined the R&D team in 2015 and is working on...
Jonas TrottnowJonas Trottnow joined the R&D team in 2018. He studied Media Computer...
Kai GötzKai Götz is working as a CG-Generalist for the R&D department at ...
Volker Helzle is in charge of Research and Development at Animationsinstitut of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. After graduating from HDM Stuttgart Media University (Dipl. Ing. AV-Medien) in 2000 he moved to California and worked for three years 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 Animationsinstitut. The primary focus of his first few years at Filmakademie was 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. During the past 15 years he raised funding for a substantial amount of regional and European Union funded projects in the scope of Animation, VFX, Virtual Production and Immersive Media. The most recent projects SAUCE includes a consortium of 9 partners. SAUCE will focus on smart reuse and transformation of assets, machine learning for asset retrieval and lightfield technology. The results of this projects have a massive impact on establishing new production techniques across all departments of Filmakademie.
In 2013 Volker Helzle received the honorary professorship of Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. In addition to the technical research Volker is the designated senior lecturer 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.
Simon Spielmann is a part of the R&D Project at the Institute of Animation with focus on software development, real-time graphics and VR. He graduated from the Bauhaus-University Weimar as Media Scientist and Mathematician in 2009. Simon is also responsible for the scientific counselling and supervision of the technical director course at the Animationsinstitut.
Andreas Schuster joined the R&D team in 2015 and is working on current research projects as well supporting the supervision of the Technical Director studies. During the studies of Media Art Andreas focused on computer visualization, interactive media and visual effects. After his diploma he worked in the fields of interactive installations using game engines and custom made user interfaces, and through a co-founded company he realized media installations for customers in Germany. Following the interests in visual effects Andreas worked as digital artist in the national film industry and later moved to Weta Digital as Technical Director. He worked on the workflow between the artistic and the technical side in movie productions like "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" and "The Hobbit". At the research department Andreas is currently developing virtual production tools and in general his field of interests are digital content creation, visual effect work flows and real time applications.
Jonas Trottnow joined the R&D team in 2018. He studied Media Computer Science at the University of Tübingen (BSc), his Bachelor Thesis was already written in cooperation with the Filmakademie. He finished his studies with a Master Degree (MSc) in Visual Computing at the Saarland University. His work focuses on software development in the areas of computer vision, computer graphics and deep learning. The edge between computer science and film productions is his main interest. Besides he was working as camera operator and in different positions in the post production for documentary films.
Kai Götz is working as a CG-Generalist for the R&D department at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg since 2014, in the beginning as an intern, now as a permanent employee. In 2015 he achieved his Master degree at Media University Stuttgart, focusing on visual effects and modern production workflows. Before joining the R&D team Kai worked on freetime, academic and commercial projects as 3D generalist and motion designer, mainly in Maya, C4D, AE and Nuke. However he is not only a CG guy. In addition he took freelance jobs as a cutter and camera operator or worked as lighting technician on film sets or in the theater.