For this month’s ’60 seconds with’ interview, we catch up with disguise’s global technical solutions manager, Peter Kirkup…
How did you get into the industry?
I’ve always had some sort of attachment to theatres and stages. I got involved with local amateur dramatics as a kid and started lighting shows from about 13, quickly becoming the main lighting person for several local groups.
During my A-levels, I had a Saturday job at Stage Electrics in Bristol, where I learned to have my hands on tons of equipment – and coiled far more DMX cables than I’d like to remember. Then when I got to university, I had a chance to try my hand at lots of different disciplines, from stage management to lighting. It was there that my real interest in media servers started, and I was lucky enough to loan a number of media servers to try out and learn the workflows on.
What was your first job?
I worked at Stage Electrics in Bristol, in their control team, where I got my hands on a lot of the rental stock while it was in for preparation. I worked there for almost two years before university, and made connections during that time who I still keep in contact with (and do business with) today.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I don’t think there’s any such thing as a typical day in our world – sometimes it’s going out alongside our sales team for a demo, sometimes it’s building up a proposal for a new project our clients want support with and sometimes it’s getting deep into a new software feature or workflow with our development team. I love the variety my job brings.
What has been your favourite project to date?
It’s hard to pick just one, but i’d say that being in the room during the broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2019 was a pretty cool moment. I’d been working with our client for almost a year on the project, and knowing they were running on our latest and greatest hardware, with features developed specifically for the show – and that everything was running smoothly – was a real buzz!
What is the most ambitious project you’ve worked on?
Without breaking any NDAs, I’d have to say that the work we’re doing at Expo 2020 at the moment is really exciting. We’ve been working on some groundbreaking features to support some really significant portions of the project, and it’s truly a team effort.
How do you balance life and work?
I recently became a father, and that’s taking up most of my time outside of the office, although I do find time occasionally to run, and have done a few half marathons over the years.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your job?
I love the technical challenges – finding something that’s never been done before and helping to figure out how to do it is definitely one of the highlights. I’m lucky to have access to our amazing development team who can help work through those challenges and come up with creative solutions. I was taught at university that there’s no such thing as a problem – just an opportunity for a solution – and that’s something I’ve instilled in our technical solutions team.
What do you like most about the industry?
I love being part of a company that is making a difference to the way that shows are created. Having a background in lighting and doing my own shows, I can relate to how putting pre-visualisation at the heart of a product can change the way a show comes together. We keep innovating – xR, along with the EVO workflows, are two areas I’m proud to have been involved in.