A new Deakin University spin-out, Fika Entertainment, is pushing the boundaries in the development of transformative entertainment production.
Fika evolved out of Deakin’s Motion.Lab.
Over the course of a decade, the Motion.Lab team developed expertise in virtual production, motion capture and real-time animation to create their Alchemy Pipeline™ software solution.
Established in late 2019, Fika is the first spin-out from the Faculty of Arts and Education.
With Deakin’s support and foresight, the Motion.Lab is an innovative space for researchers to patent, trademark and commercialise creative industries research.
Fika is led by a team of globally recognised creative industry leaders, including Dr Jordan Beth Vincent, Fika’s Executive Manager and Head of Sales and Strategy.
“Through research and development, and then applying our pipelines and methods to an industry research context, we were able to grow a system that could really revolutionise the way that content was being made,” Dr Vincent said.
“Deakin identified the value in our research and invested in creating a commercial vehicle that would allow us to service industry.
“Now commercialised, Fika enables others to make high quality, globally competitive content experiences quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.”
Enhancing virtual production capabilities
Fika is currently working to support a range of industry organisations to enhance their virtual production capabilities and achieve best quality content.
With headquarters at Village Roadshow on the Gold Coast – the heart of the Australian film industry – and another based in Melbourne in partnership with hardware and LED wall solutions company, Woohah Productions, Fika is able to facilitate unique collaborations.
An example of a recent collaboration was Fika’s role in helping to create a Halloween dance-off challenge video to help promote the launch of the next exciting season of Scream Street, produced by the Coolabi Group and the BBC.
The team translated the original stop motion animation assets into a fully digital production, driving the puppets using realtime performance capture.
Fika’s CEO, Kris Maric, is delighted with the high-impact and increased demand for Fika’s production services across the sectors of entertainment, health and education.
“We are working on many different projects, including animation series, live action feature films, education content and short independent animations,” Ms Maric said.
“We’ve also developed an app with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre for young people who have recovered from cancer, and we’re working with Greg Page Productions on the Team Rescue animation series.”
Deakin’s role in commercialising Fika
Deakin’s commercial team identified Alchemy Pipeline™ as a significant commercial opportunity and worked closely with the researchers to refine the system.
Deakin also initiated appropriate protection of the relevant intellectual property in order to be able to use the technology commercially.
Initial contracts with the ABC and other companies enabled Deakin to refine and optimise the technology to the stage where the University were able to support the establishment of Fika.
“Thanks to Deakin’s commercial support and guidance, Fika has generated global opportunities and put a spotlight on how Australia can lead innovation in the creative industries space,” Ms Maric said.
“This is a great story, not just about Fika, but about Deakin’s great capacity to commit, to translate and to innovate, particularly during the challenges of COVID-19.”
The commercialisation was verified by the Deakin Commercialisation Committee, including the Chief Financial Officer and the DVCR among others.
Deakin Research Innovations’ Executive Director Ben Spincer and his team were instrumental during the commercialisation process to develop business framework for the spin-out.
Fika has retained strong links with Deakin researchers and currently have active projects with researchers in the School for Communication and Creative Arts, School of IT, School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute.
Fika also has a very close relationship with Deakin’s AllPlay research team and together, they are currently developing a range of content featuring Aussie children’s icon Humphrey B. Bear for children with a disability.
Fika has guided a range of Deakin students through its internship program, as well as opening up opportunities to students from other institutions in QLD.
Fika is now the APAC partner for nCam, a camera tracking system for high end film and TV broadcast.
Dr Jordan Beth Vincent is Head of Marketing, Sales and Strategy, at Fika.