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Some of you may already be aware of the CSB-Digital origin story, although you may not have heard it directly from Joshua 'Schwar' Davies, managing director and founder of the company. The route was anything but clear, with Josh studying the rather incongruous subject of History of Art at university and planning to join his father's company.
"Art has always been close to my heart - my dad is an ex art teacher and now runs a reproduction picture framing business. On the computer side, I have been programming since I was five years old and really got in to graphics when my dad got an Apple Macintosh II in 1987." According to Josh, from there it was just a small step towards the world of cinema - "I find knowledge of art and computers really helps when analysing modern films. Movies now constitute a major portion of contemporary art and computers are often used to enhance this relatively new art form."
The seeds of CSB-Digital were firmly planted at university, with Josh joining up with fellow students Toby 'Malone' Walsh and David 'Xcession' Cranwell to form the flegling company. "We really wanted to see if we could create something new, without selling out to the big companies. It took us many months to get anywhere as it was much harder than we expected," remembers Josh. "The creation of CSB-Digital is mainly down to my father - without his backing and support there would be no CSB-Digital. We started with special effects as there seemed to be a huge gap in the market. All special effects software seemed to be very expensive and hard to use - we wanted to make something different."
AlamDV1 was released and Josh's dream of running his own company became a reality. As time went by the company began to experience change, both internal and external. The community grew, plans for AlamDV2 were drawn up and Dave followed a different road to success. "Unfortunately, mainly due to lack of money and university commitments, Dave had to go down his own path but has now cut himself a career in web design over at Torchbox."
It is now nearly two years later and the company is poised to release its new range of software. With a community comprising of several thousand people from across the globe and a product catalogue that will soon feature the major new version of CSB-Digital's leading application, AlamDV3, as well as brand new programs in Chromantor and DigiGrade, the company has come a long way from its early days. "Our new software really does bring professional style tools to users with a limited budget," says Josh. "We are finally reaching the levels that we were aiming for when we first created the company."
The company has grown, gaining two new core team members, Tim Edwards and Simon Jones. "The thing I'm most proud of overall is the commitment of the team. Malone has always been fantastic at both the programming and web administration. When combined with Tim's programming skills and Simon's writing, the group can create some really special applications and websites."
What of the new products? With the team currently working simultaneously on all three products, balancing the workload is a vital task. "Basically I'm working mainly on Chromanator at the moment, with little bits of AlamDV3 and DigiGrade in-between. The new G6 engine has many modules that are used in all three programs, so it's important that these are as optimised as possible."
Specific details about the programs' features have been sparse to date but, although there are several 'sneak peek' features planned for the imminent future, Josh was willing to divulge a few morsels of information. "Tim is working on the new render engine, which should be amazing, and the new animation engine that Malone has been developing with me should go down very well. There are many new features in all the new programs which take them from the amateur level to a more professional level. For instance, you will be able to work on de-interlaced footage and then re-interlace when you render - which means you will have flawless, broadcast-quality output."
The next few months may seem like a busy period for us, but it certainly does not stop there. "CSB-Digital already has the rest of this year mapped out," explains Josh, "but I can't really say much about the other things we have planned yet. You can be sure that we are holding to our roots and aiming to help amateur film makers even more with our new projects over the next few years."