Wellington Highlights

I told you I would not bore you with the work-related part of the trip – and I won’t. But I will relate a few amusing or interesting tidbits. And in order to do that, I need to let you know the general reason we were there  – which was [1] to brief the Australian technical press on latest product and company developments, [2] present at a small conference on Digital Content Creation, and [3] endear ourselves to the Aussie press by taking them to a rugby game. And, as all three of the hosts (myself, Chris from Intel, and Tim from Gigabyte) were former rugby players, we were not averse to watching a little rugby ourselves!

The first thing that I wanted to mention was that we quickly discovered that the USA Rugby team was staying in our hotel. And I’ll have to say, I was very impressed with them. In spite of being international athletes, they were polite and humble, and represented the USA well. As the USA is not a premier international rugby side, there were up against some long odds, knowing they were going to face some teams that were  much superior to them. I was impressed with how they handled themselves.

Another thing that was a big surprise was the VIP treatment that we somehow received. It seemed like the conference organizers somehow got the impression that Chris, Tim, and myself were some sort of bigwigs that merited special treatment. We suddenly found ourselves on special private stadium tours, a long tour of WETA (more on that later) and an upgrade to the luxury box at midfield at the big USA vs. Australia rugby game! We were both bemused and a bit worried by this, expecting that any moment the curtain would be pulled back to reveal that we were just a few techies that happen to like rugby, but it never happened. We represented ourselves honestly, had a lovely time with everyone, and left still a bit puzzled on why everyone was so great to us! But of course, no complaints!

Chris from Intel, Tim from Gigabyte, and me.

Wellington Stadium from field level, day before the game

USA vs, Australia. We got stomped, 67-5.

As part of our “VIP” treatment, we were given a two hour tour of WETA, the studios that produced the Lord of The Rings, much of the effects for Avatar, and other heavily computer-generated movies. Now this was INCREDIBLY cool. We got to see original Lors of the Rings scenes, shot against green screens in studio lots, then got to see how they were converted into final movie scenes. We saw how they took the facial images of real actors and made them into fantastic characters like Golom from Lord of the Rings, or the Avatar characters. We got to go into sound mixing studios the size of actual movie theaters hand hear how things are really MEANT to sound. And we got to see 3D trailers for upcoming movies that no one outside of WETA had even seen yet. It was fascinating, total geek heaven, and we felt truly privileged to have that experience. They even fed us tea and pastries before sending us on our way! Truly memorable.

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