Mainframe Entertainment Incorporated was the publicly owned Canadian studio company that produced the pioneering first full-length computer animated television series ReBoot. As of 2006 the amalgamation of Mainframe and a newly formed subsidiary of RNK Capital Limited Partnership, which in turn, makes it now a "Rainmaker Income Fund" subsidiary. It is nowadays known as Rainmaker Animation Inc.
For more information, please see the ReBoot Staff List.
History of ReBoot[edit | edit source]
Co-creator of ReBoot Ian Pearson first teamed up with Gavin Blair in the 1980s at Rushes Post-production in London, England while creating the seminal "Money for Nothing" music video for Dire Straits using a Bosch FGS-4000 CGI system.
Gavin remarked working on the world's first computer generated video was "Three and half weeks of hell, the machines often crashed, at one point a whole drive was lost when the building was struck by lightening". This errant lightning bolt left Pearson and Blair both inspired, and established the foundations for ReBoot.
After completing Dire Straits both met in a pub and discussed the possibilities of bringing a cartoon to life but with full computer animation instead of traditional drawings. However, the imminent success of "Money for Nothing" kept them occupied with other work loads and upcoming projects at Rushes. In late 1989, Gavin and his college friend Phil Mitchell joined Pearson at his new company "The Mill" in London, while during their spare time continued to develop the 'ReBoot concept' for several years.
Another work-colleague, John Grace, a University teacher joined the team as its third member who had previously worked on Portland Bill, a British children's show with puppets. They brainstormed with various ideas while the technology available on the market developed and the software was more capable of performing CGI.
Their story taking place inside a Mainframe computer was deliberately chosen due to technological constraints at the time, as the fictional computer world allowed for blocky looking FGS models look state of the art, despite being relatively primitive in realism and motion.
'The Hub' then approached Ian Gibson, a British comic book artist to design the visuals and character appearances for their series through various artworks. In 1990 a prototype of the pioneering CGI series was made animating an early conceptual version of Bob. After an initial attempt, Brendan McCarthy joined the staff to assume as Executive Design Consultant into the show's pre-production.
Ian Pearson moved from England to Los Angeles to work on Def Leppard's 1992 music video "Let's Get Rocked" and release the ReBoot in circulation around major U.S. television networks, after a year the team eventually made a deal with ABC Network.
Due to taxation laws and expenses in the United Kingdom, Pearson decided it would be best for the show to be produced in Vancouver, Canada. The ReBoot team picked up producer Christopher Brough and Kelly Daniels, who began work from a hotel on Granville Island. Continued growth forced the move to a larger hotel room in Vancouver's West End and eventually to a facility in Gastown. Around the pre-production of ReBoot the staff had grown to thirty people, necessitated the relocation to Howe Street office to start production on episode one, The Tearing.
The voice actors helped bring the main characters to life, their attitudes and behaviours towards each other. Although they had finalised their computer design and appearance, without a recognisable voice, all were still lacking the transition from mannequins. Kathleen Barr's voice defined Dot Matrix, and Bob's entire character was based on Michael Benyaer's performance in the editing room during a recording session.
ReBoot Season 1 (1994-1995)[edit | edit source]
ReBoot was created on Silicon Graphics workstations using SoftImage software. Seven episodes were originally produced for the first season in fall 1994. An additional six episodes were added to the first season when the show was renewed for a second season in '95. The third season has been shown on the YTV network in Canada. In the US, it will air on the Cartoon Network starting in January 1999.
The concept for ReBoot was copyrighted in 1991 (which is the date in the end credits), but the first show was produced in 1993 and shown in the US on ABC in September 1994.
It took six weeks to produce a pair of half-hour shows during the first season. They produce two or more shows in parallel, so that all the animators won't be reporting to a single director. Only a few seconds of finished product are created per animator on a typical work day.
ReBoot made Mainframe Entertainment the recipient of several awards. The show received Gemini Awards for Best Animated Program Series for three straight years between 1995 and 1997, as well as a 1996 Outstanding Technical Achievement Award. Other honours include the 1995 Award of Excellence and Best Animated Program from the Alliance for Children and Television and an Aurora Award in 1996.
Other Gemini Award nominations include "Best Children's or Youth Program or Series" in 1998, and "Best Sound - Comedy, Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series" for My Two Bobs and "Best Sound - Dramatic Program" for Daemon Rising, both in 2002.
ReBoot Season 3[edit | edit source]
With the success of ReBoot's syndicated third season, Pearson and his team had produced six computer animated TV series, which have aired in over 70 countries around the world and have won many prestigious awards. Mainframe Entertainment Inc. rose as the world's pre-eminent producer of computer animation, expanding into long-form CGI for feature films and interactive entertainment. Mainframe had produced over 150 hours of computer animation.
Since 1994 the company aired its shows in the North American market and was currently in production on 26 half-hour episodes of Action Man(TM), along with Heavy Gear(TM) television series. Additionally, the studio began production on a large-format stereoscopic feature film based on Gulliver's Travels for release in IMAX 3D theatres. Where it was once comprised of only thirty members after being founded in 1993, it now employed over 360 artists, animators, technicians and production personnel, winning many prestigious awards for its creative and technical innovations, including an induction into the Smithsonian Institute.
ReBoot Season 4[edit | edit source]
By 2001 the fourth season had been released on DVD and the original Canadian broadcast was syndicated as separate episodes, Mainframe Entertainment had grown into Canada's largest animation company with over 300 employees. Stepping into unknown territory the ReBoot creators could not have foreseen such explosive growth and success. The basic storyline for ReBoot: Daemon Rising was based on their concepts developed in 1995 where Phil, Ian and Gavin went on a weekend vacation and established the back-story for the two hour movie. The project was shelved eventually as they were producing the first series for ABC. Eventually when they revived ReBoot after the third season, the old story resurfaced and they refined it further.