Young paying their respects digitally

Grant Beevers and Geoff Schoonakker with actor Myles Pollard. d434824
Grant Beevers and Geoff Schoonakker with actor Myles Pollard. d434824

WA actor Myles Pollard and West Coast Institute students spent Friday filming a ‘digital’ memorial to commemorate the Anzac centenary.

Pollard spent the day filming at the Joondalup campus in an animation suit to be turned into an animated World War I Anzac character called ‘Tom McKinnon’.

The free Anzac Tom McKinnon Imaginearium app brought together eight screen and media advanced diploma students and a small team of 3D animation experts.

The project is two years in the making for Institute lecturer Travis Badge and Frame AR content producer Justin McArdle.

‘We wanted to develop an AR (augmented reality) app that had an automatic large audience,’ Mr Badge said. ‘Somewhere like Kings Park which has so many thousand visitors every year seemed a perfect place to develop an app.’

Mr Badge said the project provided hands-on experience for students.

‘The advanced diploma students get to work on these projects which are called ‘live works’,’ he said.

‘When they graduate, their showreel will have real projects credited to their name.’

The project was developed with support from ScreenWest, Lotterywest, the RSL of WA and a grant from the federal Anzac Centenary Arts and Culture Fund.

Mr McArdle said the team worked closely with the RSL on content, scripting and creative elements.

‘They wanted to bring life to the idea of what an Anzac is to young people beyond names on a brass plaque or the memorial itself,’ he said.

‘This was about unlocking the human side of it and keeping the story relevant to future generations through the digital aspect.’

He said the ‘joint investment’ was a benefit to WCI students who received access to a professional-level project and artists like Pollard.

Frame AR recently won a WA State Heritage Council award for a similar project called Time Window, an app allowing visitors to the Fremantle Arts Centre a real-world view into a 1940s US Navy Depot.

Pollard said he drew experience from his recent role as World War I soldier Archie Barwick in The War that Changed Us and from his grandfather.

‘I had a grandfather who was in the two wars so to be able to bring that history to life, it’s something that’s going to mean a lot to so many people,’ he said.

‘From stories from my mum, reading my grandfather’s diary, photos, his medals’