Faces of Cubic: Hugo Swift

For the next ‘face’ in our series, we talk to Hugo Swift, Lead Hardware Engineer, about his perspective on working at Cubic Motion

When and why did you join Cubic Motion?

I decided to move to Manchester just over a year ago and was approached by a recruiter with a hardware development role at Cubic. The role instantly grabbed my attention as I have experience in traditional engineering and industrial design companies so the prospect of working in such an unconventional industry was an exciting one. I immediately applied and haven’t looked back.

What do you do?

I lead a small team who design, develop and manufacture our HMCs (Head Mounted Cameras), the hardware component of our real-time facial performance system Persona. It is a formidable task designing a complete system that allows an actor to perform completely untethered, but we are constantly pushing technological boundaries to improve usability, performance and capability. It’s an exciting challenge.

How has your role changed since you started at Cubic?

When I joined the company, I was the only hardware development engineer, designing the core components of the system. As the hardware ambition of the company has grown, our team has expanded which has greatly increased the capabilities of hardware development and this is having a huge effect on the quality of the hardware we produce. It’s fantastic that Cubic aren’t afraid to hire new technical expertise to push our product development capabilities forward.

What do you like about working here?  What is life like here?

Having lived in Manchester for over a year now I have no regrets and a big part of this is down to Cubic and the people in it. There is a great atmosphere in the office which makes it really easy to get on with the great people that work here, and the company really gets involved in organising plenty of great social activities.

My favourite thing about working at Cubic is the possibility for making the most of the work you are doing, the ambitious development culture makes it a very interesting environment to work in and enables you to really have an impact on the direction of the product.

What has been your proudest moment at Cubic Motion so far?

It’s always great to see the product being used by customers, and I’ve had no more memorable experience of this than seeing three of our HMCs being used simultaneously on a high-profile film set. It was a fantastic experience to see the hardware that our team had designed being used in such a high-pressure situation successfully. The shoot went really well and it provided invaluable information for further refinement of the design. Meeting the film director and an A list actress was the icing on the cake!

What development have you had?

Having taken on a technical lead role, a big part of my job is ensuring the team are able to work to the best of their abilities, and I frequently get valuable guidance on how best to do this, which ultimately improves the quality of the team’s output. There is a really strong culture of continuous improvement that I think is really important to developing as an engineer.

What does the future look like? What do you hope to work on next?

We are constantly striving to improve the hardware that makes up the HMC system and this is the case now more than ever. The team are developing new hardware that will vastly improve existing functionality and introduce brand new features which will keep our system at the bleeding edge of the industry.

As well as pushing forward our existing system, there is some exciting development in some truly next-generation capture system concepts that could completely change how facial motion capture is done. Watch this space…

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