Radka & Maciej & Krzysztof.
Radosława Bardes: A graduate of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, she also completed postgraduate studies at the Warsaw Film School in Television and Film Production, and the Creative Producer Program at the Wajda Film School. Recently, she successfully implemented a film by Małgorzata Szumowska, starring Naomi Watts. With experience as a production manager and head of film project development, she now serves as the Managing Director of ATM Virtual. In her private life, she is an avid traveler and mountaineer.
Maciej Żemojcin: Holds a Master of Fine Arts degree and is one of the first producers of Virtual Production in Poland. With 20 years of experience in the international film industry, he has held various production positions and managed film technology. He also served as the managing director of a film studio and participated in the Ad Goes Green project in Poland. Privately, he enjoys being a ski instructor, sailing helmsman, and constant explorer and adventurer.
Krzysztof Kieszkowski: A C++ team leader and specialist in Unreal Engine and 3D art, with 25 years of experience as an entertainment system integrator and IT specialist. Notably, he was the creator of one of Europe’s first virtual TV studios in Hamburg back in 2010. Additionally, he has experience in building avatars and real-time projects for amusement parks in Korea. Outside of work, he is passionate about diving and sailing.pixelrace
The Hhistory of PixelRace
How it all started
Radka: For me, the beginning of PixelRace was when all the current partners met, connected by the shared plan to set up our first virtual studio in Dubai. The name “PixelRace” was meant to convey a technological race while being encouraging for Arab customers who love racing in all forms. Although the plans evolved, and a permanent installation in Dubai remains uncertain, we are proud to be recognized as a reputable Polish company specializing in virtual production.
Maciej: The origins date back to 2019, but my journey began 8 years ago when I worked with robots on set, enabling impossible shots and collecting valuable digital data. We decided to integrate the camera movement data with post-production, coinciding with the rise of Real-Time Render and the development of Unreal Engine. This led to the birth of the concept for PixelRace.
Crazy projects on the edge
Maciej: The first commercial production was quite exotic, coinciding with the Covid-19 pandemic. A Pakistani telecommunications company lacked physical means to shoot their advertisement, which featured a Turkish celebrity. It was a crazy and challenging project, with a large production carried out during lockdown. The success depended on our heroine’s journey through multiple countries. It was an adrenaline-filled experience – technically successful, but also stressful to ensure a smooth production.
Radka: The first productions were highly experimental and extreme. We built the virtual production setup onboard a plane during the flight. Colleagues worked tirelessly, even requiring a drip for endurance. But our laboratory evolved into a professional company, setting a new quality standard in the market. Now, most clients come through recommendations or after seeing our work. With less stress and improved work comfort, there is greater satisfaction in our achievements.
Work and passion
Radka: At the start of my career, working in film was my passion, but over time, it became repetitive. Each project brought excitement, new stars, and creative scenarios, followed by months or years of hard production work and festival launches with a happy ending. Producing “Infinite Storm,” directed by Małgorzata Szumowska with Naomi Watts, was satisfying, but it made me realize the industry’s repetitive nature from a producer’s perspective. Building my own business, especially in technology, ensures constant innovation and development, avoiding the trap of repetition. It means facing and solving ongoing challenges and seizing endless opportunities.
Maciej: Reconciling passion and work isn’t difficult for me, as doing what I love allows me to realize ambitions and verify ideas. It’s a compatible blend. The hardest part of building a business is handling various tasks at the fledgling stage. There’s never enough time to do everything perfectly, so making choices becomes challenging.
Back to the past?
Maciej: Looking back, the path we took was filled with risks, but I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now about the difficulties. I don’t believe there were missed opportunities; it was simply a matter of choosing a direction and going full throttle without dwelling on what could have been. There may have been missed chances, but I have no regrets and will continue taking new opportunities.
Radka: Reflecting on the past, I sometimes wonder if simultaneously opening a virtual production studio and a software company was the right decision for our first real business. However, only time will tell, and we’ll have the answer soon enough.
The definition of success
Maciej: I take great pride in working with people who excel in areas beyond my expertise. Having them on our team and building this business together fills me with joy. Our continued success is a testament to that.
Radka: Success, for me, is the business thriving while still having time for personal life, family, and space for hobbies or small pleasures. I will be truly proud if we can achieve that balance.
Radka: This is the moment when you are no longer needed in the day-to-day operations, and the company continues to thrive. However, as the founder, you are constantly thinking, searching, looking, and asking how to push even further ahead.
Maciej: A breakthrough moment? It’s when the first, original plan fails (which is almost certain), and yet you find the strength to get up and keep going. It’s about staying motivated to wake up every morning, even in the colder months, and take action, no matter if it’s October, November, December, January, February, or the hot days of July or August.
Builders and warriors
Maciej: I believe that every day carries its own motto. Two intriguing Latin phrases come to mind: “Si vis pacem, para bellum,” meaning “if you want peace, prepare for war.” To me, this signifies the need to fight for what you want, and as a builder, I’ve embraced the mindset of a warrior. The second equally important motto is “Nulla dies sine linea,” or “no day without a line.” It emphasizes the importance of working systematically.
Radka: In both life and work, I approach situations, projects, and problems by considering my perspective and that of others, allowing me to draw conclusions rather than simply passing judgments.
Like the Wright brothers
Maciej: Being a small company, we can have a truly global impact, competing with giants on the market. I think that’s what we’re most proud of. Professionals create studios for virtual production, software or tools – and they do it for budgets that are definitely larger than ours. I hope that we are the Wright brothers who financed the development of flying machines from the bicycle shop they run and finally flew first. We are also able to achieve gigantic effects with small means and compete with great players.
Radka: We are moving forward with small steps, so we can be proud of each day. However, the fact is that we are the first company in Poland to launch a product – virtual production technology – combining innovation, quality and a good price for the customer. We set standards and created a super brand. We are aware that there are already companies that want to imitate us. That is why the most important thing is development and constantly being one step ahead.
Radka: Working with Unfold.vc was a desire not only for the funds but also for their valuable business experience. They have been a great source of knowledge, always willing to share without imposing anything on us. The friendly and open atmosphere they provide continues to accompany us, and we appreciate their belief in us, even during less polite times. They are always available, open to discussions, and actively seek solutions.
Maciej: We are delighted that you chose us, and we chose you as well. It was the personal connection that convinced us the most. In our view, the human factor is paramount, as there is no shortage of financial offers in the market. A partnership without any collaboration is just a mere transaction.
For the title of leader
Radka: We have one of the largest portfolios of films and commercials shot using virtual production technology in Europe. Our clients come from various countries like the UK, Germany, Norway, France, and Dubai, and our reputation is growing globally. Achieving this portfolio and turnover since November 2021 was amidst challenges and crisis management, leading to our team’s threefold expansion. Our next goal is to stabilize and implement procedures to streamline project and company management. We aim for a technological and qualitative leap in virtual production and the integration of further software tools within the VP system.
Maciej: Our primary focus has been on achieving maximum technological independence. We’re inventing our unique approach to virtual production, striving for freedom in various aspects, especially in software. If we conceive a new function, we can swiftly implement it and move forward, reducing dependency on external factors and tools.