Waymark scoop Creative Industries category at the UK Northern Powerhouse’s awards


AN innovative collaboration between regional software development experts and a media company has won a prestigious regional award.

Software company Waymark was commissioned by New World Designs, based at Sunderland Software Centre, to streamline a pioneering filming process used in several recent blockbusting movies. Earlier this week, the collaboration scooped the Creative Industries category at the UK Northern Powerhouse’s awards night.

Waymark were up against tough opposition from large media and digital agencies in Liverpool and Manchester, but beat off the competition at a glittering awards ceremony attended by 1,000 guests.

Waymark, who have offices in Sunderland and Gateshead, succeeded in reducing the time taken to produce the innovative Bullet Time filming effect, used in the famous Hollywood blockbuster The Matrix, from days or hours to minutes or seconds. The technology was also used in Zoolander 2, which was in cinemas last year. The effect is a means of slowing a film down and allowing the audience a 360-degree view of a chosen scene.

New World Designs are specialists in this area, one of only four companies worldwide with the experience and know-how to professionally exploit the possibilities. The company has created a specialist Instacam360 rig with up to 50 cameras which capture the action from a scene.

Paul Lofthouse, Commercial Director at Waymark, said they were thrilled to have won the award: “To say we’re delighted is an understatement. We were so pleased to be shortlisted and knew we were up against much bigger companies, so we were amazed when we were named winners of the Creative Industries category.

“We’ve worked well with Steve Reeves and Ian Wright at New World for a long time, and it’s a special collaboration that we all enjoy. The work they do is both innovative and fascinating and we’re always happy to work with them to find a software solution to whatever challenge they bring to us.

“Winning important awards like this helps raise our profile regionally and nationally, but also gives us confidence as a company and as software developers working hard and thinking differently to give clients the solutions they need.”

The technology produced by Waymark has also been used by YouTube on a new football channel, Copa90, and with several high profile clients of New World Designs.

The UK Northern Powerhouse awards are designed to promote and highlight collaboration between companies and within companies in the Northern Powerhouse region. There were 15 categories in the awards, which were judged by the UK Northern Powerhouse Advisory Board, headed by Lord Kerslake. Other judges include Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council; Roger Marsh OBE, chair of Leeds City Region LEP; Paul Marsh, head of development and finance at the Department of International Trade and Keith Griffiths, MD at UK Northern Powerhouse. The awards, held at the Point at Lancashire Cricket Ground, were part of an annual conference and exhibition and were hosted by comedian and actor Brian Conley.

Waymark was set up six years ago, and began developing software for utility services. It has since expanded into the education, health, logistics and commercial sectors, working with more than 30 clients, rapidly expanding its workforce in doing so. It has offices in Metro Riverside Park and recently moved its Sunderland office from the Business and Innovation Centre (BIC) to Sunderland Software Centre.