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Conn (Peter) papers
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Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Peter Conn papers
    creator: Conn, Peter
    creator: Homer and Associates
    Identifier/Call Number: M2262
    Physical Description: 31.5 Linear Feet (42 boxes, 2 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): c. early 1970s - 1996
    Abstract: Consists of material related to Peter Conn and Homer & Associates' work in computer-generated animation, graphics, and motion capture technology.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use. Audiovisual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy. Born-digital material is closed until processed.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Peter Conn; 2017. Accession MSS 2017-255.

    Biographical / Historical

    Peter Conn is a director and producer known for his advances in 3D computer-generated animation, graphics, and motion capture technology, primarily through his production company Homer & Associates. Over the years, Conn has worked on music videos, commercials, television and film projects, industry presentations, and stage shows, virtually all of which involve some form of computer-generated imagery (CGI).
    Conn graduated from Stanford University in 1971 with a BA in Communications. After spending a year studying film at the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris, Conn developed a real time visual mixing system called the Hybrid Optical Montage Electronically Reproduced (HOMER) in 1973. HOMER was a 24-channel mixing console linked to an optical printer that blended 35mm film images with video and computer graphics. It was first put to use in a short film made for Levi Strauss & Co. in 1974. Conn eventually founded Homer & Associates in 1977 with his wife Coco Conn, naming it after his visual mixing system. Initially a multimedia effects company, Homer & Associates gradually transitioned to a full-fledged 3d animation production company, known for special effects, 3D computer animation and design, motion capture, computer rotoscoping, and slide transfer services. Homer specialized in creating computer animated effects for features like fire, smoke, and water, and additionally created proprietary software, such as a digital computer painting system.
    Conn directed or contributed effects to a number of music videos from the 1970s through 1990s. He directed the music video for the Steve Miller Band’s single “Abracadabra”, for which Conn was nominated for ‘Director of the Year’ at the first American Video Awards, as well as their “Bongo Bongo” video, which includes one of the first examples of a computer-rendered character interacting with live performers. He directed George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” music video in 1982, Al Di Meola’s "Sequencer" music video and the video for Tom Waits’ "In the Neighborhood" in 1983, and Vince Neil’s “Sister of Pain” music video in 1993. His contribution of special effects for Peter Gabriel’s 1992 “Steam” video includes one of the earliest uses of motion capture in a music video, and his effects for TLC’s 1995 “Waterfalls” music video were nominated for “Best Special Effects” at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards. Other notable artists for whom Conn directed music videos include Abba, Fleetwood Mac (“Paper Doll”), Bob Seger, ELO, the Jacksons (“Blame it on the Boogie”), Stevie Wonder (“Send One Your Love”), Dan Hartman, and Taste of Honey.
    Homer & Associates also engaged in film and commercial work. In 1989, Homer’s humorous short film “Flying Logos” debuted at the Siggraph Electronic Theatre, eventually going on to win the Monitor Award for Best Showreel. In 1990, Homer created a short entitled "Why Do You Think They Call Him Dope?" for the record company Delicious Vinyl. In 1992, Homer contributed effects for a commercial for the Pennsylvania lottery in conjunction with Harold Friedman Consortium. Entitled “Party Hardy”, it was allegedly the first use of motion capture technology in a commercial, with director Michael Kory performing motions that would be used to animate several human-like lottery tickets.
    Homer & Associates also worked on commercials for McDonald's, Ford, Minolta, General Mills, Diet Coke, and First Interstate Bank, title sequences and graphics for TV shows such as "Diff'rent Strokes," "The Cosby Show", and “Grace Under Fire”, large-screen and rear-screen projections for record companies and tours, multimedia product presentations, corporate logos, and supervised title animations for the NBA playoffs and finals for CBS sports from 1987-1989. The company also created sequences for the films Robocop, Total Recall, Lawnmower Man, and Congo, before closing in 1996.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Peter Conn papers (M2262). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California.

    Scope and Contents

    The bulk of the Peter Conn papers pertains to music videos and other Homer & Associates projects, such as commercials, short films, and contributions to feature films. These materials include photographs, prints, film equipment, reels of film, slides, negatives, costume pieces, sketchbooks, storyboards, location scouting photos, casting sheets, headshots and actor resumes, production stills, records, and laser discs. The majority of these materials originate from the 1980s and early 1990s.
    There is also a significant amount of materials related to Homer publicity. These primarily take the form of news and magazine clippings, but also include numerous press releases, posters, prints, industry publications, and other promotional materials.
    Internal Homer materials include legal documents, film equipment, computer equipment documentation and hardware specifications, correspondence, and reference materials.
    Memorabilia includes props and numerous awards and trophies.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Animation (Cinematography)
    Computer animation -- Special effects
    Motion picture industry.
    Music videos
    Computer graphics.
    Conn, Peter
    Homer and Associates