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A brief history of Hotbox

Hotbox Studios began in 1999 as four college students - Mark Hatchard, Robert Smith, Guy Wigmore, and Richard Lee - collaborating to produce a short film for the Hampshire Constabulary.

Following the completion of the film and their studies in 2000 the four went their separate ways, Mark and Richard to university, Rob to work as a web designer, and Guy to travel the world...

Whilst studying for a BA (hons) in Computer Visualisation and Animation at Bournemouth University's National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), Mark continued working on a freelance basis producing animation for live events and dabbling with a little web development.

Hotbox Studios River Barn Office Interior Elvetham Estate Hampshire v2020001 300PxSq72Dpi

In April of 2001, Mark Hatchard and Phil Larby setup a vision mixing suite. Following this Hotbox could regularly be found projecting film, animation and live video feeds at live events across the UK.

In September of the same year the contemporary dance company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance contacted the NCCA where Mark was studying; looking to collaborate with students on the production of animation for a new piece.

Mark Hatchard, Edmund Kohen, Duncan Price and Ellie Korlander began production of animation for Nemesis by Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Nemesis animation 300PxSq72Dpi

At the beginning of 2002 Nemesis premiered at London's Sadler's Wells, then toured worldwide through more than forty countries. Following Nemesis Wayne McGregor | Random Dance contacted Mark interested in an on-going collaboration.

In the same year Mark worked with Edmund to produce animation for Ice Floe, with Seth Dubieniec to produce animation for BodyScript, and started work with Seth, Anders Langlands, Matt Middleton, and Mo Sobhy on the production of animation for Alpha.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Ice Floe animation 300PxSq72Dpi

2003 began with Alpha premiering at Chelmsford's Chancellor Hall, then touring internationally. In February of 2003, nearing the end of their degrees, Mark and Seth incorporated Hotbox Studios Ltd.

In the summer of 2003 with the new company running as a literal cottage industry, Hotbox produced animation for Light Atlas by Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, and Pills Thrills by The APE Theatre Company.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Light Atlas animation 300PxSq72Dpi

Parallel to animation production, Hotbox had continued to work with web design and development, although as this was neither Mark nor Seth's speciality, so in 2004 Robert Smith joined Hotbox to head up the company's web design and development projects.

In 2005, under Rob's direction, Hotbox produced a variety of new websites and further developed those created in previous years. Rob also also designed a new website for Hotbox which was launched in September.

In the same year, Hotbox collaborated once more with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and on this occasion the visual artist Shirazeh Houshiary to produce animation for Amu. Amu opened in September 2005 at London's Sadler's Wells, then toured internationally.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Amu animation 300PxSq72Dpi

Following the success of Amu, in late 2005 Hotbox worked with Shirazeh Houshiary in refining the animation produced for Amu into an animation for gallery and museum presentation titled Veil.

In the winter of 2005 Hotbox went back to its live event animation roots with an event visuals performance at the Breakthrough Weekender's opening night at Leister Square's Marquee Club (London, UK).

Shirazeh Houshiary Veil HD animated film installation 300PxSq72Dpi

2006 began with the first presentation of Veil as part of Shirazeh Houshiary's exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery (New York City, US). Hotbox then collaborated with Wayne McGregor to produce animation for the opera Dido and Aeneas, which opened in June 2006 at Teatro alla Scala (Milan, Italy).

The company's web design department continued to grow with new websites being produced across a variety of sectors.

Teatro alla Scala Dido and Aeneas unicorn in mist 300Px72Dpi

In 2007 Hotbox released its first cloud software product PAAM! In its first year PAAM was used for the recruitment and management of thousands of staff and volunteers at UK events!

In the same year Hotbox collaborated with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance to produce animation for the dance performance Untold and the re-staging of Digit01.

Our web design portfolio continued to grow with new websites being produced across a variety of sectors.

PAAM Event Management Software logo 300PxSq72Dpi

Following 2 years in the making, in 2008 the animated film Shroud by Shirazeh Houshiary produced with the assistance of Mark Hatchard was presented as part of Shirazeh Houshiary's exhibition at Lisson Gallery (London, UK).

In the same year Hotbox's PAAM software grew to assist new organisations across the UK.

The company's web design department continued to grow with new websites being produced across a variety of sectors.

Shirazeh Houshiary Shroud animated film installation 300PxSq72Dpi

In 2009, Dido and Aeneas – an opera Hotbox produced animation for working with Wayne McGregor – opened at The Royal Opera House (London, UK). Following the performance at The Royal Opera House, Dido and Aeneas was broadcast on BBC 4 TV and BBC Radio 3.

In the same year Hotbox Studios' sister company Hotbox Events was launched!

Our web design team again developed new websites across a variety of sectors.

Hotbox Events logo 300PxSq72Dpi

Then in the winter of 2009 Hotbox moved into our first proper office and studio based on the beautiful Elvetham Estate in north Hampshire.

In 2010 Hotbox produced more new websites than ever before working with architects, staffing agencies, football clubs, shipping companies, artists, and therapists. Hotbox secured a new ongoing contract to manage the website, intranet, and virtual learning environment for Basingstoke College, and developed a custom cloud software application for a childcare recruitment company.

Hotbox Studios River Barn Office Exterior Elvetham Estate Hampshire V2020001 300PxSq72Dpi

In early 2011 Hotbox released version 2.0 of the company's PAAM software application.

The animated film Dust by Shirazeh Houshiary produced with the assistance of Mark Hatchard was presented within Shirazeh’s No Boundary Condition exhibition at the Lisson Gallery (London, UK).

Hotbox produced new websites and cloud software for companies and organisations across the UK and Europe.

Shirazeh Houshiary Dust animated film installation 300PxSq72Dpi

In 2012 Hotbox's PAAM software grew to be used by many new organisations across the UK and for the first time left our little island to assist the team at the Swedish Sailing Ship Götheborg.

Our web design team developed new websites for musicians, colleges, legal practices, therapists, and energy companies.

Hotbox's Mark Hatchard also worked with Shirazeh Houshiary to reanimate and remaster the Breath animated film installation created by Shirazeh in 2003, moving the piece from SD to HD resolution.

In 2013 the Breath animated film installation created by Shirazeh Houshiary and reanimated and remastered by Mark exhibited inside the Torre di Porta Nuova (Venice, Italy).

Mark also worked with Shirazeh Houshiary to refine Dust – an animated film installation by Shirazeh Houshiary produced by Mark and paired with the chanting of soprano Olivia Salvadori – for exhibition at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery (New York, US).

Shirazeh Houshiary Breath animated film installation 300PxSq72Dpi

The company’s PAAM software made its second trip out of the UK in 2013 to start helping the Croatia based festivals Outlook and Dimensions with their recruitment and management. Our web team developed a new cloud-based software solution for a music promoter to help their team to generate and track invoices, create monthly financial breakdowns, log contracts, book multiple acts, track enquiries and launch direct and targeted email marketing campaigns. We again designed a plethora of new websites for manufacturing firms, building companies, unions, veterinarians, and architects. To assist our growing number of web clients we also implemented a new system to generate monthly reports for the websites we host, the reports providing analytics and analysis of website performance and interaction.

In 2014 Mark Hatchard worked closely with Shirazeh Houshiary to re-master the animated film installation Veil; first produced back in 2006. Mark worked with Shirazeh to remaster Veil from its original SD to HD resolution. The company’s PAAM software again grew to assist more organisations across the UK with their staff and volunteer recruitment and management. Our web design team outdid themselves creating new websites across a wide variety of industries including shipping, health, property, and leisure.

From here, it has been onward and upwards! We've created a countless number of websites for companies including smaller local businesses, larger national and multinational companies, and spanning a cross section of industries. Our PAAM software is now used globally helping with staff and volunteer recruitment and management from the UK to Australia. We're a Google Partner providing digital marketing services to companies across the UK. We've created animated films that have premiered and exhibited around the world.

If you'd like to take a look at what we've been up to recently please have a browse of our news page!