by Gretchen E. Meixner
The president and co-founder of Peace River Studios, which is located on Montague Street in North Cambridge, has a lot on his plate.
Besides engineering new technologies and methods of film and media at Peace River, John C. Borden works to instill meaningful messages about the environment in his work, and raise people’s awareness.
Borden started the studios in 1962 in Vermont, where he studied at Marlborough College. It was moved to Cambridge in 1969. It became a component of Peace River Films, which was created by Borden and Neil Goodwin in 1972.
Borden worked on Peace River Films with Goodwin until 1994, when he founded the studios with business partner and wife Joana Hattery.
Peace River Films still exists under Goodwin’s leadership, while Peace River Studios was launched to invent new media solutions, Borden said. The tag line of the studios is “Films and Beyond.”
In addition to film and video production, Peace River works on media exhibits in places like zoos and aquariums. Their projects mainly focus on environmental issues, he said.
The studios also design new technologies that they use and sell to compatriots in the filmmaking world, Borden said.
“It’s a little hard to make a succinct statement,” he said when asked about the main goal of Peace River Studios. “New tech, new digital imagery, new ways to show ideas.”
“I became very interested in natural history and environmental issues,” Borden said.
One of his main focuses his trying to display aspects of the environment to help other people understand it, he said.
An important aspect of Peace River is their use of a process called fusion filmmaking.
“We apply different technologies. For example, we use stabilizers and motion control time lapse,” Borden said. Fusion filmmaking is a combination of interactive media, digital imagery, custom photography, and storytelling
One of the main technological accomplishments of Peace River is a device called the PixOrb, he said.
Borden said it is a universal computer controlled camera device. It can be used in photography and film.
According to Borden, and the PRS Web site, it can stitch large images together to create spherical and cylindrical panoramas, time-lapse movies, and be programmed for any number and size of pan and tilt increments. Large companies around the world are using the design.
“We believe that is was used to film the world’s highest resolution image,” Borden said of the PixOrb.