8th August 2011

Where Are You Today

Orby Is At SIGGRAPHFor those of you visiting the site today and wondering where all of the great Canadian news is that I usually share with you, well, we’re at SIGGRAPH 2011 with limited internet access, so posting any news is going to be a challenge. That said, there are lots of awesome Canadian companies (or international companies with a Canadian location) at SIGGRAPH this year, so I hope you stop by to visit. I’ve listed those with booths below.  We are in Booth 1018 – please stop by for a visit and an interview.Canadian Creative

In the meantime, we have soft-launched our new project. Right now you can only look at our announcement, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day for the two of us to work on the new project, work on Village Gamer, get ready for SIGGRAPH and put in appearances at our paying day jobs. So, without further ado, please visit Canadian Creative and sign up for email notifications (we won’t be selling, renting or giving away your addresses) so that you know when the front door is unlocked and the coffee is on.

Canadian Companies on display at SIGGRAPH 2011:

3D3 Solutions – Booth: 879

Autodesk, Inc. – Booth: 429

British Columbia Film Commission – Booth: 889

Campbell River Creative Industries Council – Booth: 580

Capilano University – Booth: 807

Centre for Digital Media – Booth: 938

cebas Visual Technology Inc. – Booth 250

Digital Domain – Booth 343

Emily Carr University of Art + Design – Booth: 947

Eos Systems Inc. – Booth: 273

iDesign Solutions Booth: 609

MPC – Booth: 463

Measurand Inc. – Booth: 252

Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Investment Booth: 890

Muuun Technologies Inc. – Booth: 690

NDI – Booth: 969

Nelvana Studio – Booth: 708

NorPix Inc. – Booth: 1017

PO-MO Inc. – Booth: 808

Peer 1 Hosting Booth: 283

Pixar Animation Studios Booth: 235

Point Grey Research Inc. Booth: 255

Rainmaker Entertainment Booth: 971

Sheridan College
Booth: 813

Side Effects Software Inc. Booth: 712

Simon Fraser University School of Interactive Arts and Technology – Booth: 151

Southpaw Technology Inc. – Booth: 158

Think Tank Training Centre Booth: 944

Toon Boom Animation, Inc. – Booth: 710

Ubisoft World – Booth 955

VanArts – Vancouver Institute of Media Arts Ltd. Booth: 490

Vancouver Animation School Booth: 381

Vancouver Film School – Booth: 739

Vancouver Motion Capture: Animatrik and Alastair Macleod – Booth: 968

Waterloo Region – Canada’s Technology Triangle – Booth: 480

Note:  booth numbers are as of August 1st, hopefully they weren’t moved – let me know if I missed anyone

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6th August 2011

We Are One Day Away From SIGGRAPH 2011

acm siggraphHave you made Vancouver home for the next six days? If so, that must mean you’re planning to be at SIGGRAPH 2011, which opens tomorrow at the Vancouver Convention Centre and runs until Thursday evening. The Conference and Computer Animation Festival goes from August 7 right through until the 11th and the Exhibition floor with (200+ displays) is open from August 9th through 11th. It is still possible to pick up single day passes, and at just $45.00, they are too good of a deal to miss out on. If you prefer, there are passes still available for the entire week. We got a sneak peek at the expo floor last evening, and it looks awesome. Check out your options on the SIGGRAPH 2011 Registration Info page.

This is the first time the flagship conference for the ACM SIGGRAPH organization has been held in Canada, and is an incredible opportunity for the Canadian digital media and film industry sectors. There are, at my count, 37 Canadian companies – or international companies with a Canadian location – with exhibit booths on the conference floor, including ourselves in Booth 1018. This does not include the number of Canadian companies who may have a booth in the Job Fair area of the conference, nor those like Corel who will be working out of LightBox’s booth. Nor does it include the Canadian studios who will be represented in our booth with their trailers and games or those being highlighted through the DFAIT and provincial economic development booths. There is without a doubt going to be lots to see, lots to learn, and many people to meet at SIGGRAPH 2011.

SIGGRAPH 2011 highlights the full spectrum of the $67 billion annual computer graphics industry, showcasing the world’s finest technology exhibits, interactive displays, and the best in animation and visual effects. Numerous cutting-edge research and commercial products are shown to the public for the first time in interactive exhibit areas. Examples include:

  • Displays: Watch attendees interacting with cutting-edge 3D displays that will change their home theaters and video game experiences.
  • Robotics, Wearables, and Haptics: See people engaging with robots and stimulation devices such as a wearable pregnancy jacket that allows the user to feel a fetus’s temperature, movements, and heartbeat.
  • Mobile Devices: Interact with the next wave of advancements in mobile technological devices such as a “watch” that turns your hand into a mini-keyboard.

You can get a look at the expo floor map (PDF) on the SIGGRAPH web site, it is current as of August 1st, and for those who are not aware, the expo hall is on the lower level of the new convention centre.

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4th August 2011

Visit MPC At SIGGRAPH 2011

MPCMPC reaffirms its commitment to long-term investment in Vancouver by building a state of the art 38,000 sq ft facility in the prestigious Yaletown district.  The building, currently in its second stage of development, is a heritage brick and timber construction situated in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, surrounded by some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.  The building is being completely rebuilt to MPC’s specifications to create Vancouver’s largest and best facility, housing more than 300 artists.

The growing Vancouver team, currently working from MPC’s Homer Street studio, will move to the new facility on completion in early 2012.  MPC Vancouver provides the same best in class VFX services to our feature film clients as provided by our London facility, using the very same tools, techniques and pipeline.

MPC Vancouver’s Head of Film, Michelle Grady said “the new building demonstrates our commitment to our customers and to our artists by offering choice of location while maintaining the level of creativity and quality that is expected from MPC.”MPC YVR Source Code

MPC’s status as a world-class VFX facility has been achieved through marrying some of the industry’s top creative talent with the development of industry-leading software to create stunning visual effects, and provide an infrastructure for completing multiple projects with thousands of shots simultaneously across the globe, efficiently, and with the highest quality.

At SIGGRAPH 2011 three of MPC’s experts will give a fascinating insight into the techniques and technology behind the images. The presentations will demonstrate the solutions developed to achieve the visual treats seen in effects heavy 2011 movie releases including Sucker Punch, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as well as the challenges of developing visual effects in a truly global production pipeline.

MPC Head of Pipeline, Hannes Ricklefs examines “The Need for Standardization within Global Visual Effects Productions through Open Source and Open Standards” on Monday 8th August from 3:45 – 5:15 pm.

MPC YVR Sherlock Holmes Game of ShadowsMPC Vancouver Software Lead, Ben Cole presents “Kali: High-Quality FEM Destruction in Zack Snyder’s ‘Sucker Punch’” on Wednesday 10th August from 2:00 – 2:30 pm.

MPC’s SIGGRAPH 2011 booth (463) is located in the centre of the main exhibition hall, and MPC’s recruitment team will be on the look out for talented and creative individuals to join our expanding teams around the world. With capacity set to increase at all of our facilities in order to fulfil exciting movie projects including Prometheus, Wrath of the Titans, World War Z, 47 Ronin, Journey 2, Jack the Giant Killer and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows as well as a number of openings to join our award winning Advertising team, there really is no better time to join MPC. If you have what it takes to work at a World Leading VFX Studio make your way to our booth where our recruitment team will be happy to offer advice to prospective team members.

MPC Film VFX Supervisors Greg Butler (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, GI Joe: The Rise of the Cobra, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), Guillaume Rocheron (Fast 5, Sucker Punch, Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief) and MPC Advertising VFX Supervisors Anthony Bloor and Carsten Keller will be revealing some of the secrets behind their most recent work at the booth. (Schedule to be announced)MPC-Assassin's Creed

This year SIGGRAPH’s Computer Animation Festival celebrates its 38th year and two of the biggest commercials that MPC completed last year will be screened, Cadbury ‘Spots V Stripes’ and Sky ‘360.

Award-winning ‘Spots V Stripes’ features a full cast of over 60 photorealistic CG creatures. MPC worked with Director Nick Gordon, Academy and Fallon to create this spot, which has already received a Cannes Lions, VES and British Arrow award.

‘360’ was created for Sky Creative to promote their film channel. Directed by Esther Wallace and Nick Tarte and produced by Sharon Kersley, the spot travels through different genres, unveiling epic landscapes including two fully CG environments.  The screening takes place on the West Building, Exhibit Hall A on Monday 8th and Wednesday 10th August.

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2nd August 2011

Toonbox Gets Nutty with TACTIC

tacticSouthpaw Technology, a Toronto-based developer of production asset management (PAM) technology for digital content creation companies, has announced that Toonbox Entertainment, also located in Toronto,  is ToonBoxdeploying 100 seats of TACTIC to manage all of the assets and data for its first feature-length production, The Nut Job. The growing studio just completed the movie’s trailer, and is now rolling out TACTIC for the production of the stereoscopic 3D film, which is one of the largest productions happening in Canada at the moment. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd August 2011

3D3 Solutions Will Demonstrate High-Speed 3D Face Scanning At SIGGRAPH

3D3 Solutions3D3 Solutions, a Burnaby, BC developer of 3D scanning technologies, will be exhibiting at SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver, where they will offer attendees at the conference free 3D face scanning demonstrations at their booth #879.

The face scanning process involves using a 3D scanner to capture an accurate 3D mesh and color texture directly from a human face. The output is especially useful in the video games, visual effects and medical imaging industry. 3D3 Solutions will feature the HDI 3D Scanner to demonstrate live face scanning at Siggraph. Their scanner uses white-light technology to capture high-resolution, color 3D scan in less than 1.4 seconds. Attendees will be provided with the 3D data of their face scans for personal use.face scanning

3D3 Solutions offers 3D scanning systems that are flexible in capturing human shapes, art sculptures, and mechanical parts for industrial inspection. 3D3 Solutions has also worked with a number of leading game companies and universities on developing custom high-speed 3D face scanners. In the latest development, the company’s custom face scanner is capable of performing a 3D scan every 0.2 seconds. “People have a tendency to move just by breathing alone and movement affects scan quality,” said Thomas Tong, President of 3D3 Solutions. “With the ability to generate 3D scans almost instantaneously, users will have cleaner, high quality scan data to work with.”

Please visit booth #879 at SIGGRAPH 2011 to learn more about 3D3 Solutions’ 3D scanning technology.

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15th June 2011

Lots of Events Going On Around Here

I only have a few minutes left before I have to head off for work, so here is a quick rundown of event news:

* If you haven’t yet registered for SIGGRAPH 2011, you should do so now, because ticket prices go up at midnight on June 18th.  Having the conference in Vancouver this year is a huge opportunity for our many-faceted digital media industry, and I hope that you all take advantage of it. We’ll be at the show, and we really hope to see you there, too.

* The Full Indie Game Jam that is happening this weekend at the Centre for Digital Media is sold out, but there is a waiting list. Registration is also now open for the June 23rd Full Indie meetup event, and with limited space available, I suggest signing up now. Games from the jam will be featured at the meetup.

* SIGGRAPH Vancouver Chapter presents The Art of Lighting and Rendering Rio next week at District 319. Jim Gettinger, Lighting Supervisor, will discuss lighting and lighting design as it pertains to the overall aesthetic of Blue Sky Studios’ latest animated hit, RIO. This talk will explore the developmental work pursued by Jim and his team taking the listener through many stages of the production process at Blue Sky. Lighting and lighting techniques will be presented from concept art, through pre-visualization, master lighting, and compositing.

* The next Women In Games Vancouver Martini Night is June 23rd at Guilt & Company. Ladies, come out for a relaxing evening of socializing with other women from the interactive media industry. RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.

* Annex Pro is hosting three (and free) software events in Vancouver; please click the event links for more information and to register. The first is happening tomorrow – Test-Drive Native Performance with new Avid Pro Tools|HD Native will be held at Annex Pro. Don’t Just Edit. Finish. Autodesk Smoke for Mac OS X takes place at Vancouver Film School on June 22. On June 28th, you can spend An Evening with The Foundry: Nuke 6.3, NukeX 6.3, Mari at Rainmaker Entertainment.

* New Media Manitoba presents iPad User Interface Design on June 21st. Chris, Olga, and Lee of Velocity Branding will guide you through their methodology for project management and designing for Tablets. This is a free event, and will take place at the NMM offices from 5-7pm.

* Interactive Ontario presents Interact Networking Mixer: Special Documentary Edition on June 29th at The Annex Live from 6 – 8pm. This event is free for DOC & IO Members or $10.00 for Non-Members. You are invited to come out and mingle with professionals in the interactive and documentary media industries, with the opportunity to uncover new possibilities for creative and business partnerships. This event is co-presented by docSHIFT (an initiative of the DOC Toronto) and Interactive Ontario.

* Tech Cocktail is coming to Vancouver on July 9th. The event will be very much focused on the future as we partner with Futurists:BetaLaunch as part of the World Future Conference by the World Future Society, a 45-year old non-profit organization dedicated to advancing ideas of the future. We’re also looking to engage with the local Vancouver tech community, inviting them to participate in this exciting event.

* Amazon invites you to come out and meet the Amazon Vancouver team, where you can learn about all the job opportunities at one of Amazon’s newest Software Development Centers in Canada. Meet and mingle with all the different teams that are growing and hiring at the new office. This will be a great opportunity to meet our engineers, learn about our culture, and find out about the exciting opportunities Amazon Vancouver has to offer. Have a drink and appetizers on us, but don’t forget to bring your resume. RSVP through LinkedIn required.

* The nationwide DEMO Innovation tour is back – it will be in Vancouver on June 23rd, Toronto on June 26th, and Montreal on July 15th.  Matt Marshall, DEMO Executive Producer and the DEMO team will travel around the country to connect with the DEMO community in search of the best innovation to showcase at DEMO Fall 2011, and they invite you to submit an application for a 30 minute private meeting with the DEMO team and leading Venture capitals in a city near you. There are ten spots available per tour stop. Each company selected will also have the opportunity to address a larger audience at the DEMO Tour party in the evening open to the entire DEMO community of VCs, investors, media and PR professionals.

Remember this is just a very small sampling of upcoming events – visit our Events Page for more listings.

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6th May 2011

Vancouver SIGGRAPH Chapter Presents The Work of Look Effects

Vancouver SIGGRAPH ChapterFrom Black Swan to Bones: The Work of LOOK Effects is an evening session event being presented by the Vancouver chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH. Being held at the VanCity Theatre on May 18th, the evening will feature a cash bar networking reception when the doors open at 6:30, prior to the main event, which begins at 7:00. Tickets are $15.00 for Black SwanSIGGRAPH members, $25.00 for non-members, with Group Pricing available at a cost of $20.00 per ticket for groups of 5 or more. Please note that Group Pricing is available only through advance on-line purchasing.

The evening’s presentation will offer insight’s into the company’s most recent work, including Black Swan, Limitless, Bones. LOOK Effects co-founder and visual effects supervisor Henrik Fett will give attendees a peek at how and why LOOK does what they do so well. Mr. Fett supervises digital effects production both on-set and in post production, and he is highly-accomplished in live-action production, 3D animation and digital post production.

Among LOOK’s other film credits are The King’s Speech, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Step Up 3D, Just Wright, and Bounty Hunter. The studio’s television credits include Harry’s Law, No Ordinary Family, Bones, Lost, and the Emmy-nominated effects for Life After People.

This event is sponsored in part by Annex Pro.

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11th April 2011

Picking Up The Pace

Canadian filmmaker and 3D visionary James Cameron has teamed up with acclaimed cinematographer and fellow 3D pioneer, Vince Pace to form CAMERON – PACE Group (CPG), which seeks to accelerate worldwide growth of 3D across all entertainment platforms including features, episodic and live television, sports, advertising andVince Pace and James Cameron consumer products, pioneering a new generation of camera systems, services and a variety of creative tools that are innovative, powerful and easier to embrace. Cameron and Pace unveiled the new company this morning during a press conference at the 2011 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

CPG will build upon the strong foundation of PACE and the 3D technology to which its co-founders have individually and collectively contributed, such as the revolutionary FUSION 3D system. In combination, Cameron’s and Pace’s technologies, products and services have been responsible for $4.7 billion of box office receipts and have played an extensive role in 25 features, seven concert and music entertainment projects and 40 sports productions worldwide, including “Avatar,” “TRON: Legacy,” “Resident Evil: Afterlife” and “U2 3D.” This history puts CPG in a unique position to respond to the growing demand for high-quality 3D entertainment and to provide 3D technology innovations that serve studios, filmmakers, directors of photography, producers, networks, studios and broadcasters. The company plans to take full advantage of its position to drive innovations in technology and deliver products, services and creative tools in unprecedented ways.

In addition to making advanced technologies, tools and services available to the global entertainment community, CPG will serve as an industry advocate for 3D technologies, practices and creative tools that will help filmmakers and other content producers realize 3D’s full potential as a creative and powerful storytelling and live broadcast medium. It will also drive public advocacy by setting the “gold standard” for the public’s perception of 3D, which will result in compelling, engaging and high quality 3D entertainment. CAMERON – PACE Group already has an extensive list of current and upcoming projects, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “The Three Musketeers,” “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” “Life of Pi,” and “47 Ronin.” Read the rest of this entry »

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31st March 2011

Canadian Production Sold to Belgium

distribution360Distribution360 has announced the sale of the award-winning comedy cross-platform property TAC.tv to Belgian broadcaster RTBF (Radio télévision belge de la communauté française). The broadcaster will air the Québec-based Salambo Productions original French shorts (181 x 3 minutes), known in French as tetesaclaques.tv, over the next three years.

The series of shorts features a cast of hilarious characters such as The Googoos, The Secretary, and The Pilot, to name a few. The off-the-wall characters featured in the series are sculpted from modeling clay by the creator himself, Michel Beaudet. While in post-production, he superimposes his own moving eyes, mouth, and nose, creating unique characters with over-the-top personalities.tactv-characters

TAC.tv’s witty and humourous animated shorts are wildly popular and have proven very successful across all media, especially in French-speaking Canada and France. Originally in French, the series has expanded to add English shorts to its slate.

“We’re thrilled that Belgium’s French-speaking population will be able to enjoy TAC.tv’s crazy antics on RTBF,” says Stéphanie Röckmann-Portier, Managing Director/Head of Sales, Distribution360. “Our goal has always been to showcase our dynamic lineup of cross-platform projects to international audiences,” adds Stephanie. “TAC.tv has already proven to be a highly successful and hilariously entertaining brand in many markets, and we’re excited to be able to share it with audiences in Belgium.”

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. has announced that it has received approval from the TSX Venture Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange for its graduation and the listing of its common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange as of market opening on Friday, April 1, 2011.  D-Box’s common shares will trade under the stock symbol “DBO” as opposed to “DBO.a”.

“The graduation to the Toronto Stock Exchange is part of a normal evolution reflecting our growth and the execution of our business plan,” said Claude Mc Master, President and Chief Executive Officer of D-BOX Technologies. “It’s a great achievement for the entire D-BOX team.”

BCICFounders and CEOs of technology ventures wanting to improve their chances of building a successful company can now participate in the BCIC Mentor Program and benefit from the experience of seasoned technology entrepreneurs. The Program (in partnership with ACETECH) is a province-wide development program for early-stage entrepreneurs with the goal of improving the success of technology companies in BC.

“The BCIC Mentor Program matches mentors with ventures in a way that recognizes the needs of the entrepreneur and the interests of the mentor,” said Paulin Laberge, BCIC Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Director of the BCIC Mentor Program. “The focus of the mentoring is on entrepreneurial education in the context of building a real venture. Once an entrepreneur is accepted into the Program, we expect that the mentoring relationship will span multiple years.”

In order to be accepted into the BCIC Mentor Program, the CEO or founder must be referred by one of the Program’s Participating Organizations. The first four organizations to come on board with the BCIC Mentor Program are: ACETECH, BC Technology Industry Association, BCIC-New Ventures Competition and Accelerate Okanagan. With the addition of Accelerate Okanagan as a Participating Organization, the BCIC Mentor Program is available to entrepreneurs in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan region. The program will expand into other regions, including Victoria, later this year.

While each Participating Organization has its own set of criteria under which entrepreneurs can access the BCIC Mentor Program, the criteria typically includes participation in current or recent entrepreneurial development programs offered by that organization.

“Through this Program, Accelerate Okanagan is able to expand the breadth of our current offerings to include long-term mentorship,” says Jeff Keen, Director of Acceleration Programs at Accelerate Okanagan.

Since the program launched last fall in the Lower Mainland, over 40 mentors have been accepted into the program and they are eager to begin working with the founders and CEOs of local technology ventures. Mentorship through the BCIC Mentor Program is provided to entrepreneurs at no cost. Stay tuned for additional Participating Organization announcements.

Microsoft CanadaA large majority of Canadians and Americans believe business leaders need to be open to take more intelligent risks in order to create innovation, a Microsoft Canada survey conducted by Harris/Decima has revealed. The majority of office workers in both Canada (97 per cent) and the U.S. (96 per cent) also agreed that companies must embrace new technologies in order to remain competitive. Both Canadians (96 per cent) and Americans (99 per cent) agree that technology is shaping the future of how they work.

The survey, which ran from January 5th to January 14th 2011, polled senior and junior/mid-level Canadian and U.S. office workers to better understand their views about technology and innovation in the workplace. Of the 504 surveys that were completed among a random sample of Canadian office workers and 501 surveys among a random sample of American office workers,  the results were clear: 84 per cent of Canadians and 77 per cent of Americans believe business leaders need to take more risks to create innovation, while only 53 per cent of Canadians and 55% of Americans feel the company they work for is already driving innovation.

“Canadian business leaders must embrace an appetite for intelligent risk instead of shying away from it to stay within the comfort of status quo,” says Eric Gales, President of Microsoft Canada. “Now is the time to createorganizational cultures where risk is not a dirty four-letter word, but is encouraged as a valuable ingredient in fueling learning, creativity and inspiring innovation.”

“The business world is in the midst of an exciting period of change driven by technology,” said Peter Aceto, Chief Executive Officer, ING DIRECT, commenting on the survey results. “For businesses to be successful in this environment, leaders need to promote a culture where employees at all levels not only understand their business but feel safe to experiment in it- to reach far across the divide – with no danger of the repercussions of failure.”

Added Gales: “What we need to do is overcome the misconception that risk automatically equates to danger. We need to transform the idea of risk into a true opportunity – whether in business, skiing down a mountain, or in improving Canada’s healthcare system. Business leaders need to empower their teamsand drive forward innovation to strengthen our economy and put Canada on the map.”

“Understanding the intersection of technology and innovation is critical to the future success of firms. It is particularly critical for larger organizations, that must not only embrace change and creativity, but most also “scale up” in order to survive global competition. This report is an excellent start toward understanding and infusing Canada’s corporate culture with the need to innovate and accept change,” commented Dr. Benson Honig, McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business, TeresaCascioli Chair in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The survey also found that:

  • The younger generation of corporate/business workers entering the workforce are considered to be just as innovative (Canada 47%; US 46%) or more innovative (Canada 41%; US 39%) than today’s current leaders
  • The top reason for indicating the younger generation is more innovative than today’s current leaders is their experience, comfort, and understanding of technology (Canada 68%; US 80%)
  • Americans are more likely than Canadians to believe the younger generation is more innovative due to their experience with technology (80% vs. 68%), while Canadians are more likely than Americans to think the younger generation is more innovative because of their ability to learn and adapt (27% vs. 15) and their fresh approach (10% vs. 5%)

SimplyCastSimplyCast.com has released Version 6.2 of its SaaS all-in-one marketing application. The latest software release further enhances the multi-channel marketing process by adding powerful features throughout the application to help beginners and advanced online marketers get the results they want.

All users will immediately benefit from an improved reporting framework, faster image serving for newsletters, a list segmentation option for fax marketing and a manage subscription feature that allows recipients to decide what lists they want to remain on.

“Our product development has always been driven by customer feedback and what small business owners need to get the job done,” said Saeed El-Darahali, president and CEO of SimplyCast. “This release represents another important milestone for our company as we continue to provide the most competitively priced all-in-one marketing product to users worldwide.”

Other new features of Version 6.2 include the latest version of SimplyCast’s one-of-a-kind Visual Editor, a revamp of the autoresponder marketing tool and key additions to the free Twitter Marketing service, including a RSS feed to Twitter option.

SimplyCast’s 11-in-1 multi-channel marketing platform is a web-based solution designed to create, track and deliver targeted online marketing campaigns such as email, survey, event, autoresponder, Twitter, fax, SMS and link tracking services.

Future ShopFuture Shop has introduced a new trade-in program which gives Canadians a chance to responsibly recycle their old DVDs and grow their Blu-ray collections with a special offer. Trade & Save will officially launch tomorrow, April 1st, and run until May 5th. Future Shop customers will be able to bring in their old DVDs in exchange for a $5 coupon to use towards purchasing a new Blu-ray movie from a massive selection of over 150 titles to choose from.

“Future Shop is excited to launch the new Trade & Save program that allows customers to upgrade their movie collections with Blu-ray movies at a discount,” said Nikki Hellyer, Director of Marketing, Future Shop. “This program provides a win-win scenario where customers can recycle old DVDs and receive a coupon geared towards helping them build their Blu-ray collections.”

To participate, customers can bring any DVD movies to their nearest Future Shop and exchange them for $5 coupons for select new Blu-ray movies at the Customer Service desk. Eligible Blu-ray titles are clearly marked with in-store with a Trade & Save sticker on the case. A $5 coupon will be provided per returned DVD to a maximum of 20 per customer per day. Customers can redeem one $5 coupon per select Blu-ray title.

The $5 coupon applies to a wide selection of Blu-ray titles from the industry’s top studios* in all genres: action and adventure, family, female favourites, comedies, dramas and musicals. Select new releases in the Trade & Save program, include The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (April 8) and Gulliver’s Travels (April 19).

Here are a few examples of after trade-in pricing:

* $4.99: Heat, Speed and James Bond movies.
* $9.99: Alien vs. Predator, 300 and Ice Age movies.
* $11.99: The Dark Night, Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary, The Hangover.
* $14.99: Inception, The Sound of Music, A-Team, Faster, Robin Hood.

All DVDs collected will be responsibly recycled in Canada.

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23rd November 2010

Event Updates New Postal App and A Mini Sasquatch

GameON FinanceGameON: Finance, Canada’s premier investment forum for the interactive entertainment industry, is pleased to announce three featured international speakers who will be at the conference on January 20 & 21 in Toronto.

Dino Patti, Director, Co-Owner and Co-Founder, Playdead
In 2009 Playdead received 11 million DKK (Danish Kroner) in venture money to finish their game. Their critically acclaimed title, LIMBO, has now received several international awards including two awards at the Independent Games Festival in San Francisco and 3 Milthons for Game of the Year, Best Indie Game and Best Visual Art at the European Games Awards.

Juan Benito, Creative Director & Co-Founder, Joystick Labs
Juan Benito co-founded Joystick Labs during Summer 2010. Prior to Joystick, Juan Benito started the Atomic Games studio in Raleigh, NC, and before that co-founded Red Storm Entertainment in the Triangle area in 1996, where he was Executive Producer for the original Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six. Before Red Storm, Juan designed the world’s first fully 3D military submarine simulation game, Tom Clancy’s SSN, while at Virtus Studios, a Triangle-area pioneer in 3D and game technologies. In addition, Juan has worked on numerous entertainment projects with companies such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Konami, Disney, Paramount Pictures, Columbia University, United Media, and has developed training systems in collaboration with the USMC, FBI, and agencies within the US Intelligence Community. He is also founder and CEO of Cooperative Entertainment, a boutique development group and consultancy, and serves as Creative Director for the Triangle Game Initiative.

Joel Benton, Founder & CEO, Easy Tiger Media Ltd.
Joel Benton is a video game professional who has spent a career helping games developers achieve their creative and commercial goals. After a successful career in software sales and marketing, Joel joined Indie developer Wide Games in Brighton, UK – creators of one of the first stealth-based console games Prisoner of War for Codemasters. When the Wide Games team was acquired by Kuju Entertainment Ltd, one of the UK largest game developers, Joel became Business Development Director for the six studios in the group and negotiated and signed development deals with all the major publishers. Joel left Kuju to work as Head of European Operations for international agents Digital Development Management before starting his own Business Development consultancy. In 2009 Joel started Easy Tiger Media Ltd, a digital publishing company which released two titles on XBLA in 2010 and PlayReplay Ltd, the world’s only marketing and PR agency focusing exclusively on successfully promoting digitally distributed games, which now has offices in London and Los Angeles.

Tricon Films and TelevisionTricon Films & Television along with Toronto-based Shark Teeth Films have announced the launch of the CGI/live-action kid’s series in development, Smallfoot. The teaser has been licensed to CBBC’s My Toons in the UK, a hub for the funniest, quirkiest and coolest short ‘toons.

“The My Toons site is a great place to try out new shows, new talent and new formats which hopefully will benefit the audience, the producer and the broadcaster,” said Jon Rutherford, Vice President, International Sales and Acquisitions at Tricon Films & Television.smallfoot

Created by Adrian Carter and Tom Mudd at Shark Teeth Films, Smallfoot, a hilarious and rambunctious action-comedy for kids, is based on the comedic and mischievous adventures of two miniature friends in the big city. Smallfoot,­ a miniature Sasquatch, ­ is around twice as big as a mouse and is a species unknown to science. He’s the new kid on the block and he’s out of his element. Luckily for Smallfoot, a resourceful mouse named Larry has decided to take him under his wing. Unluckily for Smallfoot, Larry is a chatterbox and a know-it-all, and his blabbermouth gets the two of them in trouble all the time.

“Smallfoot is a distinctive show with a unique, completely original style of production,” said Shark Teeth Films Tom Mudd, producer of Smallfoot. “Through on-camera techniques and digital post wizardry, the characters have life and a deep sparkle of intelligence. They feel like real creatures doing hilarious things.”

webcom MontrealUnder the theme of corporate rebooting through collaboration, communities and mobility, the 9th edition of webcom-Montréal international conference on new technologies and Web 2.0 held on November 17, was a resounding success.

Through the participation of renowned keynote speakers, namely Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, and Marsha Collier, one of the world’s foremost experts on online sales communities, this edition benefited hundreds of attending professionals and amateurs in the fields of communications and new technologies.

Over 800 participants answered the call and gathered at OACI, where the event was held, thanks to the participation of numerous collaborators and partners in the business, Web, communications and multimedia sectors.

Guests participating in this 9th edition had the option of attending 30-odd sessions and conferences presented by 42 speakers, including six case studies and one webCamp, a must-see event for 2.0 fans.

The four main themes presented, namely Business 2.0, Marcom 2.0, Solutions 2.0, as well as a theme focusing on mobility, enabled participants to learn more about the latest Web trends and practices.

The 9th edition of webcom-Montréal also stood out through social media, thanks to a popular following on Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter, where the #webcomMT hashtag was very active. webcomLIVE’s noted presence on UStream once again enabled Web users from around the world a live connection to a continuous flow of unique interviews with both speakers and participants.

During this latest edition, webcom organizers also took the opportunity to present two important awards to individuals who contributed to and expanded in their own way Québec’s new tech industry, namely Patrick Lauzon and René Barsalo. Louise Guay and Sylvain Carle were the proud recipients of this award in the conference’s May edition.

Get your calendars out: webcom-Montréal is already gearing up for its 10th edition, to be held on May 11, 2011, and which will once again prove to be a must-see event featuring international case studies, fascinating panels and free special conferences with the world’s greatest experts. Web best practices and new trends will be the main focus under four different themes, namely Business 2.0, Marcom 2.0, Solutions 2.0, as well as another to be announced next spring.

This event’s success stems from the collaboration of several partners, including Transcontinental, w.illi.am, Massy-Forget Public Relations and MarketingQc.

Canada PostCanada Post has announced the official launch of its free application for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that will provide customers with convenient and easy access to two of the most popular web tools at CanadaPost.ca.

The new application, which is now available for download at the iTunes App Canada Post AppStore, enables customers to track their packages and find nearby post offices, either by typing in an address or by using their device’s GPS feature. Track a Package and Find a Post Office are two of the most frequently used tools on Canada Post’s website – with a combined monthly average of more than 4.25 million uses.

“Our customers are on the go, and we aim to provide them with convenient, easy access to our products and services by keeping abreast of current trends and new technologies. We have seen an increase in the use of mobile devices to access our website, and we expect demand for mobile-enabled services to continue to grow,” says Louis O’Brien, Senior Vice-President and Chief Customer Officer at Canada Post. “We’re pleased to be able to launch this application just in time for the holidays as this is the busiest time of year for many of our customers.”

The free application is now available for download at the iTunes App Store. Canada Post will release a Blackberry version of the application in early 2011.

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