Network: A honey of a Raptor

While Raptors fans can enjoy the antics of the dancing Raptor guy courtside, armchair fans can thrill to a menacing 3D version while watching televised games.

Toronto’s Beevision Productions computer animation graphics and design facility has rendered the cretaceous character to add another dimension to Raptors broadcasts on Citytv and ckvr-tv. The 3D Raptor roars to life at the beginning and end of every game and, with ball-handling skills remarkable for someone of his proportions and evolutionary challenges, the Raptor also dribbles and emotes during various intervals throughout the game.

Working with Toronto Raptors’ Chris McCracken and Lori Belanger and Northern Sky Entertainment’s Wayne Abbott, Jocelyne Abbott and Dave Toms, bp’s animation director Nina Beveridge and production manager Kim Plate took the opportunity to ‘go nuts – within reason – and mix color and texture and brush strokes’ in the broadcast package.

Animators Jeff Bastedo, Marg McGhie and Rob Smith created and fine-tuned the beast, which was initially designed with several plaster models and traced with a 3D digitizer, then animated in Prisms software.

‘The bulk of the production was in modeling the Raptor,’ says Beveridge. ‘But now that he is built, a good imagination is the only requirement to give him life.’

Video paint treatments, moving backgrounds, animated billboards and font carriers were courtesy of Ian Culley and Matador paint, executed within Beevision’s design maxims of ‘no right angles, bright colors and hip style.’

Technical director and Infinit designer Paul Hart transferred Bee-generated graphics to the Chyron Infinit via an etherneted PowerMacintosh.

Canada invests in networking

Canarie (Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry and Education) and a group of private organizations have contributed to the establishment of a national high-speed telecommunications network.

The $140-million network utilizes much ballyhooed atm (asynchronous transfer mode) technology, a high-bandwidth, high-speed means of data transfer. It is the largest network in Canada, and according to canarie, the longest continuous atm network in North America.

The infrastructure will combine canarie’s National Test Network, a research and development network created in April 1994, with Canada’s national Internet network, CA*net.

The alliance of organizations that contributed to the venture includes: Bell Advanced Communications in association with uunet and the University of Toronto, canarie, CA*net Networking and Unitel Communications.

Initially, 12 provincial and municipal research networks will connect to the ntn, and 13 Internet service providers will connect to the CA*net.

Bell Canada has committed $120 million to the project and is responsible for managing and maintaining the network. Plans are to upgrade its capacity from 10 mbps to several hundred.

Nate Horowitz, co-ordinator of multimedia at the Bell Centre for Creative Communications at Centennial College, says the facility plans to test the network’s real-time video capabilities.

‘What we hope to do with canarie and partner schools like Algonquin College is to test the network and demonstrate high-bandwidth, full-motion video distribution and work,’ says Horowitz. ‘We will test for the entertainment industry and also a number of applications that have to do with an interactive curriculum.’

It’s better with butter

The Popcorn Channel, a 24-hour cable network devoted to moviegoers, launched Nov. 24 on the MultiVision systems in Anaheim and Manhattan Beach, Calif., making it the first television cablecaster to air all-video material directly from a video server. All video material for air will be rerecorded to Digital Betacam then transferred in serial digital format to the Media Pool Server, manufactured by California-based bts, a subsidiary of Philips.

The channel’s server features eight hours of uncompressed storage.

A national rollout is planned for the New York-based service, which features full-length trailers of current and upcoming theater releases, theater listings and original film-related programming. Long-term plans are to bring the service to Canada.

Ownership of Popcorn Channel is split between The New York Times Company, which owns 40%, Torstar, which owns 40%, and Halifax-based Salter Street Films.

New name

Quantegy International is the new appellation for California-based Ampex.

Ampex Media Corporation and subsidiaries Ampex Recording Media, Ampex Media International and Ampex Europa are now owned by a group of shareholders that includes affiliates of The Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States.

Quantegy manufactures products for professionals in music recording, video production, post-production, news gathering, broadcasting and data storage.

Version 6 ships

version 6 of Avid Technology’s Media Composer non-linear editing systems began shipping last week. Based on the Avid Broadcast Video Board, version 6 incorporates ‘new online image resolutions with compression levels as low as 3:1, support for mixable resolutions, support for 720 pixel media and component video I/O.’

Hooray for Henry

Quantel has just celebrated winning the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement for the development of the Henry concurrent effects editing system. In addition to marking the occasion with a flypast of Quantel’s Newbury, Eng. offices by a vintage Spitfire, the company will commemorate the win with a free software package for all owners of Henry’s hippo (Henry’s Image Processing Power Option).

3M phases out

As part of the global restructuring of 3M, 3M Canada is exiting the professional audio and video products business.

3M Canada will phase out the products over the next year and withdraw from the market at the end of 1996 due to unsatisfactory returns on investment because of price competition.

In restructuring initiatives, 3M will combine its $2.3 billion data recording and imaging business under a new publicly owned company with related manufacturing, laboratory and other resources.