A Christmas Story

Posted on December 28th, 2007 in Uncategorized by Marc Bourbonnais

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The picture on the left is from my dad’s home movies of 1967. It’s my grandfather, dressed in a Santa Clause outfit made by my grandmother. It was an old tradition at home. On Christmas day, a relative dressed as Santa would walk down the street, check his long list and come into our house with our presents.

Picture on the right: that’s me, December 25th, 2007. Forty years later. This year, my mother asked me to stroll around the block with this same suit to wave at the kids at my aunt’s house as well as walk by my parent’s house for my own kids.

I never met my grandfather. He died in 1970, a year before I was born. My grandmother passed away just a few weeks ago and I had to get the costume in the house she lived in for the past 60 years, now very empty. It was awkward and a bit sad for me, but everything changed when I walked out of the house in full gear.

The neighborhood was very festive; people were waving to me as I was walking along. My aunt was on her balcony with her family and her 4 grand children were thrilled. At my parents’ house, my daughter and son were overjoyed to see Santa walking down the street. It was just a short walk in a Santa Clause outfit about half a century old, but it was above all a big dose of fulfillment.

Happy Holidays to all. I hope 2008 will bring you joy, happiness and prosperity.

Marc Bourbonnais



Siggraph 2011 : Vancouver

Posted on December 21st, 2007 in CG Community by Marc Bourbonnais

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Title says all. It was announced today that Vancouver will be hosting the 2011 Siggraph conference. Pretty big news, this will be the first North American Siggraph outside the US. Congratulation to everyone in Vancouver!



“300” Wins Best Visual Effects at 2007 Satellite Awards

Posted on December 17th, 2007 in CG Community, Movies by Marc Bourbonnais

The Satellite Awards are given by the IPA, the International Press Academy; it’s the world’s largest association of entertainment journalists with over 200 members. The event takes place every year since 1997 and is somewhat similar to the Golden Globes of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association; in fact it’s a spin-off of this organization.

This year 300 was the winner in the Visual Effects category, winning over heavyweights such as Transformers, The Golden Compass (who deserved better box-office numbers), The Bourne Ultimatum, Enchanted and Beowulf.

The best news is that Daniel Leduc, VFX supervisor at Hybride was part of the short list of nominees, so it’s a great thumbs-up for Hybride. Congrats!



Short Term and Medium Term Projects

Posted on December 17th, 2007 in Entrepreneurship, The Company, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

We knew that a key aspect of our success was to fill up our production calendar as soon as possible. We decided to set up strategies for short term (end of 2007) and medium term (early 2008) prospects.

Short term pitching (i.e. right now) requires a lot of work. It is fairly easy to present our company to possible clients and partners in the Montreal region and cold calling current projects in production. The process went well and the feedback was great, but it took a lot of our time with numerous daily visits. Autumn is not the best season to get involved in VFX projects and last November has been pretty awful for the CG/VFX community in Montreal.

2008 is looking much better, and we have been following up on a few projects for early next year. For longer productions, the important issue is to build confidence in the course of a few meetings while demonstrating your know-how. Our very large studio space helped us show our potential as well.

Our calendar is definitely shaping up after a rather slow start and a few delays the past few weeks. We’ll finally be more into pixels and less into 2×4, accounting reports and city permits.



The Red One Camera

Posted on December 10th, 2007 in Technical by Marc Bourbonnais

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I finally got close to a Red. If you’re the least bit into digital effects or cinematography, you’ve heard about the Red, from Red Digital Cinema. For the others, the Red One camera is a new, very affordable 4K digital movie camera. Think of it as a 12 mega-pixel camera that can shoot up to 60 RAW frames per second. It’s generating quite a buzz in the industry because of its specs and low price (also because it’s a brand new toy).

Last Monday Yanick and I attended the Red One Event in Montreal, hosted by 3vis and partners. A Red One camera was on site of course, unit number 50 from Toronto. We had a thorough presentation by the owners of the cam (they have two units) going through their experience during the past couple of months. They were very satisfied even though the equipment is in constant evolution. Looks like Red Digital Cinema is interested in Canadian productions for field testing in the cold…

We also had a rough demo of the Red pipeline through Red Cine, Red Alert (both freely available) and Final Cut Pro. Most of the crowd from the film industry was uneasy with the new pipeline and continuous firmware revisions the hardware has to go through. I guess we in the VFX world are more accustomed to beta-testing and software updates.

My opinion? It’s an amazing piece of machinery for the price. The learning curve looks steep; there are still technical issues to take care, but the frequency of updates is very good. Then again, I’m not a DoP…



An excellent game, an excellent business philosophy

Posted on December 2nd, 2007 in CG Community, Working in CG by Marc Bourbonnais

Call of Duty 4 is an outstanding game. Here is an inspiring article by Michael Boon, lead artist at Infinity Ward about the creation of CoD4. It is quite refreshing to read a production article from the digital industry that does not boast huge overtime, impossible deadlines, high turnovers or complicated pipelines.

A few snippets:

We almost never have forced crunch - in fact I’ve worked one full Saturday plus a few scattered weekend hours in the entire six years I’ve been at Infinity Ward.

Having experienced employees means people know what to do (and what not to do) without being told….all our managers prefer to participate in the actual development rather than spending all their time making sure everyone is moving in the right direction.

From day one the art team was producing assets that were optimized well to work in our engine, naming them well, and setting them up properly so that they could be used in the game.

We’re aiming to build the same thing at our studio.

You can read the rest here at Next Generation. (Boy do I miss the original mag…)