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Sheridan Institute and University of Waterloo awarded $4.9 million in research funding

March 24, 2010

Sheridan Institute and University of Waterloo win $4.9 million in research funding for innovation in Ontario's 2D and stereoscopic 3D production industry

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2010
Oakville, Ontario


Waterloo's Institute for Computer Research and Sheridan’s new Toronto-based digital media research and training centre has been awarded $4.9 million in research funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation. Total funding including contributions from both educational institutions and private industry partners is $14.7 million over five years.

Research and innovation will be focused on providing Ontario’s production companies and creators with technological innovations and best practices that will help them produce content for multiple types of delivery including film, television, gaming, interactive, and mobile. Collaborative research combining Waterloo's computer expertise with the production expertise and innovation at Sheridan’s new Pinewood Toronto Studio-based digital media centre will create a base for development of technologies and practices that will provide a strong competitive advantage to Ontario’s screen-based industries.

“One of Sheridan’s key strategic initiatives is to increase its applied research, building on its advanced curriculum in animation, live action filmmaking, and other arts areas,” said Jeff Zabudsky, President, Sheridan Institute. “Working together with Waterloo, a world leader in academic research, will help us develop our research capacity and practices at the same time as we help build these capabilities among Ontario’s digital media industry partners.”

Tamer Özsu, Director of the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo observed, “As a global leader in the digital media sector, Ontario has great opportunity to combine Waterloo’s knowledge in data management, security, computer algorithms and human-computer interaction with Sheridan’s knowledge of production technologies and imagination to create innovative solutions for the growth of Ontario companies.”

Pinewood Toronto Studios, in the heart of Toronto’s film and television studio district, is the perfect location for the Centre for Real-time Production (CRP), Sheridan’s new digital media sound stage and post-production facility that will link expert researchers, content and service companies, and creative and technical craftspeople. The CRP will provide a physical space for research that allows for interaction of students, faculty, and various industry and academic partners involved in individual as well as joint projects.

The Centre will look at both 2D and 3D stereoscopic production processes, what’s often referred to in the industry as the “workflow” or “pipeline”. Moviemaking practices and processes used in films such as `Avatar: will be researched and adapted to lower budget scenarios.

Different industry groups from both production and post-production (producers, directors, cinematographers, visual effects artists, etc.) and from film, television, and gaming will collaborate on projects so that Ontario will become known as a centre where both advanced technologies and the people who use them to tell stories integrate seamlessly.

This exciting new alliance brings together two of Ontario’s top digital media academic institutions and a wide range of partners from Ontario’s screen-based industries. Waterloo is recognized globally for the strength of its information technology graduates and its digital media research, spinning off companies such as Open Text, the largest Canadian software company and builder of digital content management tools. Sheridan’s reputation is built on its national and international success in graduating award winning animators, filmmakers, and designers with a focus on creative storytelling using advanced production technologies. Sheridan has achieved international acclaim for its success in working with studios, digital media tool builders and other industry partners. This funding links these two digital media centres, and also furthers Ontario’s strategic initiatives by facilitating major collaboration between two key digital media areas of the province (the Kitchener/Waterloo-Stratford digital media corridor and the Greater Toronto Area).

Dan McLellan, Deluxe Postproduction’s Executive Vice President for Canada and New York added: “As a major postproduction facility that has established strong working relationships with both these schools, we encourage and support this new collaboration. We believe this research will be of direct benefit to the production industry in Ontario and elsewhere, and will develop even more graduates who are thinking about the current and future technologies that will fuel the growth of Ontario’s production and postproduction industries.”

One of the key strengths of the joint venture is the range of industry partners involved in various aspects of content production and delivery. Individual companies as well as a cross section of Ontario’s guilds and unions representing film and television production and post-production personnel are key partners, ensuring that research projects and results will be closely tied to production needs. Commercialization of innovation through its rapid integration into content production practices will be facilitated.

Project partners include:
Deluxe Postproduction
Side Effects Software
Autodesk
Rogers Communications Inc.
FilmOntario
International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE 667)
Directors Guild of Canada - Ontario
Pinewood Toronto Studios
Copperheart Entertainment
C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures
Panavision Canada
QNX Software Systems
Metranome
ARM Inc.

Students emerging from this project will have unique skills which will be highly sought after due to their blend of creative knowledge and their ability to create software to apply new ideas in production. It is groundbreaking research that will enhance the bottom line for producers, while establishing Ontario’s reputation as a global leader in innovative technologies and the production of digital content.