Current purchases The Postman

At Current we are all striving to be the very best in North America at what we do.  The Aquisition of The Postman is another step toward this goal.  We have issued the following Press Release with the details.  

Current Studios, Cannes Lion award-winning integrated development and production company with offices in Halifax, NS and Brooklyn, NY, has purchased 100% of The Postman Post-Production Studios in Halifax.

 

“Our collective creative capacity in both our development and production teams will be greatly enhanced,” says Current Studios President Nathan Kroll. “This purchase creates a regional digital creative powerhouse as well as enables the Nova Scotia TV and Film community to retain the largest and most technically sophisticated Post-Production facility in the region.”

 

Marc Savoie, former President of The Postman says, “The Current Post-Production facility is designed to service the TV and Film Post-Production industry as well as Current’s digital development and production clients.”

 

On September 9th Current and Postman staff will move into the new studios located on the sixth floor of 1741 Brunswick Street. Key employees from The Postman, including Marc Savoie and Lead Editor Peter Giffen, will remain involved with the Post-Production division at Current.


The organization's 5-year sponsorship of the Atlantic Film Festival will continue and the new facilities will be unveiled while hosting an event during the Festival

CoverGirl x StarWars

CoverGirl and StarWars recently collaborated on a line of limited edition makeup for the highly anticipated film; “Star Wars Episode 7, the Force Awakens”.They chose New York Fashion Week as the platform to reveal 7 exclusive looks created by legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath at a high-profile event attended by fashion writers and bloggers.

Current Studios was approached by Grey NY  to create an interactive installation at the event designed to show off these stunning new looks in an innovative way.  

With the theme of the event being the choice between the dark and light sides of the Force,  we wanted to give attendees the power of the Force to help explore this exclusive line of CoverGirl products. 

With only two weeks to design the digital experience, create the 3D models of the new product line, and assemble the custom hardware, once again we leaned on our agile creative and development process to work with Grey and CoverGirl to achieve the futuristic results they were hoping for.

The resulting effort included two custom built digital displays. Semi-transparent acrylic screens created the illusion of holographic models floating in space with an asteroid field of makeup products floating around them. 

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When an event guest raised their hand, they harnessed the power of the Force, and unlocked the ability to explore the colors and styles for each of these exclusive new products with the wave of a hand.

The event created a lot of buzz online, through a range of media outlets.  Images and video content popped up all over social media using the hashtag #BeautyForce.  The surprise guest appearance of Janelle Monae helped to raise the profile of the product line as they revealed her exclusive look – Resistance Pilot.

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The interactive installations were a hit with curious guests, adding an innovative element to the product launch and creating memorable interface with this limited edition line of makeup that have Star Wars fans clambering to get their hands on. 

 

AR/VR

The idea of a character from a story transitioning from the real world to an imaginary world has been told over and over.  Neverland, Narnia, The Land of Oz or even Tron or the Matrix—it’s powerful as imagery—but just imagine experiencing it yourself.   

 With AR/VR (augmented reality/ virtual reality) we are now able to provide the magical experience of being in the real world and transitioning to an immersive virtual reality world.   Imagine you’re in your bedroom and a wall falls away opening a door to land of monsters and dragons. 

virtual reality

virtual reality

Or better yet—at an experimental marketing event the beverage product is enhanced with AR and when the user touches the bottle they are transformed to a VR world of happiness.  But what if your product wants to implore sympathy or empathy.  Have the user transported to a 360 VR video 1st person perspective and see what its like in someone else’s shoes. 

augmented reality

augmented reality

We see AR/VR as great executions for trade show booths, exhibits, experiential marketing events and more.  AR/VR uses a combination of augmented reality software, virtual reality software and VR headsets (Google Cardboard, Gear VR, Oculus etc) we can provide experiences like these and more. 

At Current we provide all production requirements for AR/VR.  Our computer vision, AR and game developers are some of the worlds most experienced AR/ VR experts.  Our animation teams have been Pixar vetted and our video production teams have filmed TV production, commercials and 360 video around the world.  

augmented reality

augmented reality

Current Labs' MRI Evaluation app wins Best App at 6th Annual Auggie Awards

Current Studios & Labs was honoured to win Best App for its MRI Evaluation app, "Don't Stumble Tumble" at the recent Auggie Awards in Santa Clara, CA. 

The Auggies promote excellence in computer vision across various platforms and categories worldwide. The award show is held annually at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) – the world’s largest gathering of professionals focused on Augmented and Virtual Reality, Wearable Tech, and the Internet of Things. 

Don't Stumble Tumble is a mobile application designed to help reduce the number of children requiring general anaesthetic. The app provides medical professionals a tool with which to monitor a child's ability to remain still for extended periods of time.  

When a child between the ages of 5-11 requires an MRI there is currently no way to evaluate if the child will be able to lie still long enough to complete the MRI or if the child will require anesthesia to be able to complete the MRI.  This results in either in efficiencies of the MRI machine or unnecessary anesthesia for children.  

Don't Stumble Tumble seeks to put an enjoyable experience on the process of GA assessment.

The game uses motion recognition software to give feedback to the child as they play, reminding them to remain still when motion is detected and eventually affecting their overall score.  The game is comprised of a ten level structure with increasing time intervals so children build up their comfort levels with longer time periods in the lead-up to their scan.  

All of the gameplay statistics and game data are constantly being tracked and displayed on an online dashboard.  This dashboard gives a visual representation to technicians and medical researchers of a patient's ability to remain still with a view to informing their decision of whether or not that particular child is a candidate for a non-sedated MRI scan.  

Don't Stumble Tumble aims to decrease the number of instances of general anesthetic for MRI scans, increasing patient throughput, lowering wait times, and reducing MRI costs. Current Studios & Labs worked with a team of medical professionals to develop this application which is now in clinical trials at the IWK Children's Hospital in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  

Producer Dom Fegan, who led development on the MRI Evaluation App, collects the team's award in Santa Clara, CA

Producer Dom Fegan, who led development on the MRI Evaluation App, collects the team's award in Santa Clara, CA

The Auggie Award in all its glory...

The Auggie Award in all its glory...

Current Sponsors Bedford Soccer Association Teams

Current Studios has sponsored the Bedford Soccer Association Bedford Titans U12-U18 soccer teams. Both boys and girls, academy and recreation teams will be wearing Current Studios jerseys for the next 4 years.

Under 12 Girls team wearing the new jerseys.

Under 12 Girls team wearing the new jerseys.

As a company we are thrilled to be able to do our part in supporting and reducing the costs of youth sports. 

Bedford Soccer Association (BSA)  is a community-based organization of mini, youth and senior players that serve to promote and support participation in the development of soccer in Bedford and surrounding area.

Current feels that involving kids in sports is a great way for them to get the most out of life and the activity! The boundless memories, lessons and values gained by participating in youth sport will develop a foundation for our nation's youth to excel!

 http://bedfordtitans.com/page.php?page_id=60446

 

LEAP into Action

Deploying immersive virtual reality experiences for mobile devices in headsets like Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift or Samsung VR Gear has its own unique set of challenges when it comes to user interaction.  These days, tapping on the device screen is second nature when it comes to user interfaces on mobile.  However, when your device is mounted in a virtual reality headset, tapping the screen is out of the question. So you’re left with the problem of how to invite user interaction that is both intuitive and consistent without taking the user out of the experience and causing frustration.

 

 One potential solution that we have been dabbling in recently involves the LEAP Motion in tandem with the VR headset.  The LEAP Motion is a small sensor that can detect hand gestures using infra-red light.  When mounted on the outside of the VR headset, the inputs detected by the LEAP Motion manifest themselves as 3D modelled hands within the virtual reality experience.  This really gives the user a sense that their bodies are actually inside a virtual world and they can interact with their environment.  Using something as second-nature as hand gestures allows for a wide range of interaction within these experiences - like opening doors to transition between scenes or to tap on buttons and really explore the virtual world they are placed inside. 

 

Is it perfect? No - not yet.  Some frustration can arise when the LEAP is unable to detect the particular hand motion you are giving it.  Since the the infrared beam is emitted outwardly from the LEAP Motion - some hand gestures confuse the LEAP Motion. For example, when a user’s hands are in a fist position in front of the LEAP, it can’t see any fingers, it doesn’t know what it is seeing.  However, this is definitely an area worth exploring further as we look to bridge the gap and suspend reality within these virtual worlds. Stay tuned for more advancements.


Here is a quick video that shows off a demo of how the LEAP Motion and VR headset work together.  The hand models used are very rudimentary in their demo iteration but can be switched to a more life-like model. 

Local Tech Going Global

Nathan Kroll and his team work with some of the biggest tech brands in the business, and they do it all from right here in Nova Scotia.

Kroll rebranded his media business in September, taking the name from Ad-Dispatch to Current Studios. They’re hard at work on their second project with Marvel, they’re starting another project with Intel in Best Buy stores, and their augmented reality blankets and pillows are selling well at Toys ‘R Us. While many virtual reality projects rely on an oculus (headset), Current Studios uses mobile devices to give users a more authentic virtual reality experience.

The majority of Current’s business comes from U.S. clients, but Kroll says their team is content to raise their families in Nova Scotia and rack up frequent flier points — although it can be painful to spend so much on airfare.

“People ask us how we penetrated those markets, and the answer is that we got on a plane and flew there every week for a year and a half — because relationships have to be made in person,” says Kroll. “It really requires patience, an enormous amount of effort, and a sizeable investment.”

Kroll says the best advice he’d give a local business owner looking to start exporting is to be prepared to spend a lot of time at 20,000 feet — taking meetings and building connections. But once the contract is landed, he says it’s not a problem to do the actual work thousands of kilometers away from his clients.

“Our customers don’t care where we are, because even if we were in New York, we could be working with clients in L.A.,” says Kroll. “With our expertise and our workflow, we don’t have to be geographically close all of the time — just when we’re there building the relationship.”

James Boyle, coordinator of Halifax tech conference Collide, says the global nature of the tech sector is allowing more young Nova Scotians to stay here at home, open their own businesses, and export quality products and services worldwide.

“I’m discovering all of the time that you’re only one Skype meeting away from anyone in the U.K. or Japan. I mean, I can email a file to China just as quickly as I can send it to Toronto, or to my next-door neighbour,” says Boyle. “Technology allows you to have a home base here, and still work anywhere in the world.”

Jean-Paul Deveau, president of Acadian Seaplants agrees. “We can succeed by focusing on producing new and differentiated goods and services, in innovative ways and selling them in non-traditional markets,” Deveau says.

He is a member of the One Nova Scotia Coalitionand is leading a team looking at Global Competitiveness and Trade.  The Coalition is developing a 10-year plan to achieve the vision and goals of the report from the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy.

 “There are opportunities for Nova Scotia products and services in emerging markets. And there are tremendous examples of Nova Scotia companies that are succeeding, such as Current Studios. But our economy needs more examples,” says Deveau.

James Boyle encourages local tech companies to reach out for guidance and support from NSBI. “They exist to help our sector. If you’re not having meetings with them, you’re doing yourself a disservice,” says Boyle.

Nathan Kroll on Canada AM

Current President on Canada AM discussing the Paediatric MRI evaluation tool that is in clinical trials.  This mobile app uses motion recognition software to allow children to practice laying still prior to their MRI.  Their practicing allows physicians to evaluate the child's ability to lie still, giving them a resource to decide if the child requires GA (General Anesthetic ) or not.

http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=553386&playlistId=1.2241413&binId=1.815911&playlistPageNum=1&binPageNum=1

Desktop, Console, and Mobile: A survey of the current state of VR displays

Curious about the state of VR (Virtual Reality)?
We found this article by Will Mason from upload VR to be very comprehensive. 

http://uploadvr.com/desktop-console-and-mobile-a-survey-of-the-current-state-of-vr-displays/



Get In The Game with NBA & Bloomingdale's

When Bloomingdale's partnered with the NBA for the 2015 All-Star game, they installed a street length of basketball-inspired shop windows at their New York City flagship store on 59th & Lexington. Six weeks before launch, NBA Entertainment engaged Current to develop an interactive experience for fans on the high-street.

Challenge accepted.

Current developed Get In The Game, a Kinect-powered free-throw. Launched on 19 January, in the lead up to the All Star Weekend in Brooklyn, the game drew an average 600+ daily interactions. 

"We are always looking for new ways to engage with our fashion-forward fan base, and we felt the NBA shop-in-shop was the perfect opportunity to unite fashion and basketball as we celebrate the NBA All-Star Game's return to the city," said Lisa Piken Koper, NBA vice president of licensing.

CURRENT AT CES

Who says 'what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?' Rubbish! 

We can't stop talking about what we saw at CES2015. Between catch-ups and project meetings with our awesome clients, we had a chance to check out some of the cool new innovations that we know we'll be working on within the next couple of years.

Here are a few that stood out...some good, some bad!