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Vancouver production company the first in Canada to use 'extended reality' technology – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
A Vancouver production company is gearing up for a busy 2021, when it will become the first in Canada to use groundbreaking new technology.

Promosa Management Inc. normally runs big live events, and part of its business is using LED lighting panels to create effects for audiences. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the business shutdown and tried to pivot into other endeavours.

“In May, we proposed to the provincial government to do drive-in facilities; that got denied,” said CEO Baxter Wilson. “In June, we put a proposal to do graduations; that got denied.”

Without other work, the team had nothing to do, and the equipment was left unused.

“We had to take a hard look at our business and figure out what we can and can’t do,” Wilson said.

He partnered with a company in the U.K. called Disguise to launch “extended reality” in a studio space, making Promosa the first company in Canada to do so.

Jason Kirby is head of production at Super Bonfire, a local company that creates digital media content. He’s been working with Wilson on the new technology and explains that it creates an immersive experience, making it look like a live green screen, except the effects are made before shooting.

“Basically, we are pre-producing that content beforehand so the talent can actually be immersed in that environment and have the real light coming off the LED surface reacting to them in real time,” Kirby said.

It all requires a massive amount of processing power. Kirby says brand new servers will be arriving in the new year.

“It needs an incredibly powerful back end to be able to do those things and this really is leading-edge technology,” he said.

Wilson says having to shut down production for most of 2020 has turned out to be a blessing in disguise, giving the company the time and manpower to focus on developing this next step.

“Prior to COVID, we were running at about 150 per cent, whereby we didn’t really have the time to really bring it across the finish line,” he said.

Kirby agrees.

“It was a perfect storm of event production companies that were basically out of work, all the LED tiles couldn’t go out and then you’ve got a bunch of geniuses basically sitting around trying to figure out how to come up with solutions to do something else,” he said. “I don’t think we would be here if it weren’t for the situation of COVID.”

Promosa Management Inc. will be rolling out the new technology in the new year. 

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Secret Nygard videos show former fashion mogul charged with sex trafficking travelling with teenage girl – CBC.ca

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Hours of behind-the-scenes video shot by a whistleblower show former Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard, who is alleged to have abused women and girls for decades, screaming at his employees and approaching a 16-year-old girl at the London Olympics.

Nygard is in a Winnipeg court today, arguing to be released on bail from jail, where he has been held since his arrest last month.

Stephen Feralio was hired as Nygard’s personal videographer in 2011. He spent the next three years documenting Nygard.

“When I first was hired, Nygard told me that the reason why Jesus is so popular is because he had a good PR team. My job was to film literally everything,” Feralio told CBC News in an interview.

Feralio, who was based in Los Angeles when he worked for Nygard, came forward and shared the video with CBC as part of an investigation into Nygard by The Fifth Estate and the podcast, Evil By Design.

“If I don’t expose him, he’s going to get away with all the things that he’s been doing,” Feralio said.   

Feralio reviews video he filmed of Nygard as his personal videographer. (Stephen Feralio)

                                

Nygard was arrested in Winnipeg in December on an extradition warrant. U.S. authorities accuse him of racketeering, sex trafficking and sexual assault involving “dozens” of victims.

More than 80 women accuse Nygard of rape or sexual assault going back four decades. Fifty-seven are part of a separate class-action lawsuit launched in New York in February 2020.

Nygard denies the charges against him and says they are all lies as part of a conspiracy meant to destroy his reputation spearheaded by his former neighbour in the Bahamas, billionaire Louis Bacon.

Several videos shared with CBC document what Nygard called pamper parties. Every Sunday for years, Nygard would host parties in the Bahamas or Los Angeles. Young women and girls were invited for what Nygard said was a day involving fun on the beach, food and dancing.

According to the U.S. indictment, Nygard recruited victims at pamper parties.

Feralio was hired as Nygard’s personal videographer in 2011 and spent three years documenting Nygard’s life. (Submitted by Stephen Feralio)

“Nygard would just come down and choose a girl. Usually they would be drunk,” said Feralio, who filmed several of his pamper parties.

“He would be grabbing them, dancing with them. And then at the end of the night, he would give me the signal and that meant stop filming,” he said. “And he would go upstairs to the room sometimes with two or three or more girls.”

Feralio also travelled with Nygard, documenting life on his private Boeing 727 airplane. 

“So life on the plane, there’s food and then there’s poker and then there is karaoke and then there is maybe a movie. And then there’s drinking and dancing. And, you know, Nygard had a bed on the plane, and so he would have sex with the girls up in the front of the plane.”

One day in 2012, Feralio said, he filmed a party on the plane that included a 17-year-old dancing along with several other young women.

“[They are] all dancing on the stripper pole on the plane,” said Feralio, pointing to the teen. 

WATCH | Videographer shows a party on Nygard’s plane:

Videographer Stephen Feralio travelled with Nygard, documenting life on his private 727 airplane. One day in 2012, Feralio said, he filmed a party on the plane that included a 17-year-old girl dancing and drinking alcohol along with several other young women. 0:23

Feralio said the 17-year-old travelled with Nygard, becoming one of the women he referred to as his “girlfriends.”

According to the U.S. indictment, women and girls known as Nygard’s “girlfriends” were often victims of his alleged assaults.

“Nygard maintained control over his victims through threats, promises to grant or withhold modelling opportunities and other career advancement, granting and withholding financial support and other coercive means,” the indictment said.

Feralio documented many interactions between Nygard and his “girlfriends.”

“They were around when Nygard needed sex,” said Feralio. 

“They would accompany Nygard to dinner. They would be parading in during the meetings. Nygard would call them the girlfriends.”

Entering a hotel suite

Another video shows Nygard and several women walking into a hotel suite in Las Vegas.

“[Nygard] motions to the room and he says: ‘This is where we sin. This is our sin bin,’ ” Feralio said.

At one point, Nygard appears to lose track of how many women are travelling with him.

“You’re all going to stay in this suite, it’s so big, so we’ve got…. You guys are with me. How many girls we got? Is there one missing?” 

“No, no, you two in that room, we three here,” one woman replies.

“Oh, I thought we had one extra,” Nygard says.

WATCH | Videographer shows how Nygard lost track of how many women were travelling with him:

A video captured by Stephen Feralio shows Nygard and several women walking into a hotel suite in Las Vegas. At one point, Nygard appears to lose track of how many women are travelling with him. 0:32

The U.S. indictment alleges Nygard had an elaborate and extensive system for recruiting young women and girls to victimize.

“To recruit victims, Peter Nygard … and others known and unknown used a network of trusted associates, ‘girlfriends’ and Nygard Group employees.”

One video shows Nygard meeting a young woman.

Feralio was filming when Nygard travelled to the Summer Olympics in London in 2012. In the video, Nygard and one of the women travelling with him can be seen approaching a 16-year-old athlete.

“Just to be here at the Olympics and to be running, good for you, and at 16 yet,” Nygard can be heard saying to the teenage girl, while he examines her Olympic credentials.

“Get her … number,” he says to the woman he is travelling with. “Her cell number or something. Two phone numbers. I don’t want to lose her now that I’ve found her.”

WATCH | Videographer shows how Nygard would approach young women:

Stephen Feralio was filming when Nygard travelled to the Olympics in London in 2012. In the video, Nygard and one of the women travelling with him can be seen approaching a 16-year-old athlete. Feralio said the video shows what he describes as a typical effort to recruit a young woman for Nygard. 0:34

Feralio said the video shows what he describes as a typical effort to recruit a young woman for Nygard.

“Part of what educates this … in the past, girls have said, ‘I found somebody else so that I don’t have to sleep with Nygard tonight.'”

Other videos show Nygard yelling at his employees.

“Some of these [videos] are kind of more difficult for me to watch,” Feralio said. 

One video shows Nygard screaming at someone who appears to be a male employee or contractor in the Bahamas. Another shows Nygard yelling at his staff in an airport. Nygard can be heard saying: “You’re not following my law.”

WATCH | Videographer shows how Nygard would yell at employees:

Stephen Feralio’s videos show Nygard screaming at someone who appears to be a male employee or contractor in the Bahamas. Another shows Nygard yelling at his staff in an airport. Nygard can be heard saying: ‘You’re not following my law.’ 0:23

“He screamed at us and he screamed at me a lot. It was a very stressful environment,” Feralio said.

Feralio’s videos became a hotly contested element in a bitter legal dispute between Nygard and Bacon. 

The two neighbours had been feuding for years about the expansion of Nygard’s beaches. Nygard was dredging up the seabed that sits adjacent to both of their properties, causing environmental damage.

Feralio first approached people connected to Bacon in 2014, offering hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes video in exchange for legal protection from lawsuits and living expenses.

Lawyers for Bacon filed a court action requesting access to the videos filmed by Feralio, hoping to use them as evidence in several lawsuits in the Bahamas.

Over the next five years, Nygard fought in court to keep Feralio’s video secret, arguing Feralio was his employee and Nygard owned the videos, not Feralio.

In 2019, Nygard abandoned that effort and now Feralio is sharing many of the videos with CBC.

“Nobody else in my world of Nygard has this evidence,” Feralio said.

Nygard has been in jail in Winnipeg since his arrest on Dec. 14. His lawyers argue he should be released on bail pending an extradition hearing because of his age and poor health and the risk of contracting COVID-19. 

Watch full episodes of The Fifth Estate on CBC Gem, the CBC’s streaming service.

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Pfizer will ship COVID-19 vaccine in fewer vials if Canada agrees to label change – CBC.ca

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Pfizer and BioNTech will cut back on how many vials of COVID-19 vaccine they send Canada this year if the federal health regulator agrees to change the vaccine label to say every vial contains six doses instead of five.

Medical professionals in the United States were first to discover in December that they could get six doses from each vial by using smaller syringes or special ones that trap less vaccine around the needle after an injection.

Initially heralded as a way to stretch the precious vaccine even further, the company stepped in to note its contracts are for doses, not vials: If a recipient can get six doses instead of five, then Pfizer and BioNTech can ship fewer vials and still fulfil their contractual obligation.

Pfizer pushed the U.S. and Europe to change the label information on the number doses per vial and both did in early January. On Friday, Pfizer asked Canada to follow suit, and Health Canada’s vaccine regulatory team is now considering the request.

“The final decision on the label update will reside with Health Canada,” said Pfizer Canada spokeswoman Christina Antoniou.

Special syringes needed

If Canada agrees to the change, Canada’s 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine will be shipped in about 6.7 million vials. Antoniou said if Canada does not, then the existing deliveries will continue based on five doses per vial, for a total of eight million vials.

“We will supply to Canada in line with our supply agreement and the label valid in the country,” she said.

Health Canada told medical professionals they could use sixth doses if they can get them from single vials, but advised against taking partial doses from multiple vials to make one dose due to the risk of cross-contamination.

WATCH | Ottawa offers assurances about COVID-19 vaccine supply:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to reassure Canadians about the COVID-19 vaccine supply after the European Union raised the possibility of imposing export controls on vaccines leaving the EU. Canada’s Pfizer-BioNTech shots are made in Belgium. 1:44

There has been some success at doing this. Saskatchewan reports receiving 22,425 doses of Pfizer’s and 10,300 doses of Moderna’s vaccine, for a total of 32,725. But it has injected 34,080 doses. The government attributed that to being able to get more doses out each vial than expected.

But European health officials have complained that a shortage of the special syringes needed is making it hard to get six doses out of each vial.

If Canada agrees to the change but can’t get the six doses out of every single vial, its goal to vaccinate 20 million people with Pfizer’s 40 million doses will be impossible to meet. 

Getting that extra dose requires the use of smaller syringes that allow less vaccine to go to waste with each injection. The best version is called a low-dead-volume syringe, which leaves less room for vaccine to get trapped in the needle and syringe after the plunger is pushed in all the way.

Those syringes are not as common as the three- and five-millilitre syringes mostly used in Canada’s vaccine campaign now, and the smaller ones have become the latest hot commodity of COVID-19.

Syringes on order

Public Services and Procurement Canada tendered contracts last year for 145 million syringes, 95 million of which are of the three- or five-millilitre variety.

There are 50 million one-millilitre syringes on order, including 37.5 million low-dead-volume versions.

The department wouldn’t say how many syringes of each type have arrived in Canada. A tender for one-millilitre syringes issued in October set a deadline for the first 15 million to be delivered at the end of this month and the rest by the end of March.

But whatever contract awarded has not been made public, including who the supplier is, how much it is worth, or when the supplies will be delivered.

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada for Wednesday, Jan. 27 – CityNews Toronto

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The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times eastern):

10:45 a.m.

Ontario’s new daily case count of COVID-19 is the lowest it’s been in seven weeks.

The province is reporting 1,670 new cases of the virus today and 49 more deaths related to the disease.

Ontario’s daily case count hasn’t been this low since December 8.

Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 450 of those new cases are in Toronto, 342 are in Peel Region, and 171 are in York Region.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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