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Mary Poppins: The Peculiar Challenge of Animating Her World

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“Sandy Powell came up with the idea of painting the actors’ costumes to match the look of the animated characters,” Capobianco said, referring to the costume designer. “Mary Poppins wears a long pink and white gown that looks like it’s made of many layers of fabric. It’s actually just one piece of material that’s painted to look tiered; all the buttons and ties are painted, too.”

The key to the look of the sequence was the Royal Doulton bowl in the Bankses’ nursery, which takes the place of the chalk drawings in the first film as an entry to the animated world. Jeff Turley, the animation production designer, explained: “We looked at a lot of Royal Doulton bowls, and what caught my eye were the hand-painted ink decorations with sort of watercolor washes. That look is reminiscent of the work of Ronald Searle” — a British cartoonist — “and some of the Disney films, like ‘101 Dalmatians’ and ‘Mary Poppins.’ It felt like a good fit, at least as a starting point.”

Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) and the three Banks children, accompanied by Jack the Lamplighter (Lin-Manuel Miranda), ride a carriage driven by Shamus, a jaunty Irish setter (voiced by Chris O’Dowd) through the bowl’s landscapes and visit the Royal Doulton music hall — a sequence reminiscent of the “Jolly Holiday” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” numbers in the original movie. Blunt and Miranda interact with an assortment of animated animals, including penguins — a homage to the cartoon waiters in the previous film.

Filming the live performances so they could be combined with the animated elements proved challenging. “For the big music hall number, we were basically shooting the scenes three times,” Marshall said. “Once with Emily and Lin-Manuel and reference dancers representing the animated characters, so I could frame the shot and know how many people would be in it. Next, I’d take Emily and Lin out, and just shoot the reference dancers so the animators would know what they’d be doing. Then I’d take the reference dancers out and just have Emily and Lin-Manuel dancing, imagining everything around them.”

Capobianco added, “When we were on the set, we’d tell Lin and the other actors, ‘Remember, you’re carrying a penguin and it’s going to have a certain weight.’ As actors, they would have a zillion other things to think about, and the take wouldn’t quite be there. I’d ask Rob, ‘Can we get another take?’ He’d do it, and I’d say, ‘We still didn’t get it,’ and he’d say, ‘No, you got it.’ ”

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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