New Beginnings in the Big City

With every New Year comes the opportunity for change, growth, and assuming new risks in the search for greater rewards. Well 2014 is poised to present me with my biggest opportunity to date: I am embarking on a major adventure and life change: I’m moving to Toronto.

In 2011, inMotion decided to expand into the Toronto market and we opened an office in Liberty Village, in the city’s west end. It was an exciting time, to take our brand to the city of Toronto, where production is always bustling. Han, our Toronto-based Senior Producer, who has been running the office for the past year and a half (and doing an awesome job I might add), has always talked to me about the vibe in that city. How collaborative and exciting it is, and now that we are located in the heart of the production world, literally, nothing can stop us from realizing our objectives.

From the early days of these discussions, I’ve always had the thought in the back of my mind that I would like to one-day work from that office. Flash forward a few short years, and my dream is coming to reality. I have found myself an apartment near inMotion’s new office in the studio district in Toronto’s east end and I’m excited about conquering the big city! It’s a new and independent life for me in the Canadian city that never sleeps.

I have no doubt that the road ahead will be a challenging one, on a personal and professional level, but it’s a challenge I’m ready to face head-on. And without challenges, what’s the point of life really? How else are we meant to grow and evolve personally and as business people?

Meeting new clients, experiencing new collaborations, exploring new endeavors, and taking on a dynamic city screams New Year to me, and I can’t wait!

Toronto…I’m ready, show me what you got!

- Amanda Barakat

City Girl in the Peatlands

Hinterland Who’s Who is known throughout all of Canada for its catchy tune and ability to inform the general public about our country’s wildlife and nature. These PSAs allow viewers to take part in an adventure of the wild, and I was given the honor of embarking on my own adventure by directing the most recent installments.

There I am, sitting in the inMotion boardroom with the production team, going through our list of dozens of projects, when I touch on our two newest HWW spots, featuring the wolverine and peatlands. I had just gotten back from a work trip in Quebec City. Pat looks at me and says: Want to direct HWW in Quebec City? Millions of thoughts run through my head: Do I have the right crew? Are the scripts finalized? And, most importantly: Where is this city girl going to sleep on a nature trip?! As these thoughts spin like a Rolodex in my brain, I looked up at Pat and say: Absolutely!

On the morning of the trip, I get out of bed (note: I basically haven’t slept) and get ready to embark on directing two national PSAs. I grab my bags, laptop, and scripts, and I hit the road with an awesome crew. Now, clearly, the only thing I can think about is the week ahead: Is the weather going to cooperate? Are we going to have the right locations to represent what we’re talking about? Is all the gear in the van or are we missing something? My mind goes to the worst places, so, naturally, I do what I always do in that situation: I pump some old-school 90s hip-hop to calm me down. We still have a few hours left for the drive, so I warn the crew to put on headphones if they don’t want to hear my music, cause it’s about to blast through the speakers of this van.

We arrive on location after a smooth drive and meet up with our location guide. We are given instructions on our accommodations, dorm-style rooms, communal showers, enough said slash jokes; which I can’t say I am thrilled about, given who I am (remember: city girl). We head out to scout the boreal forest and peatlands. Our guide, Pierre, knows it all. He knows exactly where to take us, how much time it takes to get there, and how much time we will need to determine if the location is right for our shoot. As the scouting progresses, I start getting calmer. I realize how perfect these locations are, and what a great team I have to back me up. We find our locations and decide to call it a day because we want to get a sunrise shot with our talent. We are all in this together, and want to make these PSAs really great.

Early the next morning, my two favourite people in the world, HWW hosts Jody and Louis, are in make-up while reciting their lines. I’m breaking down the script and my awesome crew is prepping the gear. I put on my fashionable boots (note the sarcasm) and we drive to our first location in the peatlands. Trekking through trees and mud, which is my ideal way (again, note the sarcasm), we arrive at our first set-up, and it’s better than I could have imagined. I hear our crew’s excitement when they frame the shot, and now I’m overcome with glee. I know that when the camera operator is happy, we’ve got something great. We capture the script in both languages before 7:00 in the morning. First script is in the bag, and anybody who works regular hours hasn’t even woken up yet. We all feel great. That first location sets the tone for the rest of week. Together, we are working creatively to get the best shots possible.

As the week progresses, we capture amazing footage, meet amazing people, and make really great friends in the process. We end the week in the core of Quebec City, which makes me exceedingly happy. Main reason: I got to take a real shower – but also, we had finished shooting and had the night to hang out and explore. Downtown Quebec City is the old stomping grounds of our HWW client, Annie. The footage is backed up, our client, cast and crew are happy, and we are heading back to Ottawa after a week of hard work and fun.

Friday morning, we hop in the van and get ready for our five-hour drive back to Ottawa. The only thing on my mind now is the great experience and the fun we had. While I’m exhausted, I would not change one single thing. I’m pumping my music through the van speakers, and I’m thinking to myself how blessed I am to have had such a supportive team by my side, and to have an employer with the faith in me to complete the job.

I am so grateful and I look forward to working on this summer’s PSAs. And don’t forget, to learn more about Canada and its natural habitats, visit HWW.ca.

Check out the result of our team’s efforts:

- Amanda Barakat

inStox Leverages Kaltura’s Video Platform to Launch Stock Footage Enterprise

inStox Media Labs Inc., a stock footage company, and Kaltura, a leading online video platform, are pleased to announce the launch of www.instox.ca, which takes advantage of Kaltura’s open, flexible and modular video platform.

inStox sources, aggregates and distributes cinematic footage to meet the digital media industry’s expectations for quality and innovation. Through its cluster of production partners, inStox services global marketing agencies and departments, independent filmmakers, broadcasters and new media development firms. Kaltura’s modularity and rich suite of APIs are foundational to inStox’s user experience, giving consumers and producers alike a dynamic, responsive platform for discovering targeted stock footage.

“inStox selected Kaltura not only for their excellent video platform, but for their proven record of highly responsive, professional customer support,” said Paul Kite, President of inStox Media Labs. “Kaltura has allowed us to launch www.instox.ca very quickly and confidently, and they remain a key component of our premium online repository.”

“inStox is a great example of a new media company using Kaltura as a key component of their backbone system,” said Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Kaltura’s platform is unique in that it is built to allow each customer to use Kaltura’s video applications out-of-the-box, or, like instox, they can tweak the platform to fit their specific use case and detailed requirements.”

Please address any enquiries to inStox President Paul Kite.

About the inStox Media Labs
inStox, a division of inMotion Media Group, is a stock footage company with roots in the professional video & film, broadcasting and marketing industries. Its website, www.instox.ca, employs an innovative contextual search engine designed to return accurate, targeted results. Through its cluster of production partners, inStox services marketing agencies and departments, independent filmmakers, broadcasters and new media development firms from around the world.

About Kaltura
Kaltura provides the world’s first Open Source Online Video Platform, transforming the way people work, learn, and entertain using online video. The Kaltura platform engages hundreds of millions of viewers by providing media companies advanced video management, publishing, and monetization tools that increase their reach and monetization and simplify their video operations. Kaltura improves productivity and interaction among millions of employees by providing enterprises powerful online video tools for boosting internal knowledge sharing, training, and collaboration, and for more effective marketing. Kaltura offers next generation learning for millions of students and teachers by providing educational institutions disruptive online video solutions for improved teaching, learning, and increased engagement across campuses and beyond. Kaltura was recently recognized in Forbes as ‘one of the six fastest growing tech companies’, in VentureBeat as a ‘Next Billion Dollar Enterprise Tech Company’, in Business-Insider as ‘one of top 5 startups revolutionizing education’ and ‘one of 5 greatest open-source technologies for 2012’, in Mashable as ‘one of top 5 social enterprise technologies for business’ and in Fast Company as ‘one of the 10 most innovative companies in Israel’. For more information: www.kaltura.com, to join Kaltura’s community visit: www.kaltura.org and www.html5video.org.

inStox Launches New Website

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – inStox Media Labs Inc., a division of the inMotion Media Group, is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, www.instox.ca. This website provides an online repository of unique, high-quality digital video assets that unites producers and consumers of stock footage from around the world.

inStox evolved from roots in the professional video & film, broadcasting and marketing industries. Its website employs an innovative contextual search engine designed to return accurate, targeted results. Users can search, purchase, and download clips with the click of a mouse. Through its cluster of production partners, each with its own varied and distinct approach, inStox services corporate marketing departments, marketing agencies, independent filmmakers, broadcasters and new media development firms from around the world.

“inStox sources, aggregates and distributes the world’s best cinematic footage to meet the digital media industry’s expectations for quality and innovation,” said Pat McGowan, CEO of the inMotion Media Group.

inStox is now welcoming submissions from interested contributors.

Please address any enquiries to inStox President Paul Kite at paul.kite@instox.ca or inMotion Media Group CEO Pat McGowan at patm@inmotion.ca.

About the inMotion Media Group (IMG)

IMG is one of Canada’s leading award-winning digital media production companies with offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Ottawa. IMG develops contemporary digital content for any screen, anywhere, reaching broadcast, corporate, government and education markets through film, TV, and web-based properties. IMG’s cluster of companies provides a spectrum of services, including creative video production, camera and equipment rentals, and high-definition stock footage acquisition, distribution, and sales.

What can video do for your organization?

Canadians spent more than $15 billion online last year, often by typing a few words into Google.  Did any of those Googlers find your business?

Success falls only at the feet of those who appear in Google’s top spot, which receives more clicks than the second, third, fourth, and fifth search result spots combined.  So how do you claim that prime real estate as your own?  The answer is our modern-day Holy Grail, but there’s one way to help move the needle in your favour: create evocative, content-rich video, which will drive your business in three ways:

1.  Thanks to free platforms like YouTube, you can easily use video to improve your website’s quality score and achieve greater search engine optimization.

2.  Video promotes online interactivity, encourages sharing between visitors, and contributes to your business’s growing clientele.

3.  If you prompt an emotional reaction from your visitors, you’ve established yourself in their minds.  That’s what superior video productions are all about: they forge enduring connections between businesses and the customers they rely on.

But there’s a catch.  Producing compelling video is like cooking a gourmet meal: you can own some fancy equipment, but unless you have experience, technical skill, and an instinct for good taste, your guests won’t bother coming back.  That’s where we come in.

At inMotion, we own top-quality gear, we love our clients, and we’ve been producing award-winning video for over three decades—but above all, we hire the smartest, most imaginative employees we can find, and it’s working.  Take a tour of our portfolio, or cut right to the chase and drop by one of our offices in Ottawa, Toronto, or Calgary for a tour.  No appointment or commitment is necessary; we would simply love a chance to show you what we’ve been up to, and what we can do for your business. Get in touch with us and start telling your story today!

When we discuss our video library we use the terms “BiM” (before inMotion) and “AiM” (after inMotion) – they are that good! – Michelle van Vliet, Director, Communications and Marketing, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation

inMotion Welcomes Halloween with “Pumpkin Chaos”

“When the idea of smashing pumpkins in front of a high-speed camera became reality, I knew that the scent of halloween would be in the air,” says inMotion back-office editor extraordinaire and “Pumpkin Chaos” director Skyler LaFreniere.  He is referring to inMotion’s latest frightfully dark side project, released online this October.  Shot in the inMotion studio one dark and stormy night, the chilling video shows off  yet another side of inMotion’s transmutable studio space, this time adapted as the stage for a peculiar type of derangement.

“If you walked into the studio the night of the shoot, you would have thought we were shooting an episode of Dexter from all the clear drop sheets we put around our “kill zone,”” says LaFreniere.  Um, Skyler?  Maybe time to scale back the marathon Showtime sessions.  We’re a little frightened.

Special thanks to inMotion’s own Devin Singleton for the bad-ass “inMotion Pictures” brand design, and to Halt Imaging for generously submitting their high-speed camera to this madness.

Photo-A-Day: Friday, Sept. 14

Throughout the week, RocketOwl and inMotion are posting a photo a day to help each other – and you! – get to know what goes on behind the doors of Ottawa’s most exciting videogame and film production studios.  Read the flagship co-blog piece here

Friday, September 13, 2012

At inMotion (above):

It’s been a wild week here: one of those weeks when I feel as though Monday morning scooped me up and Friday is about to drop me off, and from there to here I cannot quite account for everything that happened. Project deliveries, fondly reviewed and packaged and sent with a kiss; proposals for new work, fretted over between moments of ecstatic inspiration and breakneck writing jags; and dozens of jubilant client meetings, staff pow-wows, and cost estimates (can an estimate be jubilant? In the case of our clients: Yes).

Each of these events is writ large on the personal ledger or those involved, but one in particular from the week stands apart for all of us. inStox Media Labs, which will officially launch this fall, is an inMotion subsidiary poised to reinvent the world of commercial microstock footage. A team of editors and content management experts has been working day and night to collect and index an enormous amount of footage in preparation for the launch. This week, after a herculean effort on their part, we crossed an important threshold and are closer than ever to realizing this dream.

So, of course, being a company known for our penchant to work hard and play hard, we did the only sensible thing.

We had a party!

- Megan Findlay for inMotion

At RocketOwl:

We like to think that a big part of making games is playing games (“research”). Every week, we try to squeeze in a little gaming time (between brainstorming sessions and angry bird plushy fights). That’s why one of our side-projects this summer was to revamp our old games room, creating a space where we could get together anytime of the day to do some serious gaming. We slapped some fresh paint on the walls, moved the furniture around, collected all of our tech toys and voila! The new and improved RocketOwl games room was born.

Pictured above is a fairly typical scene: the tunes are pumping, the people are chatting, and a group of programmers are in the corner working around the clock trying to overcome one of the biggest hurdles they’ve ever faced – becoming office-wide Mario Kart Wii champions. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it!

- Emily Armstrong for RocketOwl

Photo-A-Day: Thursday, Sept. 13

Throughout the week, RocketOwl and inMotion are posting a photo a day to help each other – and you! – get to know what goes on behind the doors of Ottawa’s most exciting videogame and film production studios.  Read the flagship co-blog piece here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

11 a.m. at inMotion (above):

Ask us about the most important room in our Ottawa headquarters, and you might expect us describe our enormous shooting studio, or our bank of edit suites spanning the back hallway, or our open-format kitchen where someone is always concocting a delicious solution to the noontime gnaw.

The true answer, in some ways, is simpler than that: our boardroom. We love it there. It’s where an iMac brings our colleagues from the Toronto and Calgary offices right into the room with us. It’s where CEO Pat McGowan, pictured centre, orates most profoundly on the craft of doing smart business with smart clients. Above all, it’s where we meet as a team to prepare for every pitch meeting, map out every creative strategy, and review every project delivery to see how we can amp up our clients’ smiles to a thousand watts.

- Megan Findlay for inMotion

11 a.m. at RocketOwl:

On any given day, on my way into the studio, I might encounter a fellow RocketOwler fluttering up the stairs. Now, there’s a chance they might be heading out for a quick coffee at the Starbucks around the corner, but more than likely they’re leaving the nest to see what’s going on in the world.

We love to meet new and interesting people around the city – sometimes even further depending on how far our wings have taken us. The relationships and partnerships we’ve developed throughout our journey are a huge part of the foundation on which RocketOwl has been built. Come by the studio for a visit and I guarantee you’ll find one of us leaving heading out in search of new friends to bring back and introduce to our flock.

- Emily Armstrong for RocketOwl

Photo-A-Day: Wednesday, Sep. 12

Throughout the week, RocketOwl and inMotion are posting a photo a day to help each other – and you! – get to know what goes on behind the doors of Ottawa’s most exciting videogame and film production studios.  Read the flagship co-blog piece here

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

11 a.m. at inMotion (above):

It’s a popular myth (at least among our type of folk) that a true inMotionite is someone born with a camera strap around his (or her) neck.  On the playground, we were the ones fashioning makeshift dark rooms below the twisty slide and assembling Lego replicas of 16mm movie cameras.

These prodigal signs of obsession define who we are as adults: we fall to our knees in the presence of cinema’s best technology, but we are equally reverent of that technology’s ancestral roots.  That’s why, when it came time to today’s photo, I only had to look as far as our edit suites to find an example of old technology meeting new, and of our employees staring down the long and colourful tunnel from whence we came.  Skyler, on the left with his lovingly restored 1950s-era Yashica – C, takes a picture of Justin with one of inMotion’s C300s.  You don’t need to be as far down the road of technical nerddom as these two handsome young bucks to appreciate the symmetry of this photo: Yashica is a close collaborator with Zeiss, manufacturers of the lens you see on this C300.  It all comes full circle.

- Megan Findlay for inMotion

11 a.m. at RocketOwl:

The room was quiet. Quiet enough to hear the dull hum of the office-issued incandescent florescent lights. Jas (pictured above) walked slowly over to the Developers Den with a serious look on his face, and his hands hidden behind his back.

They could hear his footsteps thumping across the shiny wood floor, but kept their eyes glued to the screen. They were working against the clock to get a brand-new feature into the game, and couldn’t break their focus for even one precious second.

He finally reached the other side of the room. “It’s too quiet in here,” he thought. Suddenly, he pulled his hand out from behind his back, and fired a giant red Angry Bird plushy in the lead developer’s startled face. A burst of laughter escaped from someone’s mouth, and all bets were off. It was time for a developer’s retaliation, weapon of choice? Nerf Guns.

- Emily Armstrong for RocketOwl

Photo-A-Day: Tuesday, Sept. 11

Throughout the week, RocketOwl and inMotion are posting a photo a day to help each other – and you! – get to know what goes on behind the doors of Ottawa’s most exciting videogame and film production studios.  Read the flagship co-blog piece here

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 a.m. at RocketOwl (above):

Early in the week, a lot of planning goes on in the studio. To successfully capture the best ideas that surface through our many team discussions, we’ve dedicated an entire room to the planning process. Whiteboards and notepads weren’t cutting it, and as a result, we covered an entire 8-foot by 23-foot wall with chalk (above right). The room has no chairs, allowing employees to run from wall to wall brainstorming and chronicling ideas. The game backlog is also represented visually on another wall in the room, recording everything that we plan to include in the game in coming months (above left).

In this picture, I’m reviewing our list of planning session rules, including “turn cells off” and “beer breaks at will”.

- Emily Armstrong for RocketOwl

11 a.m. at inMotion:

Our shooting studio is a shape-shifting space: occasionally it is as calm and serene as a pre-dawn lake, where I can float for a few stolen moments of solitude during a busy day.  Usually, though, it’s a hive of activity, full to bursting with cameras, lights, shooters, actors, directors, and the odd resident bulldog.

Like a particularly driven and faithful executive assistant, Freddie (the distinguished English bulldog pictured above, presiding over this morning’s corporate photo shoot), travels to and from the office with inMotion’s Vice-President Sarah Fodey.  He ensures that everyone stays on task, that the mailman knows his place, and that all tasty treats left within reach are efficiently disposed of.  At our office, a Freddie day is a great day.

- Megan Findlay for inMotion