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Ryerson and CineGrid Win the 2008 ORION Discovery Award

International research collaborations and innovations that are transforming medical training and film production, and taking teaching and learning to the next level in virtual environments, are being recognized with Ontario’s annual ORION Awards.

Presented at the “Powering Innovation: A National Summit” conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre today, the ORION Awards recognize achievements in Ontario research, education and scientific discovery.

“This year’s winners represent the cutting edge of technology and innovation, much of it pioneered right here in Ontario,” says Phil Baker, President and CEO of the Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), which presents the awards. “It’s vital to celebrate these home-grown success stories and raise awareness of the phenomenal work that our scientists, researchers and educators are engaged in, and the impact it is having here at home and around the world,” he said.

The winners have also received acknowledgements from Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty.

Ryerson and CineGrid Presented with Orion Discovery Award

The projection of light has always been at the root of cinema technology, but now filmmakers, researchers and experts around the world - including students and researchers at Toronto’s Ryerson University - are teaming up to help lead the digital transformation of film production.


Paul Hearty accepts the award from ORION Board Chair, Maxim Jean-Louis.

Ryerson - one of Canada’s top media schools - is a founding member of CineGrid research consortium, along with the University of California San Diego, the University of Southern California, and Keio University in Japan. The research focuses on networked collaboration tools that allow the production and exchange of extremely high-quality digital media over photonic networks like ORION and CANARIE.

Digital cinema technology can produce extremely high-quality images, which are as good as or better than film, can reduce studio distribution costs, provide greater content protection and open up opportunity for unique theatre features, but with significant bandwidth needs.

Under the leadership of Rogers Communications Centre Director Dr. Paul Hearty, Ryerson’s new digital cinema lab is helping to position the university and Toronto as a hub in this emerging digital, film-production environment.

Collaboration between the lab and others around the world explore and experiment with the benefits of digital technology is already taking place over 10-gigabit Ethernet lightpath connections.

In a world first, Ryerson and its partners recently successfully completed a transatlantic high-speed film production collaboration demonstration, using a “lightpath provided by CANARIE, Canada’s advanced network organization,” and its links to the global grid of ultra high-speed research networks, including California’s CENIC network.

The demo linked the Toronto site to its CineGrid partners in Prague and San Diego. Footage from a 4K digital camera was transmitted over fibre optic links 10,000 km away to San Diego for processing, and delivered to Ryerson via lightpath for editing and colour correction in real time.

The ability to collaborate in real time on the post production of digital cinema, while multiple parties are able to view and edit the same images from great distances away, are expected to bring a dynamic change to how films are produced.

This network-enabled research collaboration is particularly relevant for Toronto and San Francisco, both homes to significant creative resources in post-production work, leading to growth in the local media industries, in accord with the Digital City Network Agreement, of which the two cities are a part.

Dr. Hearty believes the technology has the potential to place Toronto and Canada at the forefront of the emerging digital cinema movement as a leading post-production centre.

Visit the CineGrid website at www.cinegrid.org. Read more about the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson at www.rcc.ryerson.ca.