July 22, 2010
Talking Dog makes Hollywood Connection with Augmented Reality
When Warner Brothers affiliate Legendary Pictures – responsible for such critically acclaimed films as Inception, Where the Wild Things Are, The Dark Knight, 300, and Watchmen – wanted to use Augmented Reality to announce their latest film, they turned to Saskatchewan’s Talking Dog Studios to provide them with the technology to do so.
This week, Legendary Pictures is at San Diego’s Comic-Con International, the world’s biggest comics and pop culture convention, celebrating the beginning of production on their next film: “Godzilla”. Persons attending the conference will receive a t-shirt with an image of the new Godzilla, and when they look at themselves in a webcam at the Legendary Pictures tradeshow booth, they’ll see a superimposed animation of Godzilla’s “atomic breath” shooting out into the air in front of them from Godzilla’s mouth, complete with black smoke rising from the flames and the ground-shaking bellow of Godzilla’s instantly recognizable roar.
This immersive experience was designed by Talking Dog Studios, of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and was supervised by Larry Monte of California’s Corporate Images. Talking Dog have been developing various AR applications for the past year, but owner Rob Bryanton sees this as a major step forward: “Augmented Reality is very open-ended, which is great because the possibilities are so wide, but it’s something that is best experienced rather than described,” says Bryanton. “With the Godzilla installation, we were able to quickly create something that our clients were immediately happy with, so we see this as a great recognition of the skillset that we’ve now developed”.
Another Augmented Reality project just launched by Talking Dog this week works with Android phones and the iPhone – it’s called “Where the Buffalo Roam”. Talking Dog comes from a city formerly known as “Pile of Bones”, which resulted from the huge herds of bison which used to roam the prairies. This free app allows users to look through their phone’s camera and be transported back in time, as they look at a huge herd of 3D buffalo being generated around them. For more information about Talking Dog’s AR work, go to “www.talkingdogstudios.com/ar”.
January 4, 2010
Happy New Year! 2009 was an eventful year for Talking Dog. It was quite an honour to pick up both the best sound and the best music awards at December's Showcase Awards: Best Sound went to Minds Eye Entertainment's The Englishman's Boy, and Best Original Score went to Jennifer Lynch's Surveillance, which we looked at the reviews for in the previous entry. In addition, The Englishman's Boy was awarded the Best Overall trophy. Since we created both the sound and music for both these projects, we're proud to see them being recognized this way. By the way, The Englishman's Boy also recently picked up an award for Best Drama at the Seoul International Drama Awards.
A brilliant success story was Mark Wihak's "River", which Talking Dog did the sound for: this critically acclaimed film was named Best Narrative Feature at the Fargo Film Festival, and received the Reel Indie Award at the Canadian Film Fest. Another film Talking Dog created the sound for, "Moccasin Flats: Redemption" (Big Soul Productions) was also well-received this year, including an award for Outstanding Canadian Feature at the ReelWorld Film Festival and Best Native American Voices at the Fargo Film Festival. Congratulations to everyone who participated in the creation of all of the above projects!
We've been working away at establishing our expertise in the exciting new field of Augmented Reality - here's a link to some of our AR projects, and click here for more background on what this is and how it works. Just before Christmas we worked with some New York companies on a "Greetings 2010" augmented reality page, and we're so very pleased to have received the following testimonials from them:
"A key to working with new technology is to have a team that is not only knowledgeable but also patient and personable. Rob and everyone at Talking Dog Studios have all three in abundance, which made for a wonderful experience."
- New York City based director Christopher McLallen (www.christophermclallen.com)
"I have to say, I am very impressed with your dedication to the client, the precision of your questions-comments... It is what I call simply: professionalism! And especially in such new technology, new challenges and creativity.
- Sylvere Azoulai - CEO, SOUS LES ETOILES, New York NY
As the only company in Canada currently advertising a full service Augmented Reality capability, Talking Dog is once again at the leading edge of using new technology and we're really looking forward to seeing what new challenges 2010 is going to bring our way.
All the best to you and yours,
Rob Bryanton, President, Talking Dog
July 1, 2009
Jennifer Lynch's "Surveillance" opened in major centres in the US and Canada this past weekend, and the positive response from the critics, particularly those that singled out the music and the sound (since, hey, that was our part in the movie) are much appreciated. RottenTomatoes.com, which tracks the reviews for films, is showing that two out of every three film critics gave the film a thumbs up: fantastic! Here's some of our favorite reviews:
Wendy Ide – The Times online
“…nicely ominous atmosphere with a sound design that looms up on you like a menacing shadow in a dark alleyway.”
Michael Gingold - Fangoria
“…the eerie sound design and score by Rob and Todd Bryanton respectively contribute to the mood of impending and arriving doom that Lynch sustains for most of the running time.”
John Fallon –Arrow in the head movie reviews
“We get a chilling score, novel sound design and a powerful use of music.”
Jonathan Crocker – Total film reviews
“Twisted with black comedy, off-kilter performances, unsettling sound design and jolts of violence.”
Harvey Karten – Member: NY Film Critics Online
“…the scenes of violent actions are tense, nicely photographed by Peter Wunstof with appropriately scary music by Todd Bryanton.”
Nigel Andrews – The Financial Times
“The scenes are shot in a clever range of styles, the dialogue is as sharp as a Stanley knife. The atmosphere in the cop shop, where the film closes in for the teased-out development before the recapitulation and surprise coda, is irresistibly seedy. Everyone spies on everyone else as the interrogations-with-surveillance begin and we start asking: “Who is lying and who is acting?” I did guess the twist ending; more joy to you if you do not. Either way, this is time well spent in the dark abyss of a multiplex.”
S. James Snyder – Time Out New York
“There are hints of Rashomon here, with three witnesses offering conflicting testimonies and sloppy flashbacks instantly poking holes in their stories. But the movie’s real punch doesn’t come from distorted memories so much as deranged minds. Something is decidedly off about the small town—and about the shifty Feds, who slowly transform from the people in charge to monsters on one hell of a complicated power trip. The many devils in Surveillance don’t just want money or blood; they take pleasure in seeing you squirm, and that’s precisely why this nightmare gets under your skin.”
Brian Orndorf – Brianorndorf.com
“…it’s an efficient mood piece, setting out to unnerve and baffle, and achieving most of its goals…. “Surveillance” reaches an interesting pitch of horror in the second half that’s well executed and suitably disturbing.”
By Melissa Anderson – The Village Voice
“Surveillance is the work of a director who has made significant strides in both storytelling (Lynch shares a writer's credit with Kent Harper, who also acts in the film) and control of the medium, deftly interweaving a grisly thriller, a sicko Rashômon, a switcheroo, a psychotic love story, an imaginative paean to children, and an inspired resurrection of Julia Ormond.”
JoelVanHalen – Angura Sound
“I love thrillers, who-dunnits, and generally offbeat anything. This nails it.”
Ben Mankiewicz – At The Movies
“When Surveillance is good, it’s a gory, pleasurable ride. When it’s not -- it’s just gory. But more often than not, it delivers on the camp.”
Matthew Turner – The ViewLondon Review
“Surveillance is an enjoyably dark thriller with offbeat characters, a strong script and great performances. Worth seeing.”
May 29, 2009
After six fantastic years, Brent Butt decided to wrap Corner Gas, the most successful Canadian comedy of all time, averaging 1.4 million viewers per week here in Canada, and currently syndicated in 26 countries around the world. In Brent's words, he wanted to "leave while we're still on top", and that's what he did: we're very proud to have created the music and 5.1 audio for this outstanding series.
I mentioned before what a great time we had creating the music and sound for Jennifer Lynch's "Surveillance" which received a standing ovation after its invited showing at the Cannes Film Festival. Ray Bennett of The Hollywood Reporter gave it this very nice review: "The film looks great, with cinematographer Peter Wunstorf using different stock and inventive angles to good effect while Todd Bryanton's score helps maintain a constant undercurrent of dread. Lynch fills the screen with elements that some viewers of the film will want to go back to watch more than once." The film is being released in North American theatres at the end of June, so start lining up for your popcorn now!
In other news, my Imagining the Tenth Dimension book and website continues to attract a worldwide audience, we're now at over 4 million unique visitors to www.tenthdimension.com and our animation that captured people's imaginations is now available in 9 languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Russian, Spanish and Turkish! Our high-definition green screen studio with teleprompter is now starting to see some use from outside clients. Also, as part of this project's exploration of the nature of reality, we've become fascinated with Augmented Reality: click here or here if you would like to see our first projects we've created using this exciting interactive technology, and please give us a call if you have an idea your company would like to explore using this capability.
We're just starting work on Hungry Hills, a theatrical feature directed by Rob King, and are looking forward to another successful year here at the Dog. Onward and upward!
February 28, 2008
Last night Talking Dog Studios was presented with two awards at the kickoff for a conference being hosted by Saskatchewan Interactive for the next two days. The two projects: "TalkingDog.TV" won an award for Best Use of Converging Technologies, and "tenthdimension.com" won for Best Website Production award. Recognition from your peers is always a thrill, thank you so much to the judges and organizers of this event.
Imagining the Tenth Dimension continues to attract fans from around the world, we're currently at over 2.5 million unique visitors and the website continues to average 2 million hits a month. As we've been experimenting with ways to provide additional content to the constant flow of visitors to the site, we've been experimenting with various streaming and live chat technologies, and TalkingDog.TV is an off-shoot of those experiments. Broadcast-ready Interactive Television is our goal here, and Talking Dog now has a Hi-Def video studio with green screen set up in one of our main rooms as a part of that. TalkingDog.TV is still very much a work in progress, so I ask you to check in from time to time over the next few months and watch as we build on these concepts.
Jennifer Lynch's "Surveillance" is in the can. I've already raved about Jen in a previous entry, and I stand by those words. We're in pre-production on a couple of more theatrical movie releases right now: Walled In, a horror film starring Mischa Barton, and Hybrid, a thriller set in a parkade. For sound guys, films like these are a fun challenge to work on towards achieving maximum impact.
Corner Gas continues to be a huge success. Renegadepress.com has just wrapped its final season, but on the heels of that we're pleased to announce that all five seasons are now going to be shown nationally on the Global Television Network every Sunday night, which should help this multiple-award-winning series reach a bigger audience.
So things are great at the Dog, and we're filled with optimism at the new possibilities that are springing up around us now as spring approaches.
Onward and upward,
September 11 , 2007
Hard to believe it's already six years since the towers came crashing down, isn't it? We're now working on the music and sound for a major Hollywood release, co-written and directed by Jennifer Lynch, with David Lynch as executive producer. Jen is a delight: one of the most exuberant and creative people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. The film is called Surveillance and everyone in the building are super excited about this show, which is kind of a thriller but with a very dark comedy aspect to it as well.
Meanwhile, Corner Gas premieres this Monday, September 17th on the WGN Superstation. Fingers crossed, we think the American audiences are going to get a big kick out of the sharp writing and great characters on this series. We're in the middle of audio/music for Season Five of the series right now, which will start broadcasting up here in Canada in a few weeks on CTV.
Imagining the Tenth Dimension continues to do very well. We've been experimenting with a live-interactive television broadcast of our own on a daily basis, which you can watch at tenthdimension.tv . There are also a large number of videos posted on youtube and at http://one.revver.com/collections/show/26813 , including dozens of music videos for the songs from my book. I'm pleased to report that two million unique visitors have now been to www.tenthdimension.com ... and a rave review of my book was published a couple of months ago in the magazine "What Is Enlightenment?" (if you'd like to read senior associate editor Tom Huston's article, go to www.tenthdimension.com/wie_article.pdf). This project has really taken on a life of its own, which has been quite a thrill for me. I think it proves what I have been saying for many years: the fact that we are in the middle of nowhere - the province of Saskatchewan, far from all of the major centres of Canada or the US - is going to mean less and less all the time. Having good ideas and doing good work - that's what makes the difference in the long run.
As president of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association, I'm also excited that the Gemini Awards (Canada's version of the Emmies) are coming to Regina this fall. The last twelve months have been phenomenal for Saskatchewan - Canada's highest grossing concert of all time happened here last fall when the Rolling Stones came to town. In 2007 Saskatchewan also hosted the Juno Awards, the Canadian Country Music Awards, the Western Canadian Music Awards, and now the Geminis. Awesome! On top of all that the province is booming, people are moving here in droves and even the Saskatchewan Roughriders are having their best season in thirty years. It's good times on the prairies!
Speaking of the Gemini awards, we've been nominated nine times in the past nine years for our music and sound work on various dramatic projects. I'm so proud of my hard working team here at Talking Dog. Thank you to all of our clients who have made this such a banner year for the Dog.
Onward and upward!
Talking Dog Studios Inc.
January 21, 2007
Happy 2007! We're looking forward to another great year. Corner Gas has secured a US distribution deal with American cable network superstation WGN, so we're all excited to see what's going to happen this fall when the American audiences start to get a taste of that show's unique sense of humor.
We're working away on the music and audio for The Englishman's Boy, another four-hour mini-series for CBC-TV which will be broadcast this fall.This is a very moving project, director John Smith has done a great job of bringing Guy Vanderhaeghe's award-winning novel to the screen. It really shines a different light on what it meant for the First Nations people of this continent when the Europeans started moving in.
Meanwhile, the CBC comedy series Little Mosque on the Prairie (which we did the audio for the first two episodes of) is now the surprise hit of the new year. We've done a number of projects with the show's creator, Zarqa Nawaz, over the years, so we're proud to be able to say we knew her back before she became rich and famous. Way to go, Zarqa!
I mentioned last entry about my book, Imagining the Tenth Dimension. I really wasn't prepared for how much the world has embraced this project:as of last week, over 1 million unique visitors have been to the site since it was launched in July 2006. It has been written up in blogs at Wired.com and recommended at EntertainmentWeekly.com. The book has sold well in the US, Canada, the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, Norway, Belgium, Brazil, and copies have been sold in thirty other countries around the world. If you'd like to see what is drawing people to the site, go to www.tenthdimension.com and watch the eleven minute animation. There are 26 songs associated with the project, some of which are now available at www.AmieStreet.com/talkingdog. I've also just started a blog associated with the project, which can be found at www.imaginingthetenthdimension.blogspot.com .
Thanks to the wonderful crew here at Talking Dog, I think this may be our best year ever.
Onward and upward,
May 4, 2006
We're gearing up now for what promises to be another year of exciting growth for the Dog. The audience for Corner Gas continues to build each year, with audiences averaging 1.6 million viewers a week, and sometimes over 2 million. As we gear up for season four, we are so very proud to be creating the music and sound for this fantastic Canadian success story. Another series we create the music and audio for is "renegadepress.com", which has been on APTN for the past three years. Now that the Global Television Network will be broadcasting it beginning this fall, we expect that renegadepress.com will find a whole new audience. This great series has already been nominated in 2004 and again in 2005 for Gemini Awards in the category "Best Sound for a Dramatic Series". Speaking of the Geminis, we have been nominated 8 times in the last 8 years for these prestigious awards: four times in the "Best Sound for a Dramatic Series" category, and four times in the "Best Original Music for a Dramatic Series" category. Achieving this kind of success and recognition in both music and sound design is one of the things that makes Talking Dog such a unique company.
Other shows we created the music and audio for in the past year are the CBC mini-series "Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story"; and the film adaptation of Andrea Menard's "The Velvet Devil", for which we either re-recorded or adapted the performances from her original CD, and for which Talking Dog composed additional underscore and bridge music (in addition to lots of creative sound design and the final mix). Both shows have garnered a lot of press and viewer feedback, and both shows look great. Remixing shows like these for their 5.1 DVD release has also become an increasingly large part of our operation, and the Corner Gas DVDs have been Canadian best-sellers with each new season's release.
Here's a sampling of some of the other shows we created the music and audio for in the last while: "Fifty Below Zero", a creative visualization of the classic Robert Munsch children's book; "Saturday Night in Saskatchewan", a CBC documentary created as part of Saskatchewan's centennial celebrations; "Me and the Mosque", a documentary for the NFB created by Zarqa Nawaz; "Fred's Burqa"/"Random Check", two comedic short films also by Zarqa Nawaz; and "2-Human", an action-packed science fiction movie for the Sci-fi Channel. We have also been doing the sound for APTN's cult hit "Mocassin Flats", music for the Comedy Network's "Comic Genius", and music for CBC's "Canadian Antiques Roadshow"...plus numerous commercials and many other smaller projects. Yikes!
As a completely different sideline, Talking Dog Studios is publishing a book I've written, called "Imagining the Tenth Dimension: a new way of thinking about time, space, and string theory". This book is part science, and part philosophy. It will have a website associated with it that will present the basic concepts of the book and give people a forum to debate and discuss those ideas. The website is www.tenthdimension.com and it should be up in the next few weeks.
I have also been proud to serve as the president of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Association (SMPIA): I am just starting my second year in this role. There are so many talented people working in this province's motion picture industry, not just in the mainstream but in the more "out there" realms of creativity and innovation; and not just in the crews that work together on set but in the burgeoning post production, animation, gaming, and interactive communities as well. I foresee a bright future for us all.
Onward and upward,
Talking Dog Studios Inc.
March 31, 2005
Today is our new company's 1st anniversary, and it is also now exactly ten years since Talking Dog was first incorporated. Woo hoo! It's been a wonderful ride.
There's been some nice writeups about Talking Dog in the last few weeks, in both Playback Magazine ("Dog Having a Gas Posting Hit Comedy Series") and in Saskatchewan Business Magazine. Seems like all our years of nose-to-the-grindstone are finally getting us more notice on the national stage, and that is definitely a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the entire Talking Dog crew.
CTV's Corner Gas has continued to climb in its audience ratings over its second season, with audiences as much as two million viewers a week. Canadian Antiques Roadshow, which we do the music for, has also turned in some very respectable numbers. Plus, Moccasin Flats and renegadepress.com, both on APTN, have also been doing well, and are shows that we're proud to be a part of.
There's many exciting projects on their way, some too early to talk about at this time. Suffice it to say it looks like this will be an extremely busy year for us here at the Dog. The number of production companies who bring their work to us out here on the flat old prairies continues to grow, and we would like to thank them all for the confidence they have shown in us.
It's also our province's Centennial this year, so there's lots of reasons to party. Here's to a wonderful year for us all!
Talking Dog Studios (2004) Inc.
November 25, 2004
Wow, hard to believe it's already eight months since I took over sole ownership of Talking Dog! What an exciting year we're having. Corner Gas Season Two is putting up really great ratings, over 1.5 million viewers per episode. The Corner Gas DVD was released a month ago and is selling like hotcakes. We're particularly proud of this DVD because it features our remixes of all Season One's episodes in 5.1 surround sound, which really lets all the fine detail work being done in the backgrounds and effects shine... all, as Brent Butt likes to say, "without getting in the way of the funny".
Right now we're working on the audio and music for the second season of Verite's "renegadepress.com" and the audio post for Big Soul's "Moccasin Flats", two fine series being shown on APTN. Also in progress: music and audio for Westwind/CBC's "Blue Eyes in Canada", audio for Brett Bell/Bellimage/Bravo''s "Slatland", and pre-production on audio and music for the upcoming Minds Eye/CBC mini-series "The Tommy Douglas Story".
It's also been an interesting time for us in the music department. The amazingly talented Terry Gilliam is in Saskatchewan shooting a new feature, "Tideland", which needed some melodies written for songs that on-camera characters are singing, and we at Talking Dog are thrilled to have created that music. We've just finished composing all the music for the upcoming CBC-TV series "Canadian Antiques Roadshow" (produced by CAR One), and of course we're very proud of the commercials for Saskatchewan's Centennial, which feature original music and audio post by Talking Dog.
We're also pleased to have received our seventh Gemini nomination in the last seven years for music or sound, this year for "Best Sound for a Dramatic Series" for renegadepress.com. Talking Dog nominees Evan Rust, Jeff Hamon and myself will be in Toronto for the awards in mid-December.
There are numerous other projects happening, too many to mention here. Thank you to everyone for your support of Talking Dog!
President and Owner
Talking Dog Studios (2004) Inc.
March 31, 2004
Dear Friends and Associates,
After many months of negotiation, I am pleased to announce that as of March 31st, 2004, I am the sole owner of Talking Dog Studios. Since its start-up in 1995, I have been proud to lead this company, as it has grown to become one of the largest audio post facilities in Canada , and the only studio between Toronto and Vancouver authorized by Dolby for 5.1 theatrical mixing. With the hard work of the many talented individuals working for the Dog, we have been nominated for Gemini Awards for sound and music six times in the past six years. We are also proud to be doing the audio and music for the year's most successful Canadian television series, CTV's “Corner Gas”.
The new company will be incorporated as Talking Dog Studios (2004) Inc. The day-to-day operation and staff of Talking Dog will continue as usual, and our commitment to client satisfaction will be as strong as ever. Now that Talking Dog is a completely independent company, it is my hope to continue an association with our valued clients, and to attract many new clients as well. So, if you are interested in high quality audio and music at highly competitive rates on your next film, television series, or commercial, I invite you to give us a call. The new Talking Dog is ready to help make your next project sound great!
President and Owner
Talking Dog Studios (2004) Inc.