July 30, 2008
acquired by House of Cool Studios, combining the two company's creative
"We are very excited about the melding of the two creative teams," says
House of Cool Co-owner Ricardo Curtis. "The majority of the artists who
made Red Rover one of the leading CG commercial houses in the country,
have joined forces with the designers, story artists, and directors from
House of Cool, to make a Canadian animation studio, capable of
everything from high end 3D commercials, to full length feature film."
Heading up production at Red Rover will be veteran commercial Exec
Producer Danielle Araiche who has been part of the Red Rover team since
2004. "We are very pleased that the two creative teams have already
started to successfully collaborate," Araiche said. "We've hit the
ground running and are currently in production for four new spots."
Leading the creative charge for the new company is Cal Brunker, House of
Cool's Animation Director. Brunker will ensure that his fresh and
innovative directing style will set the tone for future commercial
productions. "The Rover guys are like mad scientists, everything they do
looks amazing," Brunker said. "They keep one foot in the art world, and
one in the technical. Now that House of Cool has added our pre-
production chops to the mix, we're doing things that neither of us could
have done independently."
House of Cool's buyout of Red Rover will give the Studio the opportunity
to continue to build on its character animation niche but also move the
company toward producing live action commercials and other content with
a wider range of design styles. "Both House of Cool and Red Rover
Studios have a strong commitment to quality and creativity. Our combined
staff of vibrant and talented artists will ensure cool, memorable
characters, designs and story concepts for our clients," added House of
Cool Director of Operations and Co-owner Wesley Lui.
Red Rover was founded in 1994 by the late Andy Knight and his partner
Linzi. Knight helped build a studio that has been known for its creative
and original designs. Commercial clients have included Toyota, Pepsi,
Sasktel, Nissan and Ford.
House of Cool is a preproduction company headed by former Pixar veteran
Ricardo Curtis and CFO/Manager of Operations Wes Lui. Along with
original content, such as BETTY BANNER PARTY PLANNER, (created by
Brunker) House of Cool has a client list that reads like a who's who in
animation features including Universal Studios, Blue Sky (of which
Curtis was Head of Story on DR. SEUSS' HORTON HEARS A WHO!), The
Weinstein Company and Disney.
See the House of Cool website here.
See Red Rover's here.
[Via Dan Sarto]
July 29, 2008
July 28, 2008
My lips sync still needs work but it's an improvement from a few year ago I guess. Took me three takes to get it right, doing two puppets at once is tough. Animation done in Flash. Hope you all like it!
Criminal masterminds are the subjects of numerous movies and books. Their stories are quite fascinating, full of intrigue and ingenious schemes. But dumb crooks are funnier.Criminals, like everyone else, have varying levels of intelligence. Some can pull off strings of robberies without a hitch. Others find it a feat just to get out the door at the bank. Here are some videos of the most hilariously dumb criminals on the Web.
How Not to Break Into a Liquor Store
Liquor stores are frequent targets of thieves. But most of them wait until after they get their haul to get drunk. Not this guy. He apparently got hammered first, then tried to get in through the roof of this liquor store. He finally made it in, but after that things just went downhill.
Don’t Push, Pull
The bank robber in this video is having a terrible day. First the teller activates a security shield, causing him to lose a day’s pay. Then when he tries to go out, he’s locked in. Oh, wait, no he’s not. He just doesn’t know how to operate the door.
Help, I’m Being Held for Ransom!
Kidnappers are often ruthless in their pursuit of ransom money. But they usually ask for millions, or at least thousands of dollars. This guy called the cops and told them that drug dealers had kidnapped him and were demanding a ransom… of $200. As it turned out, the guy was his own kidnapper.
Brad Pitt Becomes a Con Artist
Criminals often use fake IDs to commit crimes. But what do you do when you’re making an ID and don’t have a picture of yourself? One guy in the United Arab Emirates just downloaded a picture off of the Internet to use. Too bad he didn’t realize that it was a picture of a major American movie star.
"Our first study, back in 2006, made some estimates that the cells could double every 100 to 2,000 years," says Jennifer F. Biddle, PhD. recipient in biochemistry and former postdoctoral fellow in geosciences, Penn State. "Now we have the first comprehensive look at the genetic makeup of these microbes." Biddle is now a postdoctoral associate at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The researchers looked at sediment samples from a variety of depths taken off the coast of Peru at Ocean Drilling Site 1229. They report their findings in the July 22 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The Peruvian Margin is one of the most active surface waters in the world and lots of organic matter is continuously being deposited there," says Christopher H. House, associate professor of geoscience. "We are interested in how the microbial world differs in the subsea floor from that in the surface waters."
The researchers used a metagenomic approach to determine the types of microbes residing in the sediment 3 feet, 53 feet, 105 feet and 164 feet beneath the ocean floor. The use of the metagenomics, where bulk samples of sediment are sequences without separation, allows recognition of unknown organism and determination of the composition of the ecosystem.
"The results show that this subsurface environment is the most unique environment yet studied metagenomic approach known today," says House. "The world does look very different below the sediment surface." He notes that a small number of buried genetic fragments exist from the water above, but that a large portion of the microbes found are distinct and adapted to their dark and quiet world.
The researchers, who included Biddle; House; Stephan C. Schuster, associate professor; and Jean E. Brenchley, professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, Penn State; and Sorel Fitz-Gibbon, assistant research molecular biologist at the Center for Astrobiology, UCLA, found that a large percentage of the microbes were Archaea, single-celled organisms that look like Bacteria but are different on the metabolic and genetic levels. The percentage of Archaea increases with depth so that at 164 feet below the sea floor, perhaps 90 percent of the microbes are Archaea. The total number of organisms decreases with depth, but there are lots of cells, perhaps as many as 1,600 million cells in each cubic inch.
" These microbes influence the Earth's long-term carbon cycle and also these microbes may be quite ancient," says Biddle.
If the rest of the world is like the Peruvian Margin, then at least one tenth and as much as a third of the Earth's biomass could be these tiny microbes living in the mud. However, this population lives at an unusual rate. Single-celled organisms usually consume food for energy and then rather than grow larger, simply divide and reproduce themselves. While the Bacteria Escherichia Coli, as an example, doubles its numbers every 20 minutes, these Archaea double on the order of hundreds or thousands of years and consume very little energy.
"In essence, these microbes are almost, practically dead by our normal standards," says House. "They metabolize a little, but not much."
According to House, organisms metabolizing at such slow rates is what we could expect to find in other areas of our solar system because such environments have much less energy available than on Earth. Perhaps, similar organisms may be in hydrothermal vents beneath the ice of Europa -- the second moon of Jupiter -- or in subsurface aquifers of Mars.
"We do not expect the microbes in other places to be these microbes exactly," says House. "But, they could be living at a similar slow rate."
Biddle notes that these microbes could survive major Earth impacts by asteroids, so the subsea floor could be a refuge for life during extinction events. Now this study shows they may be a reservoir of novel genetic material as well. Her future research will focus on understanding the lifestyle of the microbes.
"For example, how do they die?" asks Biddle. "It is a simple question that we cannot answer."
The National Science Foundation, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, U.S. Department of Energy and Pa. Department of Health supported this work.[Via sciencedaily]
July 26, 2008
Last week we learned that Jason Segel would be penning a new Muppet movie. I was quite excited about this. Who doesn’t love The Muppets? Segel recently chatted with MTV about the direction he plans to take with the film:
Segel also weighed in on his opinion of Kermit the Frog:
“I’ve just grown a little disappointed with ‘Muppets in the Old West,’ ‘Muppets Under Water,’ and all these weird concept movies. I just want to go take it back to the early 80’s, when it was about the Muppets trying to put on a show. That’s what I’m trying to bring back,” said Segel, who also wants to bring back the big name cameos of the earlier films. “All of our friends that I’ve brought it up to are pretty excited by the prospect of it. Everyone loves the Muppets; they’ve got a warm place in most people’s hearts. We want a lot of cameos. You look back at Charles Grodin, Charles Durning, there were just such great performances in those movies.” “We’ve got a great plot. I think if we can execute it right, it will be terrific. But I can’t tell you more - it’s top secret.”
All this via Slash Film.
“I remember thinking that Kermit was the original Tom Hanks - he was the everyman for a kid. I remember watching Kermit and thinking ‘That’s what I want to do when I grow up.’ I don’t think I realized he was a puppet.”