Cross-Canada pilot HD video installation opens up possibilities of real-time collaboration for art & design

    TORONTO, April 4 /CNW/ - Some of Canada's top schools are collaborating
this week in transmitting high-definition video over advanced networks, in an
experimental installation spanning three cities and nearly 5,000 kilometres.
It's a project they expect will trigger greater real-time collaboration on art
and design using new digital technologies.
    The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) joins Concordia University in
Montreal and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver to concurrently broadcast a
live high-definition video stream for 72 consecutive hours over Canada's
regional advanced networks, including ORION in Ontario.
    The digital transmission is on display over a large high definition LCD
screen in OCAD's Great Hall, at 100 McCaul Street. Similar installations are
in place at Concordia and Simon Fraser University, displaying scenic images
broadcast live in digital HD to and from Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
    The east-west transmission over Internet Protocol (IP) is streaming dual
sets of data at 25 megabits per second, for a combined 50 Mbps. The sustained
video stream began Monday, April 2 and continues until Wednesday afternoon.
    The OCAD camera is trained on a scene shot from the 6th floor of the
Sharp Centre for Design looking west over Grange Park and the skyline of the
west end of Toronto.
    "This is a terrific opportunity for students and faculty to build a
creative and learning network that extends beyond one institution," says OCAD
President Sara Diamond. "It heralds the maturation of digital media. OCAD is
proud to be a key part of the growing accessibility and capability of HD
research and roll out."
    It is expected that future use of this technology includes presenting
guest lecturers from around the world, student and faculty-driven art
projects, special events and technology education.
    "The fidelity of high definition video creates a very real and tangible
experience comparable to looking through a window that somehow leaps over
space and time connecting to far away locations," said OCAD Director of
Information Technology Services, Alastair MacLeod.
    The project makes use of Canada's top regional research and education
(R&E) networks, BCnet in British Columbia, ORION in Ontario and RISQ in
Québec, all interconnecting over CAnet 4, Canada's R&E network backbone.
    "Advanced networks, such as ORION, allow for the immediacy of the
experience by bridging the vastness between geographic distances, at light
speeds, allowing for a direct encounter with any other connected site on the
network," says MacLeod.
    "It's simply not possible to do with a commodity Internet connection.
We're sending the native HDV stream across the research network without any
re-compression of the camera's HDV Fire wire output," adds Andrew McAllister,
OCAD Manager, Digital Studios. The ground-breaking demo is using relatively
accessible equipment, such as the Sony HDR-HC3 HDV video cameras, with a
special MPEG-2 Transport stream that can be streamed using Video Lan Client
(VLC), a free and open-source software.
    The event is the first pilot project of a high-definition streaming
consortium, led by OCAD, involving seven other universities from across
Canada, looking at the adoption of HD video streaming by the cultural and arts
and design communities.
    Along with Concordia and SFU, the other members include the Banff New
Media Institute, the University of Regina, University of Calgary and the Emily
Carr Institute of Art & Design in British Columbia. A second HD video
streaming event is being explored for fall, 2007 with wider participation from
current consortium members as well as other institutions across Canada and

    About OCAD
    The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD), located in downtown Toronto,
is Canada's largest university for art and design, specializing in creativity
and innovation. Established in 1876, the university has more depth and breadth
in visual arts and design programs than any school of its kind in Canada.
Programs at OCAD provide a one-of-a-kind learning environment combining an
experiential, studio-based education with liberal studies, recognized with a
Bachelor of Fine Art or Bachelor of Design. OCAD's research profile includes
an institute for art and design education, the Beal Centre for Strategic
Creativity at OCAD, an institute in design, creativity and innovation and
large-scale projects in mobile content and technology.

    About ORION:
    The Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION), operated by
a not-for-profit organization, is Ontario's next-generation, ultra high-speed
research and education telecommunications network. ORION connects all of
Ontario's universities, most colleges, several medical and other public
research facilities and a growing number of school boards to one another and
to the global grid of research and education networks.

For further information:

For further information: Sarah L. Mulholland, Media & Communications
Coordinator, OCAD, (416) 977-6000 ext.327,; Tamara Stoll,
Communications Officer, ORION, (416) 507-9860 ext. 24,

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Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network (ORION)

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