Canadian visual effects studios are doing great business these days, as evidenced by new investment in Toronto’s MARZ, World Mobile is using balloons to deliver internet to Africa.
Canadian visual effects studio seeing success
The film and television industry is strong in Canada, and all those productions have sparked a surge in support companies, like those creating digital effects.
Some of the industry’s most recognizable companies – like Industrial Light and Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Method, DNEG, and Digital Domain – have set up shop in Vancouver.
And there’s more than a handful of homegrown visual effects (VFX) studios here, too. Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp got his start in effects and worked at the Embassy and called on Image Engine to help with District 9, Elysium, and Chappie (and has recently worked on The Mandalorian and the latest Venom film).
In Toronto there’s Spin VFX, which was started by Nigel McGrath, one of the people who created Maya, the software that enabled so much VFX.
MARZ, which has worked on shows like Wandavision, Shadow and Bone, Watchmen, and has work in Spider-Man: No Way Home, recently raised more than $6 million through a series A venture capital venture to fund research and development into using artificial intelligence in VFX work.
The company is also looking to hire another 100 people, which will push its roster to more than 300.
Using balloons to deploy mobile networks in Africa
Here’s an interesting solution to a problem. In order to deliver mobile service to Zanzibar, World Mobile is going to put cellular base stations on platforms and float them with balloons.
The company plans to provide cellular service to over one million people by the end of 2023.
The aerostat balloons are powered by solar panels, and the reliable online connections will allow for mobile gadget usage as well as the connection of internet of things devices. This also means support for communications and health care.
World Mobile will be providing free, unlimited internet to schools, although it’s not clear if connections at schools will be on balloons.
The United Nations estimates that 3.7 billion people, half the world’s population, mostly females and mostly in developing countries, do not have online access.
World Mobile is also looking at using balloons to deliver mobile to Kenya and Tanzania.