Tag Archives: quebec

Nova Film celebrates its 5th anniversary

“Time flies” they say. As cliché as it sounds, this is the least I can say when I think Nova Film is already at its 5th year in the business. It’s almost unreal to go back in time and see ourselves as the small team of 4 in our first offices in Ste-Foy, where we were basically jumping on every possible contract that involved video and money, to looking at today, where we’re now one of the biggest production company in Quebec City and dealing with national and international companies and agencies. It’s even a bit scary to think about what will happen in the next 5 years, taking in consideration this mind-blowing evolution.

Last Thursday, we hosted our anniversary party at Caserne Dalhousie, which is the production facility for Ex-Machina and world-renowned creator Robert Lepage. Over 150 of our clients and partners came to celebrate this very important milestone for the company. It was also our opportunity to release our brand new logo, designed by Quebec agency Hatem+D.

Two video-projectors displaying our brand new showreel and a Twitter feed showing everyone who wished us #BonneFeteNova, a gigantic lighted Nova Film logo, a 20-foot-high DJ booth, an ice sculpture to poor liquor and two immense paintings by Quebec artist Joelle Blouin were just a few of the components of the setup we put together to make sure everyone wowed at the room when they entered. And they did. While us, the Nova team, are very professional people, we also know how to throw a party like few can.

The evening started off as more of a cocktail, where Francois and David, the two founders of Nova Film, spoke on the microphone to the crowd to thank them for their constant trust and support, and eventually introducing our much-anticipated 2012 Showreel. As the evening went on, the ambiance grew and soon the sound of DJ Adam DoubleYou filled the room and quickly transformed the cocktail-style event into a party that those who were still there to witness will not soon forget.

I strongly recommend that you check out our new website and Facebook page, on which you can see all the photos from the evening. If you missed this, then we hope we can celebrate our 10th anniversary in your company.


Jonathan Desbiens, director

A Facebook contact of mine shared this morning a link to one of his friend’s website/portfolio. The person in question was Jonathan Desbiens, a film director from Shawinigan, QC, and a name I had often heard of but never really took the time to look at his work.

So, curious as always, I decided to check out Jodeb’s (his nickname) website, only to be completely astonished by its content. Not only is there some incredible cinematography among his many pieces, there is also some top-caliber 2D and 3D animation that would make heads turn at any big Californian studio. There is this kind of unique feel to all his shots that gets out of the very commercial mold that is a la mode these days. What is even more impressive is how young he is. Normally, I tend to leave the age factor out of anything, because in my mind, if you have talent, you have talent, no matter if you’re 10 or 60 years old. But this will be the exception on this statement, because his work shows a maturity that I have never seen in someone who is 25 years-old.

He’s also already working with some of the biggest production companies from Montreal (and elsewhere), like 401 and Alt Productions, and handling world-renown clients like Air Canada, Bell, and Geodezik, the company with who I worked on the Whitney Houston project in early 2010.

This really was a pleasant discovery this morning, and Jodeb just became someone I really look up to considering my age, and someone that I will make sure to follow his work closely.

Here is his demo reel.

Muse achieves visual perfection

I am literally just coming back from the Muse concert in Quebec City, and I think I’ll need some powerful mechanics tools to raise my jaw back into normal position. Seriously, this was an incredible show, especially scenic-wise. Aside that the 3 band members are very talented musicians and even better performers, the stage was something that nobody who’s ever attended a Muse show will ever forget. 3 immense LED columns serve has pedestals for each of the band’s member, and each of these columns project very clean and beautifully defined motion graphics.

One of the highlights of the concert was definitely the insane amount of lasers shooting out from everywhere. Green beams were all around the place, creating some abstract shapes in the crowd. It was incredible. Thank you Muse.

Here’s something to give you the urge to buy tickets to see this band live.

Intro: Uprising

New Born

Nova working with Festival d’Été de Québec !

Note: All artists photos belong to Cyberpresse.ca

Seriously, where to begin ? This year, Festival d’Été de Québec, which I will go ahead and say is now one of the biggest music festivals in the whole world, contacted Nova Film to produce a short video demonstrating the ambiance reigning in the city during the 10 days of shows. Let me start by saying that in terms of fun and wow-factor, this is hands-down the best contract we’ve worked on yet.

The people from the organization were very cooperative, giving us all-access passes and letting us do what we had in mind, as long as it didn’t interfere with the artists’ media restrictions. Right from the start, the objective was to produce to least footage possible, because in the end, this will be a 60-to-90 second video. Focusing on quality instead of quantity, we set up a list of various, original shots we could create for every show, every stage, and the city in general.

All shot with the office’s 7D and my T2i, we grabbed every lens available to us, and pretty much every piece of equipment we own and we went to work. Dollies, 80-foot cranes, sky-high rooftop shootings, steadycam, poles, timelapses, body-surfing shots, hand-held shots… there’s pretty much nothing we didn’t bring to our game for this project.

Dave and I when we were going up an 80-foot crane to film the 100 000 people attending Black Eyed Peas.

Not only did we produce amazing images, but we also had the best seats in the house for every show, and need I tell you that there were some amazing shows going on ! We were off for the first Friday, because the forecast predicted thunderstorms. So, I decided to go see Dream Theater and Iron Maiden under pouring rain. Dream Theater is band I wanted to see for so long, and they did not disappoint. They gave a solid performance and John Petrucci proved why he’s considered as one of the top guitarists in the world. Then the always entertaining Bruce Dickinson, who speaks good French, accompanied by the 5 other members of Iron Maiden, came on stage. Despite the fact that they left out a couple of classics, like Trooper, Aces High, Run To The Hills and The Clairvoyant, they delivered a solid performance and Dickinson had a unique connection with the crowd.

Bruce Dickinson singing like he’s still 35.

On Monday, it was time for some handheld shots in the crowd, and was there a crowd gathered to see Arcade Fire ! I couldn’t believe my eyes seeing that many people gathered for a band I believed to be underground. They gave one hell of a performance, way beyond anybody’s expectations. This was definitely one the shows I enjoyed the most during the Festival.

Arcade Fire

On Wednesday we went to do some steadycam shots at The Cat Empire, a band that, despite the fact they’ve been in Quebec a few times, I knew nothing about. Well, this is definitely my musical discovery at this year’s Festival. Rarely have I seen a band perform better on stage. They sounded great, they interacted with the crowd and they always pushed their songs a bit further to get the crowd into it.

The Cat Empire

Friday was definitely the night I anticipated the most, with K’naan opening for the Black Eyed Peas. K’naan gave a tremendous performance, and one of the highlights of the shooting was when we got up in the crane at sunset to film the crowd during Wavin’ Flag. This was really something special. Then the Black Eyed Peas got on stage, and media restrictions prohibited us from having video equipment on the site. So, we put our gear away and enjoyed a couple of songs. The crowd was going crazy for what is probably the biggest band on the planet right now. I would have went ahead and said that it was pretty much the biggest crowd I had ever seen in my entire life, but then there was Sunday…

The Black Eyed Peas, giving a show that will definitely be remembered in Quebec.

Sunday… what can I say ? The Festival decided that Rammstein would close the celebrations, and to be honest, I thought that was a bad decision. I thought Rammstein was an old metal band that nobody listened to anymore… Was I wrong ! Honestly, I had never witnessed anything like that. Die-hard metal fans came from around the world to see this show. There wasn’t a single inch left in all the plains of Abraham for someone to be there. The crowd must have been well over 100 000 people. We went on top of the Concorde, the highest view point for the plains of Abraham, to make a timelapse of the first 30 minutes of the show. Once again, this was definitely one of the most insane views I had ever seen. We saw the whole city to our left, with the ocean of red flashing pins that everyone wears during the festival to our right.

One frame of the 160-frame time-lapse we shot on top of the Concorde.

We then put our gear away and went to see the rest of the show. While I’m not a huge fan of their music, I must say that this show sounded probably better than any show I’ve been to. The sound was unbelievably clear. But what definitely made this show one of the best in this year’s Festival is the visual aspect, that included more fireworks than a 4th of July party. I can’t even start to describe how it was, but if you ever have the chance to see this band, you’ll understand !

Rammstein !

Finally, I’d like to congratulate everyone who worked at bringing such a memorable event to Quebec City, and I’m anxious to see what you have in store for us next year !

New Nova Film motion design reel

Well, another year is done at Nova, and once again looking back at the company last year and today, it seems like we fast-forwarded in time 10 years. When we released the 2009 reel, about exactly the same date as today, we were 4 employees plus one part time employee in an 800 square-feet office in Ste-Foy, a suburb of Quebec City, working on a couple large scale projects, but mostly doing corporate videos for small local businesses. We’ll be six full time employees when Phil comes back from Thailand, in a 1800 square-feet loft in downtown Quebec City, more specifically in the St-Roch area, the new media and advertising center of town, where Ubisoft, Beenox, LG2 and a handful of other companies are. While our main field of work still is corporate videos, the amount of TV advertisement we’re doing is increasing every month, and our clients list is becoming more and more impressive. We just renovated the office to turn one open-space area into a closed editing studio with an 8-core MacPro with 16GB of RAM, two 23″ 1080p displays and a 37″ HD TV hanged on the wall to output the projects full-screen as we work, something we would only dream of having 6 months ago.

Enough about the history lesson, and on with the reel. I’m very proud of it, since this year the content is 100% from me, and I think it looks kick-ass. I’ve already been having a couple of questions on how I’ve done the intro shot, and here’s the answer. A while ago I learned about a technique called camera mapping, and found this tutorial which I thought was insane. My main objective was to do the signature with a 3D tracking technique, since I think what I’ve done up to now in terms of tracking has been good, but far from perfect. What sucks though is that right now the weather in Quebec is not super good, the full-of-brown-snow scenery isn’t particularly interesting, and I really wanted to do something outside to get the best light without too much setup. So I decided that it was time for me to take out this tutorial and try camera mapping once and for all. Coincidentally, Nick Campbell released another cam-map tutorial about the same time, so I had two sources to pick up techniques.

I’m really happy about how it turned out and I think it gets you hooked up for what’s too come. I’m really not a big fan of 3D, especially modeling, but this kind of type animation I’m really into. So take a look at this, and if you want to see the complete projects that are shown, hit up www.novafilm.ca and take a look at the different sections.

Thumbs up to The Sounds !


I went to see The Sounds last Friday with a couple of friends during the Envol & Macadam festival in Quebec City. This was a band I looked forward to seeing live for years, since I knew them back in the days of ski movies such as Session 1242 in 2003, and they were reputed to have an amazing energy on stage.


Musically speaking, it was a great show. They played all their hits, the sound was good and the lovely Maja Ivarsson held it up pretty good with the vocals. One thing that was disappointing was the crowd though. Quebec is known to have some of the best and wildest crowds on the globe, and people at The Sounds show were pretty mellow, even boring at some point. My friends and I were going crazy, singing out loud, and some people looked at us like we were aliens. Another annoying thing was the festival’s formula, which was to present one band after the other on 2 different stages, with a one-hour time limit for each of them. This caused The Sounds to have zero interaction with the crowd, since they wanted to squeeze all their songs in this short time, and there was no encore, which was a big let down.

Still, it was an amazing show and I’m glad I finally got to see The Sounds perform live, but I think Envol & Macadam should rethink its formula a bit to leave place for more songs and more time for the bands to interact with the crowd.

Festival d’été, another year of success

In past years, the Festival d’été in Quebec City was for me an occasion to see an endless number of underground quality bands, and maybe one mainstream band for an incredibly low price every year. The Bravery, The Frequency, Metric, The New Cities, Pascale Picard are just a few of the artists I had the chance to discover, while I also saw some of the greatest artists ever like Kanye West, Akon, Wyclef Jean and Linkin Park.
This year, the line-up for the festival seemed more targeted towards an older audience with artists like Kiss, Placido Domingo, Styx and Sting being the main bands playing during the week. Though not a die-hard fan of any of these bands, I still decided to buy the pass for the festival, thinking that all these guys are legends, and even if I mostly don’t know their songs, the show they would give should be amazing.
So, in the past weeks, I got all of Kiss’ and Sting’s greatest hits and listened to that full time to get in the mood. On Thursday I went to see Kiss, and I was totally stunned. Fireworks, make-up, spandex and rock ‘n roll music was a perfect blend for an awesome show in front of over 80 000 people. The now not-so-young Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons still gave a performance that is now in my top 5 shows I’ve seen in my life.
And then, on Saturday, I went to see Sting. Sting was not on a tour and he had spent the week in Quebec, repeating with his all-star team of musicians, Dominic Miller, David Sancious and Josh Freese, who have played with people like Peter Gabriel, Bruce Springsteen and Nine Inch Nails. They basically created a new show in a few days and then performed it on stage in front of a crowd that looked even bigger than the one at Kiss. Though not as visually impressive as the Detroit band, the musical atmosphere Sting created was incredible, and it pleased a crowd that was formed of people that ranged from 15 to 70. When he played Every Breath You Take, time seemed to stop and every single person in the audience sang along. It was really something special.
In the end, even if I did not relate much to the bands at this year’s Festival d’été, I still had a great time watching a high quality of music throughout the week (big props to Gym Class Heroes also) and I’m anxious to see what I’ll discover in 2010.
In the meantime, check out the video for one of my favorite Sting songs, Desert Rose.