Wapos Racerz! at the Studio

When I was first exposed to Wapos Bay, I was genuinely amazed; here was a world-class stop-motion animation program that was made in Canada – in Saskatchewan, no less – and it had completely slipped under my radar. Now, I consider myself pretty ‘media savvy’ (especially when it comes to genre programming, and even more so with animation), so if I was surprised by this revelation, the odds implied that a lot of other folks were similarly in the dark. This was a situation that needed to be remedied.

Enter ‘digital media’…or ‘transmedia’, as the hip kids like to call it. When the series creators and producers had mentioned that they were working on upgrading the web presence for the show early last year, I threw my proverbial hat in the ring. Their original plan was to create a basic video hub that featured short clips from the series…and not much else. My goal was to take advantage of current web technology – specifically Flash animation – to create a slice of the Wapos Bay experience online. People from around the world could come to the site, and immediately be immersed in the sights, sounds, and hand-made CHARACTER of the show. It would be packed with custom animations, easter eggs, and access to behind-the-scenes material that showcased the incredible craft of the creative team. 9 months later, Waposbay.com was born – mission accomplished!

So now – with the award-winning series coming to a close with a feature film – we wanted reach an even larger audience to celebrate its conclusion. And with the explosion in casual gaming online, the next phase seemed obvious: give new visitors and established fans a chance to meet the characters and explore the town in a stop-motion racing game. We hope you enjoy a sneak peek at what we have in store for later this Fall – Wapos Racerz is coming to a screen near you!!!

Courtesy Brooke Burgess, Transmedia Producer

Wapos Bay Studio Open House

We’re having another Open House so you can come check out behind-the-scenes of the four-time Gemini award-winning animation studio in Saskatoon!

What: Wapos Bay Studios – Open House
When: Friday, April 15th from 1pm to 6pm
Where: Wapos Bay Studios
Why: So you can get a tour of the studio and meet all different types of crew members, from animators to the creator!

School groups and individuals welcome!

The creators of Wapos Bay will officially announce their new TV series Guardians which will be produced in Saskatchewan. Come get the inside scoop on Wapos Bay The Movie that will premiere this coming fall, and the video game in development with Toronto-based Phantom Compass who has been involved with game projects for CBC, YTV and Teletoon.

Please RSVP to Shelly Bowes at 306-955-0036 or email shebow2000@hotmail.com to save your spot and get more information.

Find the studio via the map below!

Production Team Announces Digital Media Properties

The Wapos Bay production team is delighted to announce the launch of WaposBay.com and a world-class production blog, as well as the development of a “Wapos Bay” video game.

Developed by transmedia producers Ryan Lockwood and Brooke Burgess (Broken Saints), www.WaposBay.com has over 70 viral videos and compelling stop-motion interactivity (100+ animations), and is richly infused with the Cree language and traditions. This is a secret place where adventure and knowledge are the rewards for curiosity and exploration. The website was financed with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit program, Hulo Films, and Wapos Bay Productions. At the production blog (WaposBay.com/Blog), fans of the show, industry colleagues and animators alike can step behind the scenes to experience the making of the show.

The experience extends to social media, including FacebookTwitter and Flickr. On the Wapos Bay YouTube channel, fans can watch and share clips from the series, sizzle reels and demos. 

Delivering a high-quality transmedia experience is more than having a killer concept,” said Burgess. “It relies almost entirely on the caliber of your team to execute as planned. That’s why we’re so keen to be collaborating with Tony Walsh and his partners at Phantom Compass. With their help, next fall you’ll be able to experience Wapos Bay at breakneck speed by racing through the streets as your favourite character in custom handmade vehicles!

WAPOS RACER! will harness the power and worldwide reach of casual gaming. This ‘kart-style’ racer will challenge gamers of all ages and types to race through the world of Wapos Bay, explore unseen corners of the community, challenge their Cree language skills, and unlock video teasers and behind-the-scenes secrets. The game will be cross-platform: embeddable on Facebook, major Flash hubs like Newgrounds.com and Flashkit.com and open-source mobile-enabled (Android, Windows Mobile, etc).

Wapos Bay is on SCN

You can still watch Season 3 & 4 of Wapos Bay on SCN in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  Currently broadcast on:

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:00 noon and 5:00 pm (CT)

Saturdays and Sundays, 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (CT)

Wapos Bay Productions wishes to thank everyone at SCN for all of the years of support for the series.  Visit SCN.ca to see some great Saskatchewan-made programs.

This is How We Do It

Wapos Bay is a collaborative effort of over 40 technicians, animators, artists, administrative personnel and a key creative team of writers, directors and producers. The animation studio extends over a 11,000 square foot warehouse and houses all aspects of our production, from the art department and the animation bays to the post-production facilities.

The world of Wapos Bay is brought to life using stop-motion animation. The Wapos Bay characters are 6-8 inch puppets made by a team of craftspeople using plastics and foam latex, metal wire and various other materials.  All the characters are animated using wire armatures, which are movable metal frameworks manipulated by the animators. As the armatures are positioned, 24 high-resolution digital still photos are taken of each small change in movement to create one second of on-screen motion.  (If one second of on-screen time requires almost an hour of work, imagine how long it takes to make a full 24-minute episode!) The eyelids and eyebrow movements of the puppets are hand-sculpted by the animators using Plasticine. Vinyl mouth shapes, designed and crafted in the studio, are carefully placed on the character for every frame of dialogue or expression change, finishing the intricate work of animating the puppet.

Hundreds of hours have been spent by a team of carpenters and craftspeople to create this miniature world that appears life-size on screen. Miniature house interiors and other props are painstakingly handcrafted so they appear lifelike on camera. Forest landscapes are created using a variety of natural and artificial materials to showcase the realistic northern look of Wapos Bay. The look is then augmented by realistic background photos taken in and around northern Saskatchewan. Many backgrounds are also inserted at the postproduction stage by using “greenscreens” and computer effects.

The voices of the Wapos Bay characters reflect some of Canada’s best Aboriginal talent. Actors like Gordon Tootoosis, Lorne Cardinal and Andrea Menard bring their own personality and humour to the stories written by Dennis Jackson, Melanie Jackson and Trevor Cameron.

The Wapos Bay team includes a mix of seasoned professionals and numerous emerging technicians and animators from Saskatoon’s dynamic animation community. The skills and talents they bring to this production reflect the growing pool of impressive artistic and technical talent in Saskatoon. It is through a tremendous combination of creativity, hard work and vision that Wapos Bay has come into being and continues to capture the imaginations of children and adults alike.