Singlescreen theatre with 80year history in Halifax closing its doors

first_imgHALIFAX – It is where Haligonians watched “Casablanca,” “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “The Graduate” and “Titanic.”The Oxford Theatre — a grand, standalone movie house not far from some of Halifax’s most expensive homes — will soon be closing its doors.Cineplex has announced that the 80-year-old Quinpool Road fixture will shut down on Sept. 13 after being sold to a local business — Nanco Group — owned by the Nahas family.“The decision to sell the Oxford was not an easy one as we share the community’s love for the theatre and respect the important role it has played in the city’s history,” Daniel Seguin, Cineplex’s vice president of operations for eastern Canada, said in a news release.“Back in 1937 when the Oxford first opened, single screen theatres were the norm but today multiplex cinemas provide our guests with many film choices in one location.”Norman Nahas, its new owner, said plans for the building have not been finalized, but he is looking at number of options.“We are looking at multiple uses for the space including retail, office and residential so stay tuned for what the next 80 years of the Oxford’s history will look like,” he said in the release.The Oxford has recently favoured independent films and art house titles, sometimes leaving the theatre mostly vacant. But during the release of “Maudie,” the theatre was brimming with movie-goers eager to watch the story of a Nova Scotia artist whose hands were riddled with arthritis.Those types of titles will now play at Cineplex’s nearby Park Lane location.To celebrate its 80-year history, Cineplex is showing a number of fan favourites that have played at the Oxford over the years, including “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Grease” and “Gone with the Wind.”Proceeds from the $5 screenings will be donated to the IWK Foundation, which raises money for the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.last_img read more

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How Netflix uses AVA an Image Discovery tool to find the perfect

first_imgNetflix, the video-on-demand streaming company, has seen a surge in its growing number of users every day as well as in the viewership of its TV shows. It is constantly striving to provide an enriching experience to its viewers. To keep pace with the ever-increasing demands of user experience, Netflix is introducing a collection of tools and algorithms to make its content more audience relevant. AVA( Aesthetic Visual Analysis)- analyses large volumes of images obtained from video frames of a particular TV show to set as the title image for that show. Netflix understands that a more visually appealing title image plays an incredibly important role assisting a viewer find new shows and movies to watch. How title images are selected normally Usually, content editors had to go through tens of thousands of video frames for a show, to select a good title image. To give you a gist of the effort required-  a single one-hour episode of ‘Stranger Things’, consists of nearly 86,000 static video frames. Imagine sieving through each one of these frames painstakingly to find the perfect title image that will not only connect with the viewers, but also give them a gist of the storyline. To top it all up, the number of frames can go up to a million depending on the number of episodes in a show. This task of manually screening the frames is almost impossible and labor intensive, if not ineffective. Additionally, the editors choosing the image stills require an in-depth expertise of the source content that they’re intended to represent. Considering Netflix has an exponentially increasing catalog of shows, this presents a very challenging expectation for the editors to surface meaningful images from videos. Enter AVA, using its image classification algorithms for sorting the right image at the right time. What is AVA? The ever-growing number of images on the internet space has led to challenges in its processing and classification. To address this concern, a research team from University of Barcelona, Spain in collaboration with Xerox corporation has developed a method called Aesthetic Visual Analysis (AVA) as a research project. The project contains a vast database of over 2.5 lakh images combined with metadata such as aesthetic scores for images semantic labels for more than 60 classifications of images and many other characteristics. Using statistical concepts like standard deviation, mean score and variance, AVA rates images. Based on the distributions computed from these statistics, they assess the semantic challenges and choose the right images for the database. AVA primarily alleviates the issues of extensive benchmarking and trains more images. They also enable images to get a better aesthetic appeal. Computing performance can be significantly optimised to have lesser impact on the hardware. You can get more insights by reading the Research paper. The ‘AVA’ approach used at Netflix The process takes place in 3 steps: AVA starts by analysing images obtained through the process of frame annotation. This includes processing and annotating many different variables on every individual frame of video to best derive what the frame contains, and to understand its importance to the story. To keep up pace with the growing catalog of content, Netflix uses the Archer framework to process videos more efficiently. Archer splits the video into very tiny bits to aid parallel video processing. After the frames are obtained, they are subjected to a series of image recognition algorithms to build metadata. Metadata is further classified as visual, contextual and composition metadata.  To give you a brief overview- Visual Metadata: For brightness, sharpness and color Contextual Metadata: This is a combination of elements that are combined to derive meaning from the actions or movement of the actors, objects and camera in the frame. Eg: face detection, Motion estimation, Object Detection and camera shot identification Composition Metadata: For intricate image details based on core principles in photography, cinematography and visual aesthetic design such as depth of field and symmetry. Choosing the right Picture! The ‘best’ image is chosen considering three important aspects– the lead actors, visual range and sensitivity filters. Emphasis is given first to lead actors of the show since they make a visual impact. In order to identify the key character for a given episode, AVA utilizes a combination of face clustering and actor recognition to filter main characters from secondary characters or extras. The next thing, is the diversity of the images present in the video frames which includes camera positions, image details such as brightness, color, contrast to name a few. Keeping these in mind, image frames are easy to group based on similarities. This helps in developing image support vectors. The vectors primarily assist in designing an image diversity index where all the relevant images collected for an episode or even a movie can be scored based on visual appeal. Sensitive factors such as violence, nudity and advertisements are filtered and are allotted low priority in the image vectors. This way they are screened out completely in the process. Source: Netflix Blog What’s in this for Netflix and its users? Netflix’s decision to use AVA will not only save manual labour, but also reduce the cost involved in having manpower source through millions of images in order to get that one perfect shot. This unique approach will help in obtaining meaningful images from video and thus enable creative teams to invest time in designing stunning artwork . As for its users, a good title image means establishing a deeper connection to the show’s characters and storyline, thus improving their overall experience.To understand the intricate  workings of AVA, you can read Netflix engineering team’s original post on this topic on Medium. Read Next How everyone at Netflix uses Jupyter notebooks from data scientists, machine learning engineers, to data analysts Netflix releases FlameScope Netflix bring in Verna Myers as new VP of Inclusion strategy to boost cultural diversitylast_img read more

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Air Transat launches 30th anniversary seat sale and contest

first_img Share Air Transat launches 30th anniversary seat sale and contest Posted by MONTREAL — Air Transat is turning 30 this year, and as part of its anniversary celebrations the company has just launched a new seat sale, available until Oct. 23.Effective immediately, travellers can fly for less to one of Air Transat’s 60 destinations in Europe, the South, Florida and Canada.Plus, Air Transat will offer 30 lucky winners the chance to travel for free. There is no need to register – all travellers who book a flight by Oct. 23 will be automatically entered to win.Transat’s Sun holidays feature all-inclusive packages to 36 destinations in Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America, as well as some 650 hotels, 45 of which are offered exclusively. Transat also boasts five collections: Luxury, Distinction, Solo, Family and Sun Savvy.In Europe, Air Transat has responded to customer demand by increasing its number of direct flights to the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Croatia, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic for summer 2018. The carrier will offer direct service to a total of 27 destinations in Europe, accessible from many major Canadian cities via its feeder flights program, as well as Tel Aviv in the Middle East.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps upFor more information on the seat sale, visit airtransat.com. Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Air Transat, Promotions Wednesday, October 4, 2017 last_img read more

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