Saturday, 8th August 2020

Keeping the entertainment flowing

Qumulo on Amazon Web Services enables Cinesite to produce computer-generated films and meet production deadlines.

Cinesite Studios, a global producer of special effects and feature animation, has selected Qumulo’s file software to support its extensive rendering workloads.

Cinesite is a leading digital entertainment studio with credits including the Avengers, James Bond movie franchises, The Witcher, Locke and Key, and Raising Dion television shows. Cinesite’s award-winning, 500 employee-strong visual effects and animation team brings filmmakers’ visions to life, from offices across London, Montreal, Berlin, Munich, Vancouver and, increasingly, from employees’ homes.

Rendering performance is critical to meeting delivery deadlines for Cinesite’s customers and requires real-time collaboration. When a new computer-generated (CG) feature film needed immediate rendering capacity, Cinesite had to ramp up production capacity and feed data into applications, while storing large format digital content securely in the cloud. By deploying and connecting Cinesite’s applications to Qumulo, Cinesite was able to meet the needs of remote artists and staff without impacting production quality or timelines.

Cinesite utilised the Qumulo solution across multiple Amazon Web Services (AWS) Availability Zones, ensuring consistent performance for artists and staff dispersed geographically, while leveraging high performance storage at scale. Cinesite also required seamless integration between its on-prem and AWS deployments, and Qumulo quickly optimised EFS instances and replicated the data between on-prem and AWS.

“The only way we could expand to an additional Availability Zone was by implementing Qumulo’s cloud solution,” said Graham Peddie, chief operating officer, Cinesite Montreal. “This approach allowed us to spin up the resources needed on demand and scale to meet the needs for offsite rendering on AWS. Without Qumulo, we wouldn't have been able to do it or meet our deadlines.”

Today, Cinesite synchronises massive-sized digital assets using Qumulo between AWS and its on-prem environment. Cloud render nodes produce frames and store them back to the Qumulo file system instantly. Qumulo’s file system then replicates the frames back to the cloud at speeds faster than 20GB/s.

“It’s fantastic to see a customer such as Cinesite leverage Qumulo’s hybrid file software to increase its production capabilities on AWS,” said Barry Russell, SVP & GM for Cloud at Qumulo. “Creatives are being asked to produce digital entertainment even faster in this ‘stay at home’ time, and Cinesite is able to do that with its distributed staff fast, without re-coding apps, using the cloud.”

The analytics and real-time visibility within the Qumulo file system are essential to Cinesite, which uses Qumulo’s analytics engine to fix pipeline inefficiencies and to actively troubleshoot end-user issues.

“We could never have tackled these technological and creative challenges without a cloud solution,” added Peddie. “Qumulo on AWS increased Cinesite’s performance and scalability, and enabled us to boost our competitive position within the industry.”

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