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August 2018

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Page 27 of 43 26 POST AUGUST 2018 STORAGE FOR VFX Storage For VFX MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE IS CRITICAL FOR VISUAL EFFECTS HOUSES BY LINDA ROMANELLO A s more and more projects call for visual effects work, and as the shots them- selves continue to grow in complexity, the demands on storage for these large assets are increasing. Luckily, there are plenty of storage solutions and options available today that meet the needs of almost every facility. Here's a look at how several VFX studios and departments are addressing these needs, as well as what some vendors are offering in terms of storage solutions. RISING SUN PICTURES Adelaide, Australia's Rising Sun Pictures (https://, or RSP, creates complex visual effects for motion pictures. Most recently, the studio completed work on Peter Rabbit, Tomb Raider and the Chinese picture Animal World. The studio's work involves the creation, largely digital- ly, of scenes that couldn't be filmed for reasons of complexity, cost or safety. "In its simplest form, we're handling un- compressed camera material from on set and compositing it together with other photographic material, so you might have 12MB frames @ 24 fps or 288MB per second per layer of original footage," explains Rising Sun Pictures managing director Tony Clark. "Simplicity is a rarity these days though, and most of our work involves complex 3D or simulations that create huge data sets measured in terabytes per shot. If you imag- ine iterating on one of these shots, updating it a couple of times a day, an artist can very easily generate 40TB per day. Then imagine there are 300 shots in play in the studio and 120 artists, and storage becomes a critical performance point for the studio to remain effective. In reality, the studio will have a spread of shot types from the simple to the complex and we're generally creating around 5 TB per day." RSP's main filer these days is an Oracle ZS 52, which is comprised of 2 filer heads each with a storage pool of 500TB including redundancy and 3TB of DRAM per head, so 1PB in total. Each filer head has 6 x 10 gigabit Ethernet interfaces, and they regularly get near maximum capacity. It's based in a data center along with the stu- dio's render farm and core resources so that it has redundant UPS and generator backed power, fire suppression, redundant cooling and security, and the data center is connected to the studio at 40Gbps over diverse route dark fibre. Peter Rabbit

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