Computer Graphics World

March/April 2013

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By VINCENT BRISEBOIS Data Files No Production Pipe Dream Simplifying 5K 48 frames per second workflows – in a flash W ith films like The Hobbit creating worldwide excitement total data, as Weta Digital discovered while creating Avatar. Just by shooting in 5k instead of 4k, the amount of data created is around new technologies and techniques like 3D, 4k, and high frame rates, the blockbuster bar has been raised once increased by 150 percent – or 600 percent when compared to 2k. If you again. Directors seeking to wow an audience will begin to demand big- add higher frame rates, like 48 frames per second (fps), that amount of ger, better, and bolder movies than ever before. As Hollywood (and Wellywood) pioneers continue to adopt new technologies to tell better stories on screen, the amount of data created in modern filmmaking will only continue to increase. For many, this might seem like a great opportunity to test new ideas, but some studios and independent artists may be worried about how they can meet deadlines while still delivering effects that sell movie tickets. This balance between creativity and capability has always been a challenge in digital production. The distance between the two always threatens to grow wider as technology advances. Today, many are finding that they can bridge the gap with flash memory acceleration for their workstations. With flash, even the independent contractor can manipulate 5k content in a Vincent Brisebois of Fusion-io (left) acknowledges that working with today's huge files can be difficult and world without proxies. time-consuming. However, flash memory acceleration offers a viable solution. Hollywood's Petabyte Era The amount of data that is processed during the production of your average blockbuster has been a growing problem for years. The era of the terabyte is long gone. Today's films are reaching into petabytes of Vincent Brisebois is director of visual computing at Fusion-io, a computer hardware and software systems company based in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, that designs and manufactures memory technology. He has designed technology solutions for 2D and 3D production in the visual effects, video game, and design industries for over 15 years. 8 data is doubled. Add 3D to the mix and it doubles again. Then, with multiple camera angles and takes, it becomes enormous. That means a film like The Hobbit can generate 24 times the data per second when compared with a 2k film – and this is before any visual effects are added to the mix. To work around these huge file sizes, studios often use proxies in order to work on movies more easily. However, in 3D compositing, editing, and digital intermediates (DI), where every pixel counts, many effects must be worked on and reviewed in full resolution, meaning proxies are out of the question. The performance requirements can quickly bring an unprepared studio to a screeching halt, or require corners to be cut in order to meet deadlines. The Effect of VFX on Data As if the amount of raw data in a film wasn't enough to satisfy the appetite, special effects add layers and layers of pixelated data to pipelines, March/April 2013 CGW0313-viewpointpfin.indd 8 3/14/13 12:08 PM

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