Post Magazine

January/February 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 43

STORAGE 10 POST JAN/FEB 2020 e produce cutting-edge media content for a wide variety of applications, special venues, attractions and experiences that immerse guests like never before. In particular, our studio is well known for our work with virtual reality, long before headsets became mainstream. We were one of the first companies to render a 360-degree dome where objects could come out of screen- space into audience-space and back, and could be viewed from any angle without breaking the stereo effect. Recently, we provided media and au- dio content for Halo: Outpost Discovery, which features more than 300,000 square feet of themed attractions. Halo: Outpost Discovery delivers a first-of-its-kind, authentic experience with thrilling, in-universe encounters for visitors, from deep dives into the Halo backstory and interactive museum attractions, to hands-on gameplay and unique, exclusive shopping opportunities. Falcon's provided narrative and story development, live-action film production, CG animation, visual effects, motion graph- ics, sound design and interactive audio for a wide array of experiences throughout Halo: Outpost Discovery, including The Ring Experience, a visually immersive, multi-projector, dome-based theatrical presentation, showcasing the immense scale and magnitude of a Halo ring installa- tion from a completely unique perspective. The project leveraged our unique capa- bilities in theater design, pre-production, script writing, live action production, 3D animation, visual effects, sound design, editing and on-site programming. We were able to fully embrace the challenges of a custom dome screen format with im- mense resolutions and intricate choreog- raphy to produce an immersive and iconic exploration of a Halo ringworld. MAXIMIZING HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE INFRASTRUCTURE From an IT infrastructure perspective, the project had its challenges, particular- ly around its storage requirements. This project was a massive undertaking with a very aggressive timeline. Our team had to maximize our hardware and software infrastructure to deliver the highest quali- ty product as efficiently as possible. For example, the dome film for The Ring Experience needed to be rendered in 7K, which required an enormous amount of high-speed storage to prevent starving the GPU renderer. We were losing a huge amount of time in the startup sequence of loading the scene, and our network speed was severely impacted, which was not conducive to productivity. Then, layer- ing in simulations that hold up with that resolution, along with massive outputs, presented a whole new level of storage footprint we had never experienced be- fore. On our heaviest night, we generated over 15TBs of data; a single render layer image file could be 2 to 7GBs in size. When considering a new storage solution for Falcon's, our main criteria were scalability and simplicity. After performing tests, evaluating the num- bers and proving to the team that the new storage vendor could offer the storage and performance we need- ed at a reasonable price, we selected Qumulo's hybrid cloud file storage. For all of the content production with Halo: Outpost Discovery, we utilized Qumulo's distributed file system as the backend storage, and leveraged Qumulo's API to track and influence the team's decisions and forecasting. ACTIONABLE INSIGHT ON STORAGE USAGE AND CAPACITY FROM REAL-TIME ANALYTICS Our team closely monitored the analytics provided by Qumulo in realtime through- out the Halo: Outpost Discovery project. We were able to clearly see, for example, when the server was getting hammered, and quickly remedy any run-away ren- ders and simulations that consumed the project storage budget. We were also able to know if an artist was creating files that were unneces- sarily large, and could very quickly see what individual file was the cause for the increased network load, or know where the heaviest files were sitting. Then our custom pipeline tools managed clearing up free space via the API. Ultimately, the analytics functionality within Qumulo's file system helped us improve our overall efficiency and work- loads. We have been able to streamline our project archiving and backup system, and are now able to sort and store only the critical project resource files. A project of this magnitude was excit- ing and rewarding for our studio because it allowed our team to flex its creative muscles. As part of our creative process, we were able to develop and fully realize new characters, vehicles and environ- ments that have now been adopted into the Halo canon. We knew we needed to deliver a rewarding fan experience that would fit within the vast established uni- verse. After all, Halo isn't just a game fran- chise, it also stretches into film, television, print and other transmedia outlets. From an IT infrastructure perspective, Qumulo's distributed file system enabled us to push the limits of visual fidelity by increasing the technical complexities of our scenes, and not be bottlenecked by our storage. CREATING 'THE RING EXPERIENCE' FOR HALO: OUTPOST DISCOVERY BY SAHAM ALI DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY FALCON'S DIGITAL MEDIA ORLANDO, FL FALCONSCREATIVE GROUP.COM/FALCONS- DIGITAL-MEDIA W FALCON'S CREATIVE GROUP HELPS TO MAKE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE The Ring Experience

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - January/February 2020