Post Magazine

February 2016

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BITS & PIECES 11 POST FEBRUARY 2016 CUTTING EDGE MAXIMIZES RENDERING RESOURCES VIA QUBE! SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — VFX studio Cutting Edge ( invested in PipelineFX's Qube!, a render farm management tool, to help take advantage of resources spread out between its Brisbane and Sydney studios. The company has been around since 1992 and works on films (Predestination, The Age of Adaline), commer- cials, and TV series, including Powers, PlayStation Network's first scripted show that's based on Marvel's beloved graphic novel series. Plans to link the studio's render farms in Brisbane and Sydney started with a test. The idea was to put render-farm managers against each other in a multi-site battle, using both live and offsite workers. This became the proving ground for key needs, like global log files tracking, scripting, platform com- patibility and project mirroring. After tests totaling 10,000 jobs, Qube! was declared the winner, in large part because of how well it could handle the logs. "With other render management tools, reading log files for machines that aren't local was problem- atic, and reading log files is an incredibly-important part of seeing what's going on and troubleshoot- ing," says Rangi Sutton, VFX supervisor at Cutting Edge. "Our TDs and support crew can now dial up logs for a given job through GUIs or the command line tools supplied on any workstation. It's the only way to see how everything's going across the sites." By running off a single dispatcher, artists can submit jobs onsite or remotely through VPN and get access to the power of two farms. With this single point of control, Cutting Edge can now count the software licenses for applications, like Nuke, for all users. Previously, license allocations needed to be predefined between Sydney and Brisbane. During the day, the farms consist of dedicated slave units, but after 7pm, idle workstations join the pool, offer- ing a 20 to 30 percent rendering boost. In the near future, Cutting Edge will also be able to do something that was impossible before: track farm data for every project. "We had access to re- source tracking — how long a crew has been work- ing on individual shots, different storage stats — but never a stat like comparing CPU cycles against project size," says Sutton. "With 50,000 render jobs over the last six months, it's the aggregate data that Qube! is recording in its data warehouse that will help us make a lot of important strategic decisions. Now we can apply cost-accounting to the render usage, as well as make software license decisions based on the actual usage over time." 763.230.3911 DESIGNED TO PROTECT DATA ON TAPES AND HARD DRIVES SURVIVAL LEVEL: CONTACT US FOR OUR FULL RANGE OF PRODUCTS AND PRICING Cutting Edge relies on Qube! to render such shows as PlayStation Network's Powers (below).

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