VFX Reprint by zhangyun


									 as seen in

                                         Rhythm & Hues calls
                                         on Integrated Media
                                       Technologies to set up
                                           their storage infra-
                                          structure, making it
                                        easier to work on VFX
                                        blockbusters like The
                                              Incredible Hulk.

Storage for

Finding the right system for your
company’s huge storage needs.
                          By Christine Bunish
There are more storage op-                            BlueArc and Isilon systems, the studio has
tions than ever before for studios special-           about 30TB of each brand. The company’s
izing in visual effects work. With an em-             three-level VFX storage has been tested by fea-
barrassment of riches to choose from, no              tures like The Golden Compass (for which
wonder many companies spor t several                  Rhythm & Hues won an Academy Award for
visual effects storage solutions dedicated            Best Visual Effects) and the new films Mummy 3,
to different functions and workflows.                 starring Brendan Fraser, and The Incredible Hulk,
                                                      starring Edward Norton. Rhythm & Hues is the
                                                                                                                                             Café FX, which

                                                      lead VFX house for both of these new features.
                                                                                                                                             uses BlueArc and
   At effects studio Rhythm & Hues                        “Every project pushes the envelope of
                                                                                                                                           Isilon as their tier

(www.rhythm. com) in Los Angeles, there are           VFX and requires a bit more render
                                                                                                                                        one storage systems,

three layers of visual effects storage. Tier one      nodes, more storage, more
                                                                                                                                     provided VFX for the film

storage, which the ar tists and render nodes          ever ything,” Banal de-
                                                                                                                                   Nim’s Island.

work off directly, features two BlueArc Titan 2S      clares. “We’re ver y
and two Isilon IQ1920 systems, which share            happy with the sys-
chores equally.                                       tems we have, but
   Tier two, for nearline storage, consists of        any time we need anything new we take a lot
BlueArc Titan 2S and Sun Microsystems’                of time evaluating storage to keep up with
Thumper X4500 systems. The latter is a new            our demands. We push terabytes and ter-
acquisition. “Integrated Media Technologies           abytes of data across storage systems, so we
[IMT] brought it to our attention,” says R&H          need systems with super reliability and very        Lustre cluster,” says Daugherty. “It’s perfect for
systems administrator Chris Banal.“The X4500          high performance. We can’t get away with the        nearline storage and playback.We can get real-
was priced very competitively and was very re-        slightest glitch.”                                  time playback without shipping to multiple sta-
liable. Somehow, with ever y project we do,                                                               tions throughout the studio. We use it con-
there never seems to be enough storage, so            F E AT U R E S , T V & M O R E                      stantly for that, to look at work in progress. Be-
we continue to acquire systems. With the cost            Santa Monica-based Entity FX (www.enti-          cause the system is so big we can keep an en-
of tier one storage, the need for nearline stor-      tyfx. com) has both 8TB Isilon and 20TB Sun         tire episode online so we can watch effects
age grows. Nearline storage is for material not       Lustre file systems for its feature film, TV and    shots in context and match color.The creators
actively in use but which can be brought back         commercial work. “The Isilon is our day-to-day,     of Smallville come here to watch their effects
quickly if needed.”                                   bread-and-butter server,” points out head of        shots played back from the Lustre storage.”
   Tier three storage has a Sun SL500 tape            technology Todd Daugherty.“We don’t have to             Entity FX’s Vancouver office has been using a
robot running SAM-QFS software, which en-             think about it; it does it what it has to do.       Net-app storage system for the last four years.
ables users to view the tape library as a virtual        “But Isilon didn’t have a 10GB solution avail-   The Santa Monica studio’s Netapp 940 system
disk. “The librar y contains our back-ups,            able when we needed speed and graphics at           was replaced by the Isilon. “The Netapp could-
archived shots or jobs, and digital dailies for re-   the same time, so I built one with Lustre and       n’t keep up with our demands, so we got the
view,” Banal explains. “IMT also suggested the        InfiniBand cards I got on eBay. Put together        Isilon here,” Daugherty recalls. “But it’s a per-
SL500 tape robot. Its QFS software makes it           with spare parts, glue and love, the system out-    fect size for Canada, a good solution for them.”
very easy to integrate the tape library into the      puts two streams of HD and keeps all our
environment; we evaluated several types of            nearline stuff accessible,” he explains.            B ROA D C A S T D E S I G N
software and only QFS was able to keep up                Entity FX installed its Isilon IQ1920i in           Atlanta’s RGBTV (www.rgbtvinc.com), a
with us. We’re basically going 24/7 with our          March 2006. Effects for episodes of Fight Sci-      motion graphics, animation and compositing
studio here in LA and two in India. Our old           ence, for Discovery, Sports Science for Fox         boutique with broadcast, commercial and fea-
ADIC AMASS tape robot couldn’t keep up                Spor ts and the new Crime 360 for A&E, plus         ture film clients, opted for a 6TB Sonnet HD
with our workflow any more. Back-ups were             numerous commercials and the feature Into the       RAID array for its visual effects storage.
taking more than 24 hours to complete.”               Wild all went through Isilon during production.        “We started with a Huge drive set-up; five
   Fortunately, the new tape robot is modular            “It’s been operating at 90 percent capacity      years ago it was the pre-eminent SD drive
since Rhythm & Hues “underpurchased space”            since two days after we bought it,” Daugherty       array,” says motion designer Jonathan Sargent.
when the system was installed. “You can buy           repor ts. “And we’re at 35 to 40 percent            “It was time to upgrade to HD and our tech
expansion modules and be up and running in            bandwidth capacity over time, which is pretty       advisor suggested we consider Sonnet.”
20 minutes,” Banal points out. “We went from          high. There’s a constant cycling of work on         RGBTV retained its Huge RAID system with
our too small 100TB to 150TB; that’s still okay       and off the system.”                                Blackmagic capture card, which runs on Mac
but we have another 50TB of tape sitting on              The company’s Lustre solution began as a         G5s, for SD projects.“Machines don’t really die,
the shelf that needs to be added. And in an-          20TB system earlier this year and is fast edging    they just get used for something else,” Sargent
other six months to a year we’ll need to pur-         toward a 40TB system. “Anything that no             quips.“They’re still good for rendering or other
chase more space again!”                              longer needs to be on Isilon but we’re not sure     storage or a server. You can always find new
   He estimates that among the various                will come back for additional work goes to the      uses for them.”

To top