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Facing Explosive Growth in VFX File Size, EDI Scales with Qumulo

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EDI uses Qumulo for seamless execution of VFX file data post-production workloads increasing storage capacity for files from 4K to 10K.

EDI Effeti Digitali Italiani specializes in the design, creation and production of digital visual effects (VFX). Founded in 2001 in Milan, the studio creates the visual effects you see in movies or commercials for major production companies and well-known film directors. Have you watched a film mesmerized by the scenery, been taken aback by an explosion or sat on the edge of your seat watching water flood a scene? Those were film enhancements added with VFX files. It brings to life what some people can only fantasize and dream of. 

At least 90 percent of movie and commercial production is completed with digital cameras, creating large, data-intensive files. “The data we use are professional video files; not standard video files from phones or large cameras. They are big,” explained Francesco Grisi, CEO of EDI. EDI receives massive data files from production houses or film directors, then adds their post-production artistry to create visual  “magic.” Over the course of this process, the size of data often grows three or more times as effects are added to scenes.

With its legacy solution, EDI found it only met a small set of its storage needs. “We needed a storage system that is flexible, grows with our needs, and is accessible from any computer that our staff uses,” added Grisi. Up to 80 computers sometimes access the same files as each team member contributes their part. And recently, EDI went from working on 30 shots in a single movie to working on 12 movies simultaneously—of which there are 200-300 shots included. That’s more than a 9,000 percent increase in their working data files. 

Looking ahead, movie and commercial production will also double; so will movie VFX file sizes with increased use of 4K, 6K and even 8K or 10K images.

“This means we will have to at least quadruple our storage over the next five years. But we also have to consider another aspect. The size of the movies we are working on is also growing. Now we are working mainly on 4K images. We are starting to work on some 6K images. Maybe in the next year it will become 8K or 10K. This means the images will become four times larger than what we are using now. If we double the amount of production, we do it times four because the images will be larger. This means it will be x8 the amount of disk space needed to do all of this. This is why Qumulo is a very good solution for us. It is very simple to add new modules and to have the storage grow,” said Grisi.

The adoption of Qumulo supports easier, faster, more seamless execution of EDI’s data-intensive, VFX file work. Qumulo provides the capabilities, capacity, performance, and flexibility as EDI’s business demands change and grow.  It’s simple for IT to add nodes, increasing storage capacity for various file types—from 4K to 10K. In fact, EDI explained that was a main reason they switched to Qumulo. 

Riccardo Ottolina, IT Manager, EDI added: “It’s a resilient solution and the day-to-day maintenance and operations are easy, too.” Beyond that, the implementation was complete in a few hours, making it an easy transition and onboarding shared Ottolina.  

For the first time, EDI sees the data files that applications and workstations regularly access, gaining a real-time view so full capacity isn’t hit or exceeded. With their legacy system, and when they approached using 100 percent storage capacity, it usually slowed down the network, reduced productivity, and potentially impacted deadlines and work schedules for loss of time and money.

EDI wants no aspect of VFX file post-production left to chance, and with Qumulo as its trusted enterprise data storage solution, few data needs are sacrificed or at risk. 

“This is teamwork that we do together and having a strong network infrastructure supported by Qumulo allows us to access any project, on any machine, at any time,” concluded Grisi.

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