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Top Four Data Management Challenges Facing Animation, VFX, and Post-Production Studios

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Today’s creative professionals are working remotely and accessing content from dispersed geographic locations; video and editorial workflows need to enhance collaboration and improve productivity. From animation, remote production to distribution, Qumulo helps major studios and networks capture, collaborate, and distribute file data globally.

Media and entertainment (M&E) organizations like these are under constant pressure to:

  • Support remote workers with the cloud to keep production timelines on track
  • Reduce video production time
  • Deliver new content faster and cost effectively
  • Optimize IT infrastructure for competitive differentiation

Let’s take a look at how four leading post-production and animation studios have addressed these pain points and moved their business forward.

Supporting Remote Work: From Onsite Office to Cloud In Under A Month

When animation studio Industrial Brothers needed to implement remote working for its team members due to the pandemic, Qumulo recreated the studio experience with production in the cloud. Within days, Industrial Brothers’ creative workflows were replicated by Qumulo on the AWS cloud, enabling the artists to keep production timelines on track.

Qumulo’s file data platform runs the same enterprise file system in the cloud as on-prem. Data can be natively and seamlessly replicated between instances or across regions. Today, at Industrial Brothers, connections between the data center and the cloud support remote users and data-intensive workloads.

Jean-Paul Godmaire, head of IT at Industrial Brothers, said, “I don’t want to say Qumulo saved the company. But we were relying on this solution, and if it didn’t work, I don’t know what we would have done. We consulted, deployed, tested, and onboarded the Qumulo cloud file system within three weeks, and then we were up and running. We essentially moved the office to the cloud in under a month. Kudos to Qumulo for making it simple.”

Reduce Video Production TIme: Enabling Film-Quality VFX on a TV Production Timetable

Special effects production for feature films and television used to be different creatures. But now, original high-end content with sophisticated and spectacular visual effects on broadcast and cable networks, as well as streaming services, are blurring the line between feature film-caliber content and television programming.

Studios and producers want feature film-quality video effects (VFX) on a television production timetable – either distributing content week-after-week for episodic programming, or multiple episodes dropping on a single day.

Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) is a Toronto-based VFX studio. “We designed our pipeline to produce feature film-quality visual effects for television, and to support the incredibly fast pace demanded by weekly episodes or a full season of episodes dropping on the same day,” said Farnia Fekri, MARZ’s Director of Marketing. “The post-production schedule provides a very short timeline to create quality effects. We chose Qumulo because its software allows us to deliver higher quality visual effects on a shorter timeline, and ensures that we fulfill our promise to our customers.”

Since deploying Qumulo’s file data platform, MARZ has more than tripled its previous storage capacity and doubled its performance.

“Qumulo’s distributed file system has allowed us to scale with ease without disrupting production, and deliver premium TV projects with speed and quality, which are two critical requirements for our fast-growing company,” said Sebastian Bilbao, MARZ’s Chief Technology Officer.

Cost Effectively Deliver New Content Faster

alter ego is Canada’s premiere commercial post-production facility. The studio is always seeking to push creative boundaries in commercial post-production, and turned to Qumulo for visibility, control, and insights into its file data.

Tyler Dalzell, head of IT for alter ego, explains, “We’re a small company and we try to keep things in-house as much as possible. It was nice to keep the infrastructure onsite and not incur huge internet costs and services to store and use the data that we need.”

“We found with Qumulo’s system, we could get the IO requirements we needed for rendering capabilities, and it also provided the large-volume storage to handle very large projects that we need to keep online and ready for when the artists require different shots or elements,” he said.

Additionally, Dalzell noted that the value of Qumulo’s file storage has increased over time for alter ego. “We were surprised that with the Qumulo updates, we’ve gotten more performance out of the product over the years, and doing that without a lot of downtime. Through all the software optimizations that you guys have done, we feel we’re getting more value than we did when we first bought it.”

Growing Business & Remaining Competitive: IT Infrastructure as a Key Differentiator

Competition in the animation industry is fierce, and for Guru Studio, its IT infrastructure plays a direct role in differentiating the studio. “Guru is unique in everything it does,” said Jason Burnard, IT Director. “The infrastructure to support our customized approach can be demanding on our workstations and resources. Our job in IT is figuring out how to address those challenges and ensure our systems are optimized to fit our growing needs, all while doing so at a competitive price.”

“Since moving our storage infrastructure over to Qumulo, we no longer need to have someone dedicated to storage. It becomes a shared role that a few people in our team can help with,” said Kym Watts, pipeline developer at Guru. “As our studio grows, we love that we do not need to re-think our storage solution, it’s simple enough to pop another node in the cluster. To expand the cluster we just scale it up!”

Learn More

Learn how Qumulo helps media and entertainment organizations enable remote work and global collaboration by downloading this white paper, “Ensure Your Creative Production Never Skips a Beat by Using Cloud-Native Services.” Find out more about how Qumulo’s solutions for VFX and animation studios can accelerate performance, collaboration, and productivity.

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