Elastic Cloud Computing at DreamWorks with Cerelink
"Every studio has a different production protocol and so our proof of concept intent with three other studios is to identify what the elements of their production pipeline are and how we can refine those elements to take advantage of remote rendering," Sanchez adds.
"What we were able to learn is that the data links we've experienced between New Mexico and Los Angeles is really small. Data is transmitted with an IP sensitivity so that the IP is secure. It's about 17 milliseconds and what that means is the time it takes a data package to travel from point A to point B is that it's so small that it's considered by the animator to be real time. That's significant because if the data latency is too long, the production pipeline or the methodology for which they produce the animation begins to breakdown. And one important factor in the test was the demonstration that the data latency was under the tolerance of about 30 milliseconds."
Cerelink, which intends on working with vfx studios as well, considers its remote render capacity on a par with DreamWorks' onsite render capacity. "They have a scheduler that transmits our render jobs from one location to another, depending on capacity load in each of those locations; it's not outsourcing the rendering: it's an extension of their capacity on campus and treated exactly the same as their computing assets would be treated," Ellington continues.
"What it means is that we were able to demonstrate that remote rendering is not only possible from a technical standpoint but also efficient. Moreover, while this makes business sense, the lower cost of power, the film incentives in New Mexico and the overall cost of doing business in New Mexico vs. California are critical to the bottom line of the production.
"What sets us apart is that, as far as we know, we're the only company that has done this a high-profile client and two high-profile feature films."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.