• Tuesday, Jun. 11, 2019
Showtime's "The Chi" deploys Blackmagic Design cameras
A scene from "The Chi" (Showtime)
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

Showtime Networks’ “The Chi” incorporated a wide array of Blackmagic Design cameras, including URSA Mini Pros and Micro Studio Camera 4K, for DP Abraham Martinez’ naturalistic portrayal of Chicago’s south side.

“The Chi” portrays an average day for Chicago kids, prepping for school as their parents head off to work, young adults trying to make a living and the elders keeping an eye on things from their front porches. But in this tough neighborhood, real dangers threaten daily to squelch dreams, and the simplest decisions can have life or death consequences.

Martinez wanted this coming-of-age drama to feel grounded and realistic. “I wanted the camera to walk alongside our lead characters. I wanted to feel that we were in the middle of the ever evolving conditions of the city that pressed into our characters,” said Martinez. “So this meant, our cameras had to be flexible for the journey.”

Martinez used three Blackmagic URSA Mini Pros, one URSA Mini 4K and two Micro Studio Camera 4Ks recording into Blackmagic Video Assists 4K. Martinez feels his Blackmagic cameras have become an important part of his kit.

“I find that using my URSA Mini Pros has become somewhat of a paint brush stroke technique of my personal work flow. I’m able to have a half a dozen Blackmagic Design cameras around for my palette to fit the ever flexible work and city conditions that require me to adapt quickly.”

Shooting on location in Chicago was a must for this urban drama, and the visuals represent a naturalism that contrasted home life and the street. “The Chi” team used the colors of the environment to drive the style as well. “We celebrated color in many ways, from wardrobe to the set design,” said Martinez. “Our drama has many facets of story; the intersection of home/neighborhood/street life which is in contrast to the institutional aspects of the city, namely the prison and police corrections stories. I was able to build these two worlds in look and feel as we bounced between the delicate and interwoven story lines.“

While “The Chi” focused on a gritty realism, the shoot itself was rigorous at times, forcing the cinematography crew to move quickly. The Blackmagic cameras helped Martinez capture high quality imagery even if on the go. “My Blackmagic Design arsenal is always what I call ready at hand. If I needed a lock off camera ready for an additional angle, we shot with one of them. If I needed an establishing shot popped off during a company move, my URSA Mini Pro was ready for the task, helping us knock out the day’s work. As for the Micro Studio Cameras, we used them extensively throughout our shoot to power artistic angles, helping drive story and save time. We even had an URSA Mini Pro built into a full time gimbal system always ready to go. We were always ready for gimbal mode.”

With such a wide array of cameras, and a focus on color, Martinez had no fear about matching images. Working with Light Iron’s Steven Bodner, they had no problems matching looks between cameras or manufacturers. “The Blackmagic Design camera’s color space complemented the look and the feel of other cameras wonderfully.”

But beyond color, Martinez valued the combination of high end quality and ease of use. “The camera systems held up in the rigorous location moves and demands of the city,” said Martinez. “Speed was essential and it required very little to get the Blackmagic camera systems up and running. Often just a lens, card and battery and we were good to go.”

  • Thursday, Jun. 6, 2019
Google's challenge to game consoles to kick off in November
This undated image provided by Google shows the controller for a video-game streaming platform called Stadia. Google will offer its Stadia streaming video game service as part of a $130 package in November. The subscription itself costs $10 a month, but you won’t be able to subscribe without the package deal until 2020. (Google via AP, File)
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Google will kick off its Stadia streaming service to challenge the video game industry in November — but initially only as part of a $130 bundle that includes hardware and a pass for a friend.

Google announced the game service in March with few details. On Thursday, Google said it will start advance sales for the limited "Founder's Edition" bundles right away, though it isn't saying how many are available. Google won't offer stand-alone subscriptions, for $10 a month, until next year.

Stadia is Google's attempt to make traditional video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation obsolete.

Games are stored online, and players can pick up where they left off on traditional computers with Google's Chrome browsers and Chromebooks running Chrome OS. Players can also use Google's Pixel phones, but not other phones with the company's Android operating system. Unlike traditional games, the streaming service requires a constant internet connection to play.

Much like movies and music, the traditional video game industry has been shifting from physical hardware and games to digital downloads and streaming. The makers of leading consoles have their own subscription services as well, while Apple plans one this fall. The U.S. video game industry raked in revenue of $43.4 billion in 2018, up 18 percent from 2017, according to research firm NPD Group.

Video game streaming typically requires a strong connection and more computing power than simply streaming video, since there is real-time interaction between player and game. Google says it is tapping its massive data centers to power the system.

The service will mainly let players play games they buy separately, though some free games will be offered. Stadia will launch with about 30 games to buy, including "Doom Eternal," ''Assassin's Creed Odyssey" and "Wolfenstein: Youngblood."

R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said Google's streaming technology is impressive, but there's no "killer app" or game that would make the service indispensable.

"We do not expect Stadia over the near-term to be particularly disruptive to the traditional console or PC game ecosystem," Sebastian said.

Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at analytic firm Sensor Tower, said that while Stadia appears positioned to go after hard-core gamers, most of them already have a console to play games Google is offering. Casual gamers, meanwhile, might be confused by a monthly subscription package that still requires players to buy games individually.

"They might have been better served to let this bake a little longer and introduce it closer to the next generation of consoles," expected around 2021, Nelson said.

Stadia's "Founder's Edition" package includes three months of service and a three-month buddy pass that someone else can use. It'll come with a limited edition controller and a Chromecast Ultra streaming video device. Google says the whole package is worth about $300 but costs $130. It will be available in 14 countries at launch, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., France and Germany.

Next year, Google will offer Stadia Pro for $10 a month and a free version, Stadia Base. With the free version, resolution will be lower, and players won't get discount on games offered through Pro and the bundle. An optional Stadia controller will sell for $69.

The Wi-Fi-enabled controller has a button that lets players tap Google Assistant to ask questions about the games being played. Another button lets users share gameplay directly to Google's video streaming service, YouTube.

Google said playing video games will be as simple as pressing a "Play Now" button. Players won't have to download or install anything.

Sony offers a PlayStation Now streaming service that's $20 for a one-month subscription or $45 for three months. It offers unlimited access to 750 games for streaming or downloads, which allow for offline play. Microsoft's $10-a-month Xbox Game Pass offers about 100 games for free download. Microsoft is also working on a streaming service called Project xCloud.

The upcoming Apple Arcade subscription will feature more than 100 games for download, curated by Apple and exclusive to the service. Apple hasn't announced a price yet. The games can be played on Apple devices only.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 5, 2019
RED releases new DSMC2 Gemini Kit
RED Digital Cinema's DSMC@ GEMINI Kit
IRVINE, Calif. -- 

RED Digital Cinema®  has introduced a new DSMC2® GEMINI® Kit offering a comprehensive solution for cinematographers who shoot in a variety of environments.

At the heart of the new system is the DSMC2 camera BRAIN with the GEMINI 5K S35 sensor, which leverages dual sensitivity modes to provide greater flexibility in a variety of lighting conditions. Filmmakers can shoot in standard mode for well-lit conditions or low-light mode for darker settings, and operators can easily switch between modes through the camera’s on-screen menu with no down time. RED’s GEMINI delivers incredible dynamic range and produces cinematic quality images.

The new DSMC2 GEMINI Kit features:

  • DSMC2 GEMINI 5K S35
  • DSMC2 RED® Touch 7.0” LCD
  • DSMC2 Outrigger Handle
  • DSMC2 V-lock with I/O Expander for a variety of input/output selections
  • S35 AI CANON Mount
  • IDX Duo C98 Battery and IDX VL-2X Battery Charger
  • RED Mini-Mag (960 GB) with G-Technology EV Series Reader
  • Heavy-Duty Camera Case

The kit provides a premium bundle that is “ready to shoot” when paired with the user’s chosen lens. The newly packaged system is available for purchase priced at $27,500/£21,700/€24,950.

  • Tuesday, May. 28, 2019
Vislink to showcase advanced connectivity at BroadcastAsia
Vislink HCAM wireless system
SINGAPORE -- 

Vislink Technologies will showcase a wide selection of its state-of-the-art products at BroadcastAsia 2019 (Stand 6J2-01, Level 6). The company’s presence at the show represents its continued commitment to bringing the next generation of broadcast solutions to markets around the world. Vislink’s lineup includes the award-winning HCAM+ULRX-LD HEVC 4K UHD wireless system, DVE6100 encoder and IRD6200 receiver/decoder, IMTDragonFly Transmitter and its MSAT (man-portable satellite) antenna system. In addition, Vislink’s new INCAM-HS integrated wireless camera transmitter for Sony’s new HDC-5500 4K will be on display at the Sony stand.

Vislink product manager David Edwards will share his expertise on 4K during a presentation on Wednesday, June 19, at 11:30am in the Innovation Hub, level 4. His presentation, entitled “4K Wireless Delivery with HDR--and why it’s not for Pandas,” will discuss the latest trends and considerations in deploying 4K and HDR wireless productions.

Vislink will be showcasing its low-latency HCAM transmitter and UltraReceiver-LD (ULRX-LD), an NAB 2019 Best of Show awarded solution. With single-frame end-to-end capabilities, this latest wireless camera system is the perfect complement to broadcast sports and ENG news coverage applications. As the first company to bring single-frame, end-to-end latency in 4K, the HCAM is the most widely deployed HEVC 4K UHD wireless transmitter on the market today. It features user-interchangeable RF modules and a range of software options – including HDR-ready capability – and supports quad 3/6/12G SDI, HDMI, fiber-optic, SMPTE 2022-6 and HD/SDI-over-IP interfaces. With highly flexible and configurable mounting options and intuitive video interfaces, the unit can be mounted to broadcast, ENG and other professional-grade cameras. In addition, the unit features integrated camera control with Vislink FocalPoint compatibility and direct-docking battery plates with integral power feed through. The associated ULRX is a 1RU half-width, rackmount chassis receiver that fills the need for reliable HEVC transmission and allows for better compression without sacrificing quality. The versatile receiver features four UHF inputs with maximum-ratio combining, DVB-T and proprietary LMS-T demodulation, as well as ASI and IP capabilities.

Updates to Vislink’s satellite communications line will also be on display with the new DVE6100 encoder and IRD6200 receiver/decoder for applications where size and weight is at a premium. The company’s DVE6100 is a compact, multi-format, multi-channel 4K HEVC exciter that is ideally suited for flyaway and vehicle-mounted uses. The IRD6200 is a compact, multi-format, multi-channel 4K integrated receiver/decoder (IRD) ideally suited to news and events applications. Both solutions offer ultimate satellite bandwidth efficiency by utilizing the latest HEVC video compression and DVB-S2X satellite modulation technology, allowing a 50-percent reduction in leased satellite bandwidth compared to MPEG-4, DVB-S2 technology--dramatically reducing satellite OPEX. The DVE6100 and IRD6200 are the smallest and lightest 4K UHD DVB-S2X exciter and 4K UHD HEVC DVB-S2X IRD on the market, respectively. 

  • Thursday, May. 23, 2019
DP Dos Reis selects Cooke lenses for "David Makes Man" TV series
Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC
LEICESTER, UK -- 

David Makes Man is the first TV series written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who won an Academy Award for co-writing the 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight based on his play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” McCraney, serving as the series executive producer along with Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Oprah Winfrey, tells a semi-autobiographical story of his own life, as did Moonlight, delving into childhood trauma and using the power of imagination to survive.

To shoot this story of a 14-year old prodigy looking for a way out of his poor neighborhood in Miami, Florida, DP Todd A. Dos Reis, ASC relied heavily on a set of refurbished Cooke Speed Panchro prime lenses and Cooke Anamorphic/i primes.

“We didn’t shoot a typical pilot and wait for the series to be picked up, but shot ten episodes back-to back,” said Dos Reis. “I was able to get almost a complete set of refurbished original Speed Panchros from Otto Nemenz--18mm-100mm, except for the 65mm--and because of late changes in production, I never got a chance to test them. I knew from my experience with the Cooke S4 lenses that I would get what I wanted. I started shooting with the Speed Panchros on day one--almost always starting a scene with the 32mm and with the 40mm being my favorite--and I got exactly what I expected.”

However, during the prep for the pilot, director Michael Francis Williams decided he wanted to shoot anamorphically for the Ville housing project scenes, while using the Speed Panchro sphericals for scenes set outside the Ville. (This lens choice would be reversed for episodes six to ten to show a drastic change in the main character’s life.) But this late change to anamorphic meant that Dos Reis had to get a set of anamorphic lenses from another manufacturer.

“Those anamorphic lenses we used on the pilot...they just weren’t right,” explained Dos Reis. “They had quick falloff but it was the softness that I wasn’t happy with. I’m very familiar with Cooke’s spherical lenses from working with S4 primes on HBO’s Entourage, so I reached out to Dana Gonzales, ASC, as I knew he shot with the Cooke Anamorphic/i primes for Amazon Prime’s Legion. He said, ‘Get them, they’re great, they’ll give you exactly what you want,’ and that’s what made me switch to the Cookes, with a set of 25mm-180mm Anamorphic/i primes.”

As well as switching between spherical and anamorphic lenses, Dos Reis used different color temperatures, styles of camera work and styles of lighting to further highlight the separation between the Ville housing project and everything outside of that.

“While most folks think of Miami as being lush, the Ville is a housing project,” he said. “Our colors are desaturated, with a coolness in the shadows and skin tones with the interior lit for daylight with ARRI LED SkyPanels and the night exterior lit with tungsten, HMI Fresnels, sodium vapor and mercury vapor for soft moonlight — like the Ville was alive, a place where you have to have your head on a swivel to be aware of all your surroundings. That meant a handheld look.”

Dos Reis used three Alexa Minis for all 10 episodes, with two being handheld and one on a crane, dolly or Steadicam rig. In addition, he had a Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera to use as a bodycam or on a swinging door.

  • Thursday, May. 23, 2019
CATV TOKUSHIMA taps into Blackmagic
Performers at the Awa dance festival
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

CATV TOKUSHIMA, Inc. in Tokushima, Japan, replaced its 2K live broadcast system with a new 4K live broadcast infrastructure built around and Blackmagic Design products. This included URSA Broadcast, ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, ATEM Camera Control Panel and HyperDeck Studio 12G.

CATV TOKUSHIMA produces local news, high school baseball games and various live broadcast programs such as the recent Awa dance festival. Tokushima Awa dance is one of the traditional Japanese performing arts that has been around for 400 years, since the Edo period. The city of Tokushima, with a population of approximately 260,000, is a festival that attracts more than 1.2 million tourists from around the country every year.

With the new 4K live broadcast workflow, CATV TOKUSHIMA, Inc. set up four URSA Broadcasts at the main dance venue. Each camera was equipped with a Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter connected via an SMPTE fiber optic cable to a Studio Fiber Converter at a relay headquarters several dozen meters away.

The feed from the URSA Broadcasts was sent to ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K, which then sent signals to an ATEM Camera Control Panel, SmartView 4K and SmartScope Duo 4K. The ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K was used for switching, inputting titles and logos and to manage talkback direct to the cameraman, with a HyperDeck Studio 12G providing backup recording.

Takushi Ichisaka, Program production manager of CATV TOKUSHIMA, Inc., said, “ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K supports eight 12G-SDI inputs with format conversion, so you can format any signal and it’s really easy because you don’t need to convert. The switcher area has become very clean, as no additional equipment like cables or converters is needed compared to before. The ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K has a very easy to understand interface, so anyone can operate it intuitively, and the combination of ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K and ATEM software control makes it easy to manage titles and logos. The 2K material titles and logos are also converted to 4K automatically, which is very useful.”

He added, “Blackmagic products are all very compact and all the necessary functions are in place. The amount of equipment has been reduced to one-third compared to before, and we have been able to improve efficiency in various ways. Live broadcasts have different environments every time, so I think that saving space for equipment is a great advantage. All these products can be stored in a 20U rack, making it a lot more easy on the move side.” 
 

  • Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
Submissions open for 71st Engineering Emmy Awards
NOHO ARTS DISTRICT, Calif. -- 

Submissions for the 71st Engineering Emmy® Awards are now open through Friday, June 7. The Engineering Emmy Award honors an individual, a company or an organization that considerably improves existing methods or innovations that materially affect the transmission, production, recording or reception of television.

The 2019 Engineering Emmy Awards Entry Form can be downloaded from the Television Academy’s website here.

 TelevisionAcademy.com/downloads

Recipients of the Engineering Emmy, The Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award and the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award will be selected by the Engineering Awards Committee comprised of highly qualified Academy members appointed from technically oriented Peer Groups. Winners will be presented with their Engineering Emmy at a ceremony on October 23, 2019.

Previous Engineering Emmy Award winners include AVID, Canon, Dolby Laboratories, Disney, FUJI, Netflix, NASA, Sony Corporation and YouTube.

  • Thursday, May. 16, 2019
Digital Filmtree deploys DaVinci Resolve to color “The 100”
Bob Morley (l) and Eliza Taylor in season 6 of "The 100"
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- 

DigitalFilm Tree (DFT) has brought color to the post-apocalyptic, sci-fi drama The 100 with a team that includes sr. colorist Dan Judy, and VP of post Chad Gunderson. Just prior to the premiere of its sixth season on April 30, The 100 was announced as renewed for a seventh season by The CW.

Crafting environments like ice worlds, desolate desert-scape cities, and acid cloud storms, Judy is enthused over the support he and DFT have seen from Grant Petty and Blackmagic Design. Judy gave a presentation on his approach to color correction utilizing Resolve at this year’s NAB. Blackmagic announced its latest version of the NLE software, DaVinci Resolve 16, during the convention.

“I worked with the fourth DaVinci machine ever built, and hand-in-hand with the people down at the facility that invented DaVinci back in the day,” he said. 

During his talk, Judy referenced several advantages to the DaVinci Resolve software that have come in particularly useful for The 100, like OFX--Open FX plug-ins--advanced tools that expand the colorist’s ability to treat everything from beauty and Boris & Sapphire FX all the way to fixing damaged images and all available within Resolve Color.  There are Unlimited Power Windows with amazing tracking abilities.  Working clip-based allows proper access to the client’s camera original materials, maintained and managed via DFT’s object storage SAN.  Judy has the freedom to use a LUT from production.  He will use discretion to make certain it’s a benefit to the scene at hand.  Again, working clip-based provides a nondestructive approach allowing Judy the full dynamic range to protect the show’s color design.
 
Shooting on the ARRI Alexa gives extra dynamic range when matching footage shot across different times of day and then leveraging that ability when matching to other cameras used in production--GoPro, Red and Canon.  With The 100’s color design constantly evolving over locations and seasons, Resolve provides its evolving technology to help the DFT team meet these challenges.  Resolve’s last iteration--version 15--incorporated the Fusion Platform, this allows Edit, Color and VFX to contribute to the project’s final outcome giving the client real-time reviews of these efforts, even remotely.

Co-executive producer and director, Tim Scanlan, Judy’s liaison on The 100, and his creative partner for more than two decades, can even monitor and provide feedback from the production offices for The 100, in Santa Monica, or from his home office, in Newport Beach utilizing DFT’s remote services. Judy, meanwhile, can be found on a dedicated Resolve workstation at DFT’s facilities in Hollywood. He has partnered with Scanlan for more than 20 years, and the duo’s lineage in color can be traced back to wildly popular shows in broadcast, including ABC’s Charlie’s Angels and the CW’s Smallville, the latter of which they collaborated on for more than a decade.

“Over the years, Tim has pushed me very hard to utilize my tools to their fullest,” Judy continued, adding his thanks to DP Michael C. Blundell for his contributions to The 100. “Michael has been a real feather in our cap helping us out throughout the past five seasons.” Judy also expressed appreciation for associate producer Emanuel “E” Fidalgo. Gunderson thanked post supervisor Mark Knoob, whom he communicates with on a daily basis, and sr. editor Thomas Galyon.

“Dan Judy has a massive skill set, and can bend this software, somehow, to do magical things,” added Gunderson, who joined the post team for The 100 four seasons ago. “I help facilitate everything that the production needs around here from the time it hits online to finish. As this show is being managed primarily in Resolve’s remote workflows, it’s imperative that you have a strong management team, strong editorial team, and a strong color team, all working simultaneously, to see all of this through.”

  • Tuesday, May. 14, 2019
Christie partners with Cannes Film Festival for 13th year
CANNES, France -- 

Christie® is once again the projection technology partner for the Cannes Film Festival. For the 2019 festival, which runs May 14-25, Christie is supplying 36 digital cinema projectors from across its Solaria™ Series, and accessories. It is the 13th year that Christie has supported the event.

The ongoing partnership with the Cannes Festival confirms Christie’s reputation in the cinema industry as a provider of market leading digital cinema solutions, and its ongoing commitment to offer the best image quality for one of cinema’s most prestigious events.

“It’s an honor for Christie to be involved in such an important and globally renowned festival, now in its 72nd year,” said Francis Zee, consultant, Christie. “The Cannes Festival is all about the celebration of cinema and delivering the director’s vision to an audience of their peers. Our technical approach is to deliver rock-solid reliability of image quality with our projectors, and let the movie speak for itself.”

Technical specification for the projection technology in the festival and market screening rooms is overseen by the CST (Commission Supérieure Technique de l’Image et du Son). “The technicians that make up CST are very experienced, and the operators inside all the projection rooms are hand-picked by the Festival,” added Zee. “It is a pleasure to work alongside them.”

In the festival’s five rooms--also known as Competition rooms--a combination of Christie’s CP4230, CP2230 and CP4220 projectors will be used. The main competition rooms will have both 2K and 4K projectors to match the content on show. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Marché du Film is the largest international gathering of professionals in the sector and will feature the Christie CP2215, a popular, compact 2K DCI Xenon projector. 

This year’s curtain raiser is The Dead Don’t Die, directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tilda Swinton, Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Selena Gomez, Chloe Sevigny and Iggy Pop. 
 

  • Wednesday, May. 8, 2019
AWS Cloud empowers Tangent Animation for Netflix’s “Next Gen” 
Tangent Animation studio at work in Toronto
TORONTO -- 

Animated sci-fi feature “Next Gen” tells the story of a lonely, rebellious teenage girl who teams up with a top-secret robot to stop a madman’s plot for world domination. Featuring the voice talent of John Krasinski, Charlyne Yi, Jason Sudeikis, Michael Peña, David Cross and Constance Wu, the CG action-adventure was created as a joint effort by Baozou and Tangent Animation, a subsidiary of Tangent Studios.

Released globally by Netflix, “Next Gen” marks the largest project that Tangent Animation has tackled to date both in size and scope, requiring four 2K resolution deliverables, including mono and stereo versions in English and Mandarin. With only 25 percent of the project’s rendering completed and three months until delivery, Tangent looked to AWS Thinkbox to help them scale compute resources with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), ultimately completing more than 65 percent of the film’s rendering with AWS.

“AWS Cloud was a godsend for us on ‘Next Gen;’ it allowed us to render about two and half versions of the movie in just 36 days and far outstripped our on-premises capabilities. Without it, lighting and rendering would have to have started nearly eight months ahead of time and that would have required an entirely different creative strategy,” said Jeff Bell, Tangent Studios COO and co-founder. “We’ve always used Deadline for managing resources on premises, but our per hour compute costs are so low, we weren’t sure if the cloud was the right option for us until it became clear we needed a lot more CPU to get the job done. We couldn’t have hit our deadlines without AWS.”

Ken Zorniak, CEO and president, Tangent Studios, added, “Removing the limitations of a physical farm allows creatives to make changes to the story and look until the last minute, then let the computers do the heavy lifting. Since artists receive shots back faster using AWS, they can work more effectively. It’s definitely improved our studio’s flow and throughput and that helps keep everyone motivated and engaged.”

Tangent deploys open source software for 3D production, primarily using Blender for content creation. Tangent’s local 600-node farm is housed at the studio’s Winnipeg headquarters, which has about 60 people who typically focus on asset creation, lighting and VFX. Much of Tangent’s animation is done out of its Toronto studio, which is about twice the size staff-wise and is designed to be highly flexible.

“Our Toronto office is run on a data center so looking to the cloud wasn’t a foreign concept,” Bell explained. “After just two months of setup, configuration and testing--which AWS Thinkbox helped us with, we went from being inexperienced to spinning up 3,000 AWS instances--five times the capacity of our local resources.”

Already well into production once they decided to leverage the AWS cloud, Tangent was able to use AWS Snowball, a data transport solution that can be sent to a studio’s location, to quickly load upwards of 100TB of data onto AWS servers. AWS Thinkbox helped them determine where to locate the data, and how to balance machine power and RAM needs with pricing and core availability, making use of economical Spot Instances where possible.  

Looking to the future, Bell envisions broadening Tangent’s relationship with AWS. He shared, “I can see us moving our whole production pipeline to AWS: disk tiering for cold storage, remote users, backups, virtual workstations, and beyond. With AWS, we see a partner that we can rely on long term, not just to bring more cores online to finish a project but also a resource for the work we do beyond the animation studio in developing SaaS technology.”

Currently, Tangent Animation is working on a new project expected to announce in the coming weeks.

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