December 8, 2014
Visual effects studios are increasingly using cloud computing technology to crank out film sequences faster and more efficiently. Rendering, the process of finalizing each frame, is an intensive processing process, and the cloud allows studios to use as much processing power as needed to finish the job. When the studio is in between film projects, it can save money because the studio can scale back on its computing power demand, which helps keep VFX costs low for filmmakers.
One of the major benefits of using the cloud is that VFX studios can meet the changing needs of the production. With projects that inevitably grow in scope, studios that use cloud-based technology can easily get more processing power on demand. They do not have to pass on big opportunities with short deadlines.
Tight budgets can also be addressed since the pay-what-you-use model for cloud services helps to keep costs down. Kevin Baillie, co-founder and VFX supervisor at Atomic Fiction, explained in Forbes, “So if we’re in between projects, we don’t have this power-hungry depreciating asset that needs to be cooled and maintained [while it’s] sitting there. If we had, we would have to pass those costs onto the next job that came along.”
Despite the benefits, cloud technology has been slow to catch on among some of the existing VFX companies that have invested so much in their own infrastructure. Some of the companies are using the cloud as a small experiment rather than the backbone of the studio. For the companies that do utilize the cloud in every film project, like Atomic Fiction, the technology has been transformative.