Bright Shapes Sanctum Workflows
The James Cameron produced 3D feature Sanctum is the latest film project to reap the rewards of Digital Pictures investment in a Bright Technologies G2 media server central storage system.
Bright software addresses the complex demands of file management in the professional media and entertainment industry. G2 is the only solution that maintains optimal file arrangement to prevent data randomisation problems that cause permanent loss of performance and speed.
“Bright is the workhorse of our feature film pipeline,” said Nic Smith, Digital Intermediate Technical Director at Digital Pictures in Melbourne. “It has been incredibly reliable with no issues - it has always been very solid.
“Originally we bought Bright from Future Reality for the feature "Where the Wild Things Are". A year later we starting doing more features and 2K work so we bought another 12TBs of Bright online storage which we have used in the mean time as our main shared storage between our VFX workstations.”
After undergoing intensive 3D R&D for Sanctum, Digital Pictures received the lengthy lists of deliverables required by the film’s studio backers and distributors. Because most of the deliverables were stereoscopic Smith quickly realised the need for more storage to handle an expected 32 TBs of data.
“We were comfortable with the original storage and the way we could use it so we upgraded. We used that so successfully we expanded it again into a much larger system for Sanctum. Sanctum required an incredible amount of data to be online as part of a shared central storage system that also had be capable of playing back stereo shots through our DI systems.”
Working closely with in-house VFX company Iloura, the Digital Pictures team created pipelines based around the Bright’s capabilities to quickly and easily move the data mountains through the scanning, VFX and DI processes.
The project was managed using Bright as a tiered storage structure of online, nearline and offline volumes controlled by a data wrangler using Bright’s Data Mover for command-line control, scripting, and workflow automation. Atempo Digital Archive software from Future Reality powered a 16 tape Quantum Tape Library to enable a 12 TB archive in 30 hours to keep Digital Pictures on top of its archiving.
“The connection speed and the efficiency of the Bright clip is brilliant because it means data is always moving between systems which allows us to consistently keep working on projects,” said Smith. “If we have a project on the Bright we can instantly start on the grade and at the same time be picking up those elements that we need from scans or captures for mastering.
“We get three streams of 2K off it so we constantly run both of our longform grading systems from it. We also use it if we need to pull elements for our other suites and a second tier of storage is used if we are going to deliver shots to our online suites as well. So we can run two of our four online suites off it at any one time and the second tier will run one of the systems.
“The next stage would be to double our storage capacity and go to five or six streams of 2K so that everyone can be working from the one pool at same the time, which is an an ideal set up in many ways,” said Smith.