SOLID STORAGE FOR SPECIAL EFFECTS


While it’s easy to be dazzled by the brilliance of visual effects on the big screen, the less showy side of film post-production often goes unrecognised. Here, Double Negative (known affectionately as DNeg) reveals how an array of Infinity|8 RAID systems and ATTO RAID adapters keeps all that amazing work safe and secure.
Double Negative’s trophy shelf has been put under serious strain in recent months, after winning a string of VES Awards, a BAFTA and the Academy Award for Visual Effects - all in recognition of its work on Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending dream of a film, Inception. Soho-based DNeg, the largest visual effects house in Europe, has also recently worked on leading titles including Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Paul and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (with Part 2 currently in production).
Each film project amasses a vast amount of uncompressed files, in a range of formats, that need to be easily accessible by editors and must be absolutely secure. DNeg has been building an expanding RAID storage system over the past few years, based on Global Distribution’s Infinity|8 RAID systems which are individually powered by ATTO Technology’s high performance R380 PCIe RAID Adapters. Each RAID system is connected to a non-networked workstation, which allows for portability and no single point of failure.
Senior Technical Engineer Nick Lawrence explains: “We needed a RAID system that was fast enough to handle uncompressed editing and playback for our editors. Within the same spec, we preferred not to run a striped system; due to the nature of our different buildings and the way that we work, a central location for a server was not something we wanted to go with – direct-attached storage was preferable. We found that the Infinity|8 was ideal for both RAID 6 and the amount of data transfer needed.”
The Infinity|8 RAID and ATTO R380 solution provides a quiet desktop 8-bay system which is available in 8TB and 16TB capacities with support for RAID-5 and RAID-6 configurations and is expandable via a mini-SAS connector to a maximum of 128 hard drives in daisy chained chassis. It is capable of sustaining over 600MB/sec, providing support for uncompressed HD and 2K workflows on both Mac and PC platforms.
The ATTO R380 RAID Adapter also allows for performance to be tweaked and tailored to specific applications, and the Infinity|8 maintains near-sustained performance figures even when in a degraded state (for instance if a drive fails and a re-build is in progress), enabling users to continue working.
Nick comments, “In our experience the ATTO adapters have proven to be very reliable. We first installed them alongside our first Final Cut Pro workstations, and have continued to use ATTO over the years. They work really well for us.”
The other key benefits that these storage systems bring to the DNeg team are speed and portability, as Lawrence comments: “The Infinity|8 units allow editors to move with the shows and cut together amazing footage within minutes.”
DNeg currently has 13 Infinity|8 and ATTO R380 combinations and is likely to add more in time. “We tend to purchase systems incrementally with demand and most likely we will continue to do that, particularly as the number of projects coming to London continues to increase,” says Nick. “[Global Distribution reseller] Salon Pro Sales has been our supplier for two years, and I only have good things to say about purchasing from them. In terms of support, Salon has always been there for us. Luckily, the Infinity units have been so reliable that I’ve only called them once! But on that occasion the Salon team were excellent and it gives us peace of mind that they are there if needed.”
With an Oscar firmly in its grasp, things can only get better for DNeg – and while its talented team whips up ever more magical creatures, stunning sets and seamless action sequences, the Infinity|8s and ATTO R380s will continue to quietly and reliably support them.
www.dneg.com

Tags: iss055 | solida storage | double negative | dneg | atto raid | infinity 8 raid | global distribution | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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