Constant Flood of Data

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-07-09 Print this article Print

Soho VFX turned to BlueArc storage for the Herculean task of bringing Marvel Comics characters to life in "The Incredible Hulk." Despite the immense size and volume of files used to render fight sequences between the Hulk and his archenemy, the Abomination, the project proved to be well within the capability of the BlueArc Titan 2000 series server that anchors the visual effects studio's production technology infrastructure.

"Certainly nobody else had done as much work on 'Incredible Hulk,' since we did both main characters, Hulk and Abomination," Bannayan said. "We were one of only two companies to do that. We chose BlueArc Titan for its capacity and throughput, and 'Hulk,' our largest project yet, gave us the opportunity to really take advantage of Titan's strengths."

The scope and sophistication of the project sequences, characters and dynamics-smoke, flames and water-meant managing a constant flood of data, compounded by rendering day and night in the final weeks of production, Bannayan said.

"As we build a sequence, the sheer volume of shots could create problems of scale, but for 'Hulk,' as for our past projects, BlueArc and Titan never let us down," Bannayan said.

Soho VFX generated a number of shots for major fight scenes between the Hulk and the Abomination in a bottling plant and on the rooftops of New York. Creating these sequences placed simultaneous split-second demands on Titan for hundreds of gigabytes of data-intensive image files as well as intermediate files produced in the three-dimensional animation project.

Texture-mapping work meant loading 700GB of color-related data over and over again in any given week, Bannayan said.

As long as people keep buying tickets to CG movies in high numbers, competition will remain fierce among storage vendors mentioned earlier, who will keep competing for this key storage business based on arrays with high throughput and low cost per terabyte of capacity.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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