IBM has announced that its technology was integral in the production of the new computer-animated 3D feature film, "Despicable Me." Big Blue delivered a server farm based on IBM's iDataPlex system to help with the movie's production.
IBM has announced that its technology was integral in the production of the new computer-animated 3D feature film, "Despicable Me
In a July 8 press release, IBM announced that it has collaborated
with Illumination Entertainment to help it meet the massive production
requirements involved in creating the movie, which stars Steve Carell
as a villain named Gru who hatches a plot to become the world's
greatest super villain. The film was developed and produced by
Illumination Entertainment and is being released by Universal Studios
on July 9 in the United States.
IBM officials said the animation and visual effects for "Despicable
Me" generated 142 terabytes of data -- an amount roughly equivalent to
the traffic generated by over 118 million active MySpace users or
250,000 streams of 25 million songs, according to the IBM release.
"'Despicable Me' represents a breakthrough in the emerging model of
collaborative, geographically distributed digital movie making, which
we are proud to be building from the ground up," said Chris Meledandri,
producer of "Despicable Me" and founder of Illumination Entertainment,
in a statement. "By seamlessly bringing together creative talent from
the U.S., France and other locations around the world via technology,
we completed a massive production undertaking that is often left to
larger single-location Hollywood studios. Thanks to the capacity of
IBM's rendering technology and the skills of our artists, we were able
to bring our creative vision to life through the completion of a
wonderfully entertaining film and build the foundation for a large
pipeline of projects in development."
The production team needed an IT solution that was easy to
configure, manage and expand, IBM officials said. To avoid the
potentially high air conditioning costs associated with operating a
data center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the company also wanted an
energy efficient technology platform. To complete the project, the team
needed to quickly design and build a dedicated server farm capable of
meeting these demanding workloads across its 330 person team of
artists, producers and support staff, according to the IBM press
release. Enter IBM.
"IBM is delighted to work with Illumination Entertainment on this
exciting project to advance digital film-making production," said Steve
Canepa, general manager, IBM Media & Entertainment industry, in a
statement. "The combination of our film industry expertise and
powerful, flexible and cost-effective technology solutions is helping
to accelerate the adoption of new digital technologies like 3-D into
the creative process of film making."
Illumination tapped IBM and its Paris-based business partner
Serviware to build a server farm based on IBM's iDataPlex system, IBM
said. With this system the company was able to meet the intense
computing requirements for the film and save room by doubling the
number of systems that can run in a single IBM rack, according to the
IBM press release. The entire space used to house the data center
amounted to four parking spots in the garage of the production
facility, about half of what had initially been allotted, IBM said. The
studio's iDataPlex solution included IBM's Rear Door Heat eXchanger, a
water-cooled door that allows the system to run with no air
conditioning required, saving up to 40 percent of the power used in
typical server configurations. Overall, the installation included 6,500
processor cores, IBM said in its press release.
Illumination Entertainment collaborated with Mac Guff Ligne, a
Paris-based digital production studio, to complete the 12 months of
intensive graphics and 3-D animation rendering, amounting to up to
500,000 frames per week. Meanwhile, Chris Meledandri of Illumination
Entertainment has something of a pedigree in animated films. He also
supervised the production of "Ice Age 1 & 2," "Alvin and the
Chipmunks," "The Simpson Movie" and "Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who."