Powering Visual Effects Remotely and Sustainably in Postproduction Studios
As we enter 2023, the internet is full of “Predictions for the Year”—with everything from economic, health and travel trends, to global warming trends. Predicting these trends in the media and entertainment (M&E) industry requires additional viewpoints and challenges to consider. Over the past 40 years, cinematic visual effects workshops and studios grew, merged, and branched out across the globe, adopting, and leveraging much of the same technology advancements other enterprise and business sectors have.
Since its founding in 1984, Hypertec grew as a global end-to-end technology innovator in Montreal, Canada, leading and implementing many of the sweeping changes for M&E studios. Today the company is hyper-focused on delivering all the power and performance with a proven sustainability strategy.
“Studios today require powerful rendering, post-production, remote collaboration, video processing, and storage/archival arrays. In the future, the sheer power needed to run and cool an on-premises server farm won’t be sustainable. To deliver on these requirements, we are building on-prem, cloud, and hybrid computing options that will take up less space, dissipate and re-distribute power usage via immersion cooling, designed to save electricity and water.” – David Bitton, Global Director, Media & Entertainment at Hypertec Group
Since the evolution of incrementally increasing central processor units (CPU) and graphic processing units (GPU), cloud services, and a connected way to empower collaborative remote work, one constant keeps increasing—the need for energy. Studios today face a myriad of challenges to assure their ‘Studio of the Future’ can operate efficiently and securely, while protecting intellectual assets, powered in a sustainable way.
The Global Pandemic and the Remote Work Culture
March 2020 ushered in a global lockdown for everyone on the planet. The COVID-19 epidemic changed everything, causing all businesses to close, re-tool, and evolve so employees could work remotely. While massively disruptive to many service industry professions, knowledge-based industries, including VFX and M&E studios, found employees reaching greater productivity levels. For almost two years, studios relied even more on secure, cloud-based servers to manage VFX workflow from its artists and producers, from multiple locations.
David Bitton on High Performance Computing and Sustainable Oversight
“With the increase in power-hungry on-premises and Cloud based computing—studios have a mandate to address not only secure remote operations, but also power-consumption, sustainability, and staying ‘Green’ to do their part to offset global warming. While water cooling has been around for the past three decades, in 2021 Hypertec began collaborating with partners to create a fully immersive liquid cooling solution that offsets the need for traditional air-conditioning and water cooling—often saving more than 60 energy,” says David Bitton.
At the 2022 SIGGRAPH conference, Hypertec demonstrated how studios looking to reduce their carbon footprint could save electricity, and leverage ways to build more on-premises computing for security purposes. The popular YouTube series “Linus Tech Tips” produced a segment on how immersion cooling works, its benefits, and the savings a studio can realize.
The Studio of the Future in 2023
Studios today—and in the future—have a tall mandate to deliver. They must offer a high-powered, secure, collaborative working platform for artists, while reducing energy consumption for cost savings and sustainability. Studios must be agile to efficiently scale and manage proprietary content with total security and confidence, while providing their creative teams (working all over the world) a powerful collaboration platform. The need for power-consumption can be offset with innovative immersion cooling tanks—housed in facilities that will take up to one-third of the space of traditional server farms, using more than 60% energy. Hypertec is committed to helping studios work efficiently, remotely, and security, while achieving energy savings for a carbon-offset future, today.
David has over 25 years of experience in the media and entertainment industry. He contributed to the Visual Effects Society community as an active board member for the past 10 years. He started as a technical help and support at a software reseller and has since co-founded three companies related to the industry. During this period, he also worked on a few movie productions, and taught Maya software in Schools and Universities.
David helped found and grow the biggest Autodesk M&E partner in Canada, 3vis, and played a pivotal role in growing their M&E portfolio offering at Scalar. David currently building an M&E strategic business for Hypertec across the world.
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