Network Appliance Raises the Sword for <i>King Arthur</i>
Sunnyvale, Calif. - August 4, 2004 --
Touchstone Pictures' King Arthur, released in the UK on
July 30, was brought to life using the powerful Network
Appliance™ enterprise storage solution, which housed the
hundreds of visual effects needed by post-production company
Cinesite to recreate the Arthurian legend on screen.
London-based Cinesite added in the region of 500 visual effects to
the movie action, shot on location in Ireland, using a combination
of 3D and 2D imaging. While the company's existing serving systems
had previously been able to cope, the expansion of operation
necessary to deal with King Arthur, and other films in
shortened delivery times required a change of direction.
Cinesite turned to Network Appliance to provide the capacity and
performance its artists needed to complete the visual effects on
Peter Robertshaw, technical services manager at Cinesite, said:
"The needs of serving 2d and 3d artists and their associated render
farms are very different. Network Appliance has provided solutions
to both these in the form of its filer and cache product. We bought
a NetApp storage solution for serving our 2D imaging team. We used
to use a number of Linux and Irix servers, but they weren't capable
of reaching the speeds and performance we needed for the 2D work on
King Arthur. At its peak nearly 50 2D artists worked to create
King Arthur. The process of compositing requires merging
multiple layers together. Each film frame is 12.5Mbytes and there
are 24 of those in every second. That means it is very
storage-hungry. While we do not need real-time images, the
concurrent demands of all those artists' machines and large, fast
render farms needed an extremely powerful storage system that could
cope with high volumes of both data and requests."
He continued: "We bought our initial NetApp storage system at the
end of December 2003 with 6TB storage, but given the increasing
amount of work we were doing on the film, scaled up to 14TB in
February. The NetApp solution has enabled a fourfold increase in
throughput and greatly reduced latency-we simply couldn't have
completed our work on this film without it".
Cinesite has also utilised a NetApp
DNFS cache, which allowed the 3D images stored on the Linux box to
be held in cache and made it possible for the artists to gain
access to the 3D images much faster than before reducing render
times. Robertshaw continued: "The combination of both these
solutions dramatically sped up delivery time."
Stuart Gilks, director of systems engineering, Northern EMEA,
Network Appliance added: "We recognised the pressure on the
Cinesite artists to work quickly and it was vital to ensure this
solution provided rapid data access with minimum latency and
enabled them to meet strict film production deadlines. It's great
to play even a small part in bringing this fantastic tale to the
screen and it's a terrific benchmark for the British Film
Unlike other interpretations of the Arthurian legend, this Jerry
"Pirates of the Caribbean" Bruckheimer production of the story is
more concerned with swords than sorcery and places the action
against an accurate historical and political backdrop.
It's the first time such an effects-heavy Bruckheimer production
has been post-produced in the UK. Cinesite has already enjoyed
considerable success this year with its post-production work on
summer blockbusters Troy and Harry Potter & The
Prisoner of Azkaban.
Robertshaw concluded: "Cinesite is already working on its next
portfolio of films and continues to utilise the technical
advantages of the NetApp storage solution. Although there is a lot
of hard work ahead, we take comfort knowing our data will continue
to be highly available as well as fully protected."
Cinesite is a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Limited and
one of the largest full service visual effects facilities in the
world, with offices in London, Pinewood Studios and Shepperton
Cinesite's extensive range of services includes digital effects,
visual effects supervision, high resolution film scanning and
recording, physical effects, models and model unit photography for
Current and future Cinesite projects include Hitchhiker's Guide
to The Galaxy, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory,
Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, King
Arthur, Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban,
Troy, Sahara, Alien vs. Predator and
Alfie. Cinesite is currently completing all of the digital
effects and visual effects supervision on the major
Bruckheimer/Disney film King Arthur.
About Network Appliance
Network Appliance is a world leader in unified storage solutions
for today's data-intensive enterprise. Since its inception in 1992,
Network Appliance has provided fast, simple and reliable solutions
that continue to drive "The evolution of storage.™"
Information about Network Appliance solutions and services is
available at www.netapp.com.
Charlotte Hughes/Liz Barrass Kaizo
020 7580 8852
Network Appliance, Inc.