Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, May 15, 2021

Dreamworks Cloud Bursts Into Beijing 

Movie producing has turned into an arms race with computer generated special effects becoming the canvas on which the stories are being told.

With all of this computing power in demand, cloud computing is becoming ever more entrenched among movie studios, where it becomes a crucial tool as a production starts getting closer to its end. “As we get to the end of a movie, we have to a need to increase the amount of artists working on the movie, and therefore the amount of processing that we apply to the movie,” says Lincoln Wallen, CTO of DreamWorks Animation.

The need to hit the throttle on the computing power without having to go through the timely and costly process of procuring the computing power in-house is turning into quite a boon for companies like HP, who are managing to forge in-roads into the movie industry. One such relationship that is blossoming for HP is its fraternization with DreamWorks.

The partnership, which started in the summer of 2010, just as high performance cloud computing as an industry solution started to take shape, has recently sprawled into an international consociation. When DreamWorks launched its China-focused Oriental DreamWorks, they did so arm-in-arm with HP, which will be supplying the infrastructure, both cloud and personal, to the fledgling Asian arm of the animation titan.

The growth of DreamWorks’ arm into a new market with over a billion people would not have been inconceivable prior to the advent of cloud computing, however it’s hard to argue that the ability to call up impressive amounts of computing power from anywhere around the world didn’t hasten the entire endeavor.

For their part, since signing on with HP in 2010, DreamWorks has put cloud computing through its paces. Movies that have run through the cloud paces include Shrek 3D, “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Puss in Boots,” “Kung Fu Panda 2" and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”

For Madagascar 3, HP says that more than 65 million render hours, representing 200 terabytes of data were logged on its geographically dispersed render farms throughout the US and India to power crucial stages of the production.

Numbers like these look only to grow as movie studios further leverage the technology.

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