Entertainment Technology Center Case Study
Filmmakers use live-action short film as test bed for virtual production technology.
The Ripple Effect production team relied on a relatively low-bandwidth internet connection on set—which meant that streaming backups to the cloud was not feasible. In order to ensure the integrity of the production data in real time, the producers backed up all their cameras using Lyve™ Mobile arrays from Seagate®.
Lyve Mobile facilitated high-capacity and high-performance data transfers from edge to cloud.
Storage-as-a-service solution enabled the production team to physically transport backups to an off-set data center.
Lyve Mobile integrated seamlessly with the Lyve Cloud storage-as-a-service solution.
The ability to move production footage into the cloud enabled remote access to the data.
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California, which was founded with the support of filmmaker George Lucas in 1993, has become a proving ground for movie studios to test new production ideas and experiment with innovative workflow strategies. The center’s work on remote production best practices is detailed in a white paper that discusses how Ripple Effect pushes the limits of virtual production. Improving production workflow is a big deal for studios that are investing in productions that cost millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
In an effort to develop a safe production environment, the ETC at the University of Southern California (USC) embarked on an ambitious live-action short film that was envisioned as a test bed for virtual production technology. The producers hope to debut their movie, Ripple Effect, at a film festival later this year.
One of the major challenges for the entertainment industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been figuring how to keep new productions in the pipeline while ensuring the safety of cast and crew. Although most movie theaters and live entertainment venues shuttered for more than a year, consumer demand for new in-home programming skyrocketed.
One of the cornerstones of a virtual production environment is data. But managing large amounts of data while filming on a set—or on location—requires the orchestration of technology tools that can store and transport data flowing from cameras. Further, that data must be safe and secure, both at the edge and in the cloud.
The Ripple Effect production team relied on a relatively low-bandwidth internet connection on set, which meant that streaming backups to the cloud was not feasible. In order to ensure the integrity of the production data in real time, the producers backed up all their cameras using Lyve Mobile Arrays from Seagate.
The filmmakers used Alexa LF large-format cameras during production. They produced about 2TB per hour of HDR and ARRIRAW footage. At its peak, the project was generating about 12TB of data per day. Three backups were created after every scene, with two files ultimately stored in the cloud and one remaining on portable drives.
Storing the data in the cloud wasn’t just for archiving. The ability to move all the production footage in the cloud enabled the Ripple Effect producers to provide their editing team with remote access to the data. One of the goals of the project was to reduce post-production costs by doing as much editing and related work as possible during production.
The Ripple Effect project demonstrated that Seagate storage can meet high performance demands to support fast data transfers and streaming. It also supports enterprise-level media workflows that ensure the integrity of creative content. Moreover, support for open standards eliminates vendor lock-in obstacles.
This enabled ETC to:
“One of the things we wanted to facilitate as much as possible was ease of use. And I’m not aware of another company doing what Seagate is doing with Lyve Mobile Array storage for data in motion.”
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