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Old February 7th, 2008, 04:20 PM   #1
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Cineform bound to change Visual Effects Industry?

I am sitting here with 4 computers (each with 500Gb - 1TB RAID inside), an external NAS terabyte array, 7 external drives of different sizes strewn about the desk....

I am finishing uploading the final uncompressed TIFFS frames for the current project.... the last frames going up making up about 35GB of FINALS for a :30 sec spot. The 35GB uncompressed TIFFS for FINAL frames represent about one sixth of the rendered frames for the shots themselves (elements/passes, etc).. over 200GB.

Yes, I have finished the 13th show in almost 3 years working from a remote home office... transferring everything over secure ftp. All that data to move, and we always just barely get it uploaded and finished on time...

So then I encoded a shot from uncompressed 16-bit Tiffs to a CFHD 16-bit Quicktime. And instead of 657MB worth of TIFFS, I get a 12MB CFHD 16-bit .mov file. WTF! So.. lets see.....

I could have probably stored the ENTIRE show in 10bit 4:4:4 color space on a f#$%ing 4GB CompactFlash.. put it in a REGULAR business envelope.. and mailed it Priority mail overnight! I can barely hear anything in here because of all the drives and computer fans whirring about! Sounds like a g#$$amned data center.

My point: Visual Effects production involves getting the highest quality digital image output sent all over the world to be further massaged into the viewable entertainment all around us. The mass amount of data involved has always meant that only the larger production companies could afford keep all that quality and mass data moving about... many times flying out the "principals" just to see the finished goods. The sheer amount of data is THE main reason that at our little operation, we could never have handed over compositing jobs midway... meaning that once a shot was being worked on.. all the frames existed locally.. and it would take far too long to get them over to another location feasibly. Now, with this kind of visual fidelity and crushed file sizes, we can not only get things done faster, but we can SCALE! 12 times compression could lead to 12 times the amount of work we can move thru.... making things very interesting for said "larger production companies". Now, we can conceivably put almost a complete production on a solid state memory chip the size of a thumbnail... that costs about $49. All that is left is to find talent, and the way the "larger production companies" treat their talent these days... that, too is not a problem.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Moses View Post
... Now, we can conceivably put almost a complete production on a solid state memory chip the size of a thumbnail... that costs about $49. All that is left is to find talent, and the way the "larger production companies" treat their talent these days... that, too is not a problem.
What's changed today is the power, tools, and availability/cost breaks for the little guys.

But the techniques, the creativity and the true talent to make it all happen will always be needed.

Now, the playing fields are closer to being leveled, and those that had the skills but not the opportunity, will come out from the woodwork and shine....

...until Hollywood discovers holographic TV...and we start all over again.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 09:12 AM   #3
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So basically you said that now hollywood can outsource all these expensive local job to india or china..... just need a fast home connection
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Old February 8th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #4
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Yes ... they could.. and they are....

But talent is the deciding factor... if you do better work, good enough to justify the cost, then you can compete.
You can never underestimate the value of really talented artists.

There are lots of areas in visual effects that are technology driven.. where the art and talent are not as critical as the procedures and technology used to get the job done... those are areas being outsourced... and they should be "Who the hell wants to roto ANYTHING?"

The little shops (in the U.S. at least) are bottomfeeding on projects that otherwise would not have seen the light of day, because they are able to do some pretty high end visual effects, the work that used to take 10 people, with a couple of good, well rounded artists. These projects are not even being shopped around.. they are usally 5 week "quickies". For a small crew, these are lucrative $$$ projects, with competition between little shops keeping things interesting.

These projects are relationship driven, which keeps them at home. Why would someone risk the $$$ to try and deal with strangers overseas, when their friends/collegues here can do the work, and do it well. The cost of having it not get done or not done well outweighs the savings...

So far!

Long live competition!
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Old February 8th, 2008, 01:04 PM   #5
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My main point above was how high quality, the same quality that the big studios produce, can now be achieved and managed by almost "Anyone."

"Anyone" with the same talent and skills as the artists employed by the big studios. And until recently, that was not the case... because software tools, high powered online render farms, personal workstation power and costs, and now file sizes (with high quality visual fidelity - ie. Cineform) are available with few barriers to entry - ie. $$$

Can you make a feature film based on vfx? - maybe, but highly unlikely to look as good as the big studios... because of the sheer scale of the effects they produce.


But it is possible to find a niche in visual effects for smaller projects.. and directly compete with the larger studios.
All this made easier by new technologies in data storage and high quality codecs like Cineform.
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Old February 8th, 2008, 02:41 PM   #6
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I took a look at a HD demo (bluray disk) on a Philips LCD screen in a shop today (you know that screen that has colored lights in the frame that can match the colors in the video, there is a demo movie done specially for that screen). The movie was really interesting, but the credits at the end was even more. Except few people, all people have chinese or korean names.
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