Budapest’s Origo Studios has upgraded its storage systems and scaled up its post-production environment, with the help of HPE GreenLake and Qumulo.
Origo Studios, one of the largest film studios on the continent opened its doors some 13 years ago, and has since worked on Hollywood blockbusters such as “Inferno”, “Atomic Blonde”, “Blade Runner 2049”, and “Dune”.
Keeping up with the most cutting-edge tech, Origo Digital Film operates a DFT Scanity 4K real-time scanner, ARRISCAN and ARRILASER 2 HS scanners. The studio’s editorial teams work in Avid or Adobe Final Cut Pro, collaborating through shared storage. VFX and online finishing for film and TV are performed in 2K/4K, HD and SD, and other finishing tasks can be supported using uncompressed 4:4:4 signal processing.
The studio’s team specializes in encoding video masters to file formats needed for streaming and broadcast playback devices, or for further work on clients’ computers downstream. Origo operates a highly secure fibre-based global data delivery pipeline, and runs a high-speed dedicated network for remote color correction and studio approvals. Its two client screening rooms are capable of 35mm, 2K/4K data and video projection, supporting two digital intermediate suites.
To support its operations, Origo needed a quick and efficient storage system that supports constant data transformation between formats without dropping frames or holding up processes.
Origo Digital Film’s services are led by László Hargittai, head of Origo Digital Film’s services, who noted that the studio has worked through several changes to its storage infrastructure.
“At the time we opened in 2010, our studio was using an Isilon storage system. But at about the same time, Dell acquired Isilon and shortly afterward began to take the development of its systems in a direction that no longer suited our purposes as well,” he added.
The studio realized that to make their operation sustainable, they would need to find an alternative, and considered various options, including the cloud.
Finding an Alternative
The studio started looking for an alternative, and decided to adopt the HPE GreenLake hybrid cloud system. HPE calls GreenLake an edge-to-cloud system, defining edge as the point where data is first collected, generated or stored – from cameras and other kinds of sensors, scanners and finishing suites, to servers and small data rooms.
HPE GreenLake aims to bring a cloud-like experience to the edge and increase the potential for new low-latency services. Its edge computing approach is characterized by high bandwidth, ultra-low latency and real-time access to network information that can be used by several applications.
The studio recognized that HPE GreenLake’s storage environment and functionality has features that the facility needed, but at first found it a challenge to manage and control their files and file data. Their team was encountering bottlenecks when storing 4K images generated by their Scanity system. During grading sessions, the playback of uncompressed 4K images was not real-time, and frames were dropped.
The issue was solved when the studio started using Qumulo’s file data software, which they found could be delivered as-a-service through the HPE GreenLake platform.
“For upcoming film ‘Poor Things’, for instance, Origo served as dailies processor. The project was shot on film, coming in at 170MB/frame that had to be played back in real time across six workstations,” Hargittai said. “We were working with uncompressed DPX or EXR files, sometimes even playing the footage back in reverse.”
“The performance we achieved with Qumulo and HPE GreenLake really impressed us. We’re now able to perform tasks like color grading without dropping any frames. It’s making the whole post production process faster and more efficient including film scanning, dailies processing, editing, audio-post and color finishing. In particular it has made a noticeable difference for our team and helped keep our production deadlines on track.”
While HPE GreenLake looks after the backbone of the post environment, Qumulo functions as the software file system layer, simplifying the management and optimization of a storage system, and managing the quantities of data, regardless of its physical location. Built into its file data platform are tools for managing the data lifecycle from ingest and transformation, to publishing applications and finally to archive.
Qumulo also possesses data protection features to support disaster recovery, backups or user management, plus automatic data protection from external threats through encryption. Additionally, Qumulo can be used to move data to the cloud, without re-factoring applications, by transforming data from file to object, and using file data with cloud-native applications that are designed for object data.
Cover credit: Origo Studios Budapest/Facebook