Jack the Giant Slayer Gets a Little Help from Dell

One of the best things about working for Dell is continually learning how our solutions are being leveraged to do some amazing things that impact our daily lives.  So, I was pretty delighted to learn that Dell’s media and entertainment solutions helped the award-wining visual effects (VFX) studio, Soho VFX, deliver 214 visual effects for today’s opening of the movie Jack the Giant Slayer.

 Just watching the trailer, you’ll immediately notice the highly detailed and realistic graphics.  There are environment replacement shots, dynamic characters and other action scenes with burning trees and intensive fire simulations. To do this, the studio used a combination of Dell solutions including the Dell Precision T3500 workstations, Dell PowerEdge blade servers and Dell UltraSharp U2410 monitors.

One of the notable features in the film is the extremely complex computer graphic (CG) forest comprised of more than 2.5 million fully-modeled trees. This 30-second-long shot was so intensive that it required more than 125 hours across 192 machines to be fully rendered. Even with such a taxing lift, the Dell PowerEdge servers “were rock solid and enabled us to meet our deadline,” said Todd Michael Smith, Head of Information Technology, Soho VFX.

Now, here is the tricky part.  If the Dell workstations’ memory were to fail or the servers were to go down while rendering, delays could have vastly derailed months of tight planning and could have cost Soho VFX substantial monetary loss.

To help ensure this failure did not occur, Dell helped Soho VFX expand its render farm of Dell PowerEdge M610 blade servers by 20 percent in less than 10 days, including server upgrades, to better handle the intense needs of the project.   The result?  Well, Dell met and exceeded Soho VFX’s timeline goals by one day as well as enabled the company to decrease lengthy render times by more than half.  This is “The Power to do More” in action. 

I definitely plan to go see the movie with friends.  And make no mistake about it; I cannot wait to tell them during the movie, “Yeah, Dell helped power that.”

About the Author: Kevin Curry