Storage upgrade to accommodate latest Baz Luhrmann movie

SAN to support two Linux-based Autodesk Lustre suites

To accommodate storage requirements for the forthcoming film Australia which is being directed by Oscar-nominated filmaker Baz Luhrmann, EFilm Australia has begun upgrading its existing SAN with an additional 22 TB.

The digital postproduction company is installing two new SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 systems in Sydney and Melbourne this month.

Three films are coming in simultaneously from three internationally renowned Australian directors and a storage upgrade is necessary to accommodate the increased workload.

One film production will be in 2K,and another will be a 4K scan with 2K throughput. The third and largest project is the movie titled Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, which is scheduled for release in the US in November, 2008.

Luhrmann, known for his films using eye-popping, oversaturated colors, required Australia to be processed entirely in 4K.

Digital services manager at EFilm Australia, Robert Sandeman, said a typical 90-minute film with no major visual effects (VFX) component needs 12 to 14TB of storage for a 4K production workflow.

Sandeman estimates Luhrmann's outback epic will need approximately 22TB or more for online 4K processing, editing, special effects and color-correction and conform.

He said the company went with more SGI technology rather than another vendor because it is solid.

"We can't be in the middle of a major production for Baz Luhrmann and have disks fail," Sandeman said.

"We've relied on the 16TB SGI SAN for at least two years and it's never missed a beat, and that's what we need. We need things that just keep on working."

To better manipulate colors and imagery in real time, and to provide the storage capacity for increased 2K and 4K film production, EFilm Australia purchased a InfiniteStorage 4500 controller and added 16TB to the existing 16TB SGI InfiniteStorage-based SAN to support two Linux-based Autodesk Lustre suites, with the latest version of Incinerator render farm for the Sydney facility.

Sandeman said the central file system will be striped to deliver the bandwidth necessary for 4K resolution projects.

He said another SGI InfiniteStorage 4500 and 4TB will be installed in Melbourne to upgrade the existing SAN storage, with an additional 20TB.

SGI digital content management segment manager, Jim Mukerjee, said SGI provides the technology upon which the world's most esteemed filmmakers wield their craft.

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