We hit the ground running after Christmas – we were half hoping for a slow-down to allow us to re-assess how to make our workflow more efficient, but it’s only been the last 2 days that have allowed that.
One area that has developed considerably is creating 3D elements and compositing. Although our original machine (a high end i7 workstation) did well, it was decided a bit more grunt was needed. After lot’s of research and feeling really geeky and socially awkward Steve decided on a dual Xeon workstation with shedloads of ultra-fast RAM, RAID 0 drives, SSD’s, mad graphics card… you get the picture.
The comparisons are interesting – our original machine took 1hr 41 mins to render our 3D CGI showreel. This was pretty respectable considering there were over 400 buildings, plus textures, lens flares, shadows/reflections and also HD video running inside the elements. However, the new machine took……. 15 min 24s.

However the original machine has got a very high end stable graphics card, and so will be used for NLE stuff. The new machine will be the new CGI beasty. We also have a professional audio workstation for music and sound effects – thankfully sound is so less demanding that even though that machine is over 5 years old, it is operating brilliantly and is no need of an upgrade. If it ain’t broke…

Finally one small thing that has made a big difference.
We deal with clients all over the world – USA, Europe and of course the UK. Video files are big, and we have wanted to offer our clients a storage system so we can build up a library of video assets for them.
Vimeo is great, but now archives the original files, plus because it generates lot’s of different quality files, often (despite explicit instructions) the client would download the wrong version.

Steve stumbled upon a NAS drive that also connected to the internet to create it’s own cloud. This means he can create user accounts, shared storage for them, and upload their files at Gigabit speeds. They then get notified and can download directly via our fibre connection. He can see when they have downloaded, and can also allow them to upload.
Feedback has been great. We now have 8 Terabytes of storage that we can use for clients. It works both ways too – the other morning Steve had an email from Subaru Belgium letting him know they had revised some translations, and that the revised script had been uploaded to their shared area for him. Because he is connected via local network, he can work directly off the file so avoid having multiple versions.

The cost of this little marvel? £99 excluding the hard drives!