Dreaming of DreamWorks

Can digital 3D movies accelerate their pace to market with current storage technology?

August 23, 2008

2 Min Read
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For this blog, I thought of using 3D still pictures from the film The Power of Love, premiered in September 1922, or a still from Bwana Devil released in 1952 by Arch Oboler. However, I believe most of you have seen a 3D movie at some point in time, and you very well may not have a pair of 3D glasses on-hand to view the images.

Recently, DreamWorks Pictures announced that they are spending $85M to expand a production facility in Glendale, Calif. The expansion will provide an additional 100,000 square feet of workspace for digital effects film production personnel for upcoming 3D movie projects. This is a major infrastructure investment by DreamWorks and a green light for the release of more and more 3D movies over the next few years.

The infrastructure investment will result in increased compute horsepower and most certainly increased storage to contain all the digital images with varied hues and tints to render films in 3D. This step may trigger a further investment by more movie houses worldwide and continue to fuel the growth in high performance computing and storage requirements that we analysts see on the rise over the next two to five years.

Clearly, as economic times become cloudy, most folks turn to their home entertainment systems and movie theaters for major motion pictures. Given that feature length movies go to DVD format during their life cycle, we will need to purchase and maintain 3D glasses for the family as a standard part of our home entertainment products. However, beware, there is a difference between 3D digital effects and stereographic display; you will also need to purchase a new kind of LCD or Plasma screen that meets a new standard, and these screens are slowing being introduced to the market.

The Trainer Test: High-performance compute servers are certainly capable of providing the throughput and performance required for todays rapidly digitizing film industry. However, as this evolution continues greater throughput and performance on the compute side, as well as innovation in file system access and rendering techniques must move quickly to keep up the pace of demand. Storage systems today are capable of storing and delivering data for servers and some, such as DataDirect Networks and IBM, may very well be positioned to support a rapid evolution in speed requirements. Keep dreaming, DreamWorks, and we will keep our 3D glasses at the ready.— Tom Trainer is founder and president of analyst firm Analytico. Prior to founding Analytico, Trainer was managing senior partner at Evaluator Group, and has also worked at EMC, HDS, Auspex, and Memorex-Telex during his 30-year career in IT.

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  • DataDirect Networks Inc.

  • IBM Corp.

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