Filmograph: Soaring to new heights by rendering in the cloud

About Filmograph

Filmograph is a full-service production studio specializing in feature film main title design, entertainment branding, live action direction, animation, and visual effects. They have worked on such films as Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, Snitch, and The Conjuring. The studio’s television portfolio includes Bad Robot’s Alcatraz and HBO’s Clear History.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United States

With ZYNC Render, Filmograph tapped into creativity-liberating compute power and unprecedented scale to get to final, under a demanding deadline for Saban’s Power Rangers from Lionsgate.

Google Cloud Results

  • Completed Saban’s Power Rangers end-title sequence in just four weeks with ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform
  • Removed technology barriers to computer graphics (CG) work
  • Met Power Rangers worldwide release deadline and delighted the client and filmgoers

Rendered the main-on-end title sequence in only 4 weeks

In the geological, gem-encrusted world of the Power Rangers, crystals and metals can bestow power or destroy the world. For a boutique Hollywood production studio such as Filmograph, where a talented creative team works on a variety of film, television, and gaming projects, the same can be said of technology: It has the power to enable immense creativity or hamstring the business with infrastructure costs and complexity.

When Filmograph was selected by Lionsgate to develop a main-on-end title sequence as credits rolled in the latest Power Rangers movie, the firm’s designers were understandably excited. Their vision was to bring to life a computer graphics (CG) environment of earthly yet alien-like minerals, macro shots of gritty rock formations, and names frozen inside the luminous glowing stones—all shining examples of the Power Rangers’ energy.

Of course, accomplishing such an ambitious sequence requires not only a highly inventive creative team, but also one with access to a vast pool of CG rendering resources. “Internally, we were thinking, ‘how are we going to render an all-CG project of this scope and complexity within four weeks to meet the film’s worldwide release date?’” says Seth Kleinberg, Principal/Executive Producer at Filmograph.

“Google’s cloud infrastructure levels the playing field and lets us offer clients the agility and creativity we’re known for along with the technology resources typically found at much bigger studios.”

Aaron Becker, Principal/Director, Filmograph

“As a boutique firm, we compete against larger studios in terms of creativity. But that’s only part of what we need: we have to be able to scale our computing environment to support any size jobs at any time,” says Aaron Becker, Principal/Director at Filmgraph. “ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform is a perfect fit for us. Google’s cloud infrastructure levels the playing field and lets us offer clients the agility and creativity we’re known for along with the technology resources typically found at much bigger studios.”

Google Cloud Platform for massive rendering power

With only 4 weeks to complete 27 shots, the Power Rangers main-on-end title CG sequence was challenging to say the least. To meet the client’s aggressive timeline, Filmograph had two choices: build its own rendering farm—which really wasn’t much of an option given the high costs and long deployment—or use a cloud solution. In the end, going with a cloud rendering environment was by far the best option.

Based on the recommendation of one of its artists, Filmograph chose ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform. Featuring native plugins and built-in licensing for Filmograph’s preferred animation and rendering tools, ZYNC allowed the firm to get started quickly and complete the rendering process for the Power Rangers sequence in less than three weeks, leaving time for finishing touches and additional fine detail.

“Using ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform, we could immediately jump into high gear to complete the Power Rangers project on schedule,” says Seth. “Rendering was faster than we imagined and we tapped into more processing power than we could have ever afforded on our own. With such a compelling solution available, I wonder why any studio would choose to do in-house rendering.”

Screenshot of geological, gem-encrusted world of Saban’s <i>Power Rangers</i> used on the main-on-end-title sequence.
Saban’s Power Rangers main-on-end-title sequence.

Smart workflows built on Google

The advantages Filmograph sees from Google go beyond ZYNC Render to also include G Suite, including Gmail and Google Drive, to communicate with clients and securely share large media files for review and approval.

“Our clients are more comfortable with us sharing creative assets over Google Drive versus using other popular file-sharing services,” says Seth. “They know Google takes security very seriously.”

Winning new business

Lionsgate was so pleased with the final sequence that it is considering Filmograph for other creative work in upcoming movies. In addition, Filmograph can confidently bid on complex CG projects including video games, knowing that it can meet demanding turnaround times and still deliver high-quality results.

“The sky is the limit with ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Aaron. “Our creativity won’t be hampered, and we’re opening up new revenue streams. It’s a great confidence boost to know that with 1,200 square feet of office space, a handful of desks and computers, and our network of skilled freelance artists, we can accomplish anything.”

“The sky is the limit with ZYNC Render on Google Cloud Platform. Our creativity won’t be hampered, and we’re opening up new revenue streams. It’s a great confidence boost to know that with 1,200 square feet of office space, a handful of desks and computers, and our network of skilled freelance artists, we can accomplish anything.”

Aaron Becker, Principal/Director, Filmograph

About Filmograph

Filmograph is a full-service production studio specializing in feature film main title design, entertainment branding, live action direction, animation, and visual effects. They have worked on such films as Insidious, Sinister, The Purge, Snitch, and The Conjuring. The studio’s television portfolio includes Bad Robot’s Alcatraz and HBO’s Clear History.

Industries: Media & Entertainment
Location: United States
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