nineteentwenty // Ditching Convention to Embrace YellowDog’s Innovation

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nineteentwenty are continuously voted into Televisual Magazine’s annual Facilities 50 and London’s Top 10 Post Houses. They use YellowDog to spin up Cloud servers when their render farm isn't enough for the task at hand.
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nineteentwenty was formed by producer Scott Griffin and Visual Effect Supervisors Ludo Fealy and Chrys Aldred in 2013, and their 60 years of combined experience in visual effects is balanced across offices in London and Bristol.
They have created for Sky, Glenmorangie, Persil, O2, Robinson’s, BBC Sport…

We gained a day we would have lost – and didn’t compromise on quality

Scott knows only too well the tight deadlines that come with VFX work for short form and advertising. When a project for a client had some last minute changes, it didn’t seem possible for the rendering to be completed in time. “It’s all about micro-schedules. Everyone knows that a shot will take 24 hours to render, and sometimes you have only 8 hours to do it.”

When an eleventh hour amend came in for a recent project, nineteentwenty turned to YellowDog.

Chris King (head of 3D) explains how the team were up against it: “On this project, we had 250 lights in one scene, and the rendering time was huge – the client had requested a 10 week job in 6 weeks, but gave us the footage with 4 weeks left.”

Scott reveals: “YellowDog provided that solution for a short-term fix on a project, so we could individually render scenes overnight, ready for client approval the next morning. Without that extra day, the only alternative would have been waiting or sacrificing quality.”

Removing the unpredictability and randomness of rendering

Chris saw the potential in the YellowDog innovative platform. “It’s not a conventional solution – but we wanted a clever use of technology. We pushed 80 nodes overnight, and we were able to achieve something impossible in our own render farm.”

But what impressed the nineteentwenty team wasn’t just the tech: it was the people.

“I didn’t want to get lost in a world of big computing companies,” Scott admits. “I wanted to talk to a human being! The willingness in the YellowDog team to try something different makes our work a collaboration.”

When a deadline is looming, speed and quality must go hand in hand. “Every time, YellowDog has delivered. Our first job, set up took half a day. The second job, just half an hour. It’s a very simple and quick process, and it’s a solution that is easy to set up – and it was great to see your nodes pop up on our render farm. It felt like you could have been a few desks over!” explains Scott.

“We can do anything when it comes to people,” says Chris. “We can always throw more people at the problem, but we couldn’t do that with our render farm. YellowDog made that possible.”


Everyone makes do with their render farm until they can’t

Looking to the future, both Scott and Chris have an inkling of where things are going. “The future of the VFX industry relies on partnerships,” says Scott. “As a business, you have to protect the pennies as the industry changes, and simultaneously ensure the highest quality for your clients. Cloud is now a viable option, and we can’t see ourselves investing in much more hardware.”

One failed delivery can make or break your reputation in the world of VFX, and thanks to their partnership with YellowDog, that is no longer something that nineteentwenty have to worry about. “The agency was happy, the client was happy, the director was happy. It was a fantastic result, and the client has already requested us to quote for their next campaign which is a great compliment.”


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