Filmmaking has changed drastically over the past couple of years as everyone has had to embrace more remote working. For all the joys of open sets, packed montage suites, and traveling to locations, it wasn’t always safe or convenient to be nearby. So everyone had to innovate – and many of those innovations are here to stay.
The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at the University of Southern California, founded with support from George Lucas in 1993, has been a proving ground for movie studios to test cutting-edge production ideas. One of his most ambitious and successful recent projects has focused on remote production technology, and the daring new short “The Ripple Effect”, was the product of this experimentation.
“The Ripple Effect” takes place in the not-too-distant future, where Earth has become habitable. A coalition of nations have claimed the discovery of a new planet, Gaia, as the last hope for survival for the human race. Their arrival sparks a war against the original inhabitants of the planet. As the increasingly militaristic government demands sacrifice from the settlers for the greater good, a family is torn apart when their eldest daughter, Ara, wonders who is really at fault. “Ripple Effect” asks us if we are brave enough to go against the tide, and at what cost.
All filming took place on location in Los Angeles County. Critical COVID measures have been put in place to ensure safety through protocols and social distancing.
One of the challenges ETC set out to solve was how to save footage in real time: the production team had a relatively low-bandwidth internet connection on set, which meant that Continuous cloud backups were not possible. To ensure image integrity, the producers backed up all of their cameras using Mobile Bay Lyve™s from Seagate. With the introduction of its Lyve mass capacity edge storage products, Seagate has developed a “new way to access data” aimed at reducing costs, data transfer time and storage complexity by seamlessly moving huge amounts of data. At its peak, the project was generating around 12TB of data per day from the large-format Alexa LF cameras. Three saves were created after each scene, with two files ultimately stored in the cloud and another kept on a portable drive.
Additionally, the team wanted to make sure their editing team could access all of the footage and continue to think about the story instantly. The ability to move production footage to the cloud made it possible to access this data from anywhere.
The innovative use of cloud storage has helped the project develop new ways to reduce post-production costs, allowing for more editing and related work during production.“One of the things we wanted to make as easy as possible was ease of use. And I don’t know of any other company doing what Seagate is doing with Lyve Mobile Array storage for data in motion,” Dane said. Brehm, production technologist at Cintegral.Tech.
You’ll soon be able to see the product of their innovation – the producers of “The Ripple Effect” plan to unveil it at film festivals this year.
Main image: A Seagate film set, courtesy of SEAGATE