Silverdraft Mobileviz Harnesses Virginia Tech Supercomputing Power for Motion Picture Production
April 6, 2011

Silverdraft Mobileviz Harnesses Virginia Tech Supercomputing Power for Motion Picture Production

Los Angeles, Calif. - Silverdraft LLC released details of its collaborative work with Virginia Tech University's Dr Srinidhi Varadarajan, a world-leading pioneer in supercomputing technologies, to create Silverdraft Mobileviz, the first supercomputer-powered digital visual effects (VFX) and on-set visualization studio-on-wheels for motion picture production.

Silverdraft Mobileviz combines proprietary computing technology, developed by Dr Varadarajan, with the fastest and most innovative tools for digital filmmaking. The result is a brand new mobile service that delivers unprecedented capabilities to moviemakers on set, a location in one of the many US states with tax incentives, or to a VFX-intensive production requiring additional computer rendering horsepower.

With this powerful new technology filmmakers can work more efficiently than ever before, while saving both time and money. The multi-purpose applications of Silverdraft Mobileviz include on-set capture for digital motion pictures, pre-visualization and realtime visualization of VFX shots, performance capture, editorial and color management, as well as superfast rendering for 2D, 3D stereo and CGI-based productions.

Filmmakers can immediately see live action, CGI imagery and performance capture combined in context together 'live' on set, and make adjustments to each there and then, saving on the need for possible reshoots, or expensive fixes in post production.

Dr Varadarajan is Director for the Center of High-End Computing Systems, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science, at Virginia Tech University. He is also a Co-Founder and the Systems Architect of Silverdraft Mobileviz, and is singularly responsible for the design, build, functionality and revolutionary speed of the supercomputer within this new resource.

His pioneering work in supercomputing, parallel processing, scalable network emulation, and network routing algorithms, led to his development, in 2003, of System X at Virginia Tech, ranked #3 among super-computers worldwide.

Silverdraft has collaborated with Dr Varadarajan to create the first in a fleet of Mobileviz trailers that can be customized to deliver powerful computing capabilities directly to a movie set or to a VFX-intensive production requiring additional computing horsepower.

The first Mobileviz trailer, based at Silverdraft's Wilshire Blvd offices in Los Angeles, offers 30 teraflops of processing power, although higher-end Mobileviz systems can be scaled to process at up to 350 teraflops - 350 trillion floating point operations per second - ranking them among the top 50 supercomputers in the world, and on a par with the world's most advanced production facilities.

Dr Varadarjan said: "Over the last decade, the volume of VFX in movies has increased dramatically, to the point where entire movies are completely based around VFX. Today, even fairly humble movies include a significant amount of computer-generated content. Creating, handling and managing all this content requires enormous amounts of computing horsepower, and this is only going to increase.

"This is where Silverdraft Mobileviz trailers come in. Now, movie productions have access to a high-end realtime resource, in mobile form, that can park-up close to where the movie is being made. It's not just for a $300m motion picture, it's available to everyone who wants to include VFX or CGI in their production, and the latest on-set capabilities."

Mobileviz can also be deployed when brick and mortar facilities face 'peak load' on a CGI-intensive production, and need additional computing rendering resources. Mobileviz trailers can be dedicated to an existing IT network, ensuring maximum security of rendered assets and production material.

"As 3D stereo and VFX proliferate, and as the movie industry transitions to digital cinematography, filmmakers desire faster, more flexible and more creative resources," said Amy Gile, Silverdraft founder and CEO. "Thanks to Dr Varadarajan's brilliant work, Silverdraft Mobileviz delivers supercomputing power to where it's required, and gives filmmakers new creative options."