ROUND ROCK, TEXAS — When Linkin Park needed powerful technology to produce their latest music video, they turned to Dell.
The multi-platinum rock band is premiering "A Light That Never Comes" in collaboration with electro house DJ Steve Aoki, created using Dell Precision workstations with NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics processors. Known for such number one rock songs as "Burn It Down," "The Catalyst," and "Numb," and equally recognized for their embrace of technology and innovation, the Grammy-winning band has won Best Rock Video three times at the annual MTV Video Music Awards and garnered multiple nominations for Best Visual Effects and Best Special Effects.
Seeking to create an ambitious 3D world for their latest music video, Linkin Park and longtime visual effects and design company Ghost Town Media switched from non-PC hardware to powerful Dell Precision workstations and NVIDIA Quadro graphics processing units (GPUs), designed to provide superior solutions for graphics-intensive professionals in fields from video editing to engineering. Ghost Town Media principal and creative director Brandon Parvini worked closely with Linkin Park member and video director Joe Hahn to bring Hahn's narrative-driven vision to life.
"Joe and I have worked together on many Linkin Park videos over the last few years, and we have a shorthand language that helps move things along. But for this project, we knew that we needed the right hardware and software to make it feasible," says Parvini. For "A Light That Never Comes," Hahn imagined navigating a cyberpunk CG landscape that captured the feeling of purgatory, a digital city where each Linkin Park member, and collaborator Steve Aoki, could be seen performing in their own separate districts as the song moves toward a transformative climax.
Ghost Town leveraged the most powerful high-end Dell Precision T5610 and T7610 tower workstations which now feature new NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GPU and can be paired with 30- and 24-inch Dell UltraSharp monitors. They also used Dell's M6800 mobile workstation with the NVIDIA Quadro K5100M, the most powerful GPU built for mobile systems. Both tower and mobile workstations were supplemented by Microsoft Xbox Kinect for live 3D capture, and the GPU-accelerated Maxon Cinema 4D software for modeling, animation and rendering.
"With a CG-heavy project like this, we needed strong processing power and speed," explains Parvini. Dell Precision workstations with NVIDIA GPUs "take the graphics load off the core CPU" and provide "massive acceleration" that facilitates lightning-fast rendering, allowing complex 3D scenes to be rendered "in seconds instead of hours."
While Ghost Town Media has traditionally used non-workstation class hardware, says Parvini, as the company has gotten into heavier 3D effects they have found "a lot more horsepower" in GPU-accelerated platforms like Dell workstations with NVIDIA Quadro GPUs. "We're a small company and need extreme efficiency to hit project deadlines. Dell helps us save a lot of time, not to mention money; otherwise, we'd probably need to outsource complex renderings to international vendors."
"Ghost Town and I have had a great creative partnership through the years. We have been able to come up with elegant creative solutions on the cusp of the digital graphics frontier that is constantly changing. Dell and NVIDIA have armed us with more firepower to create at a much higher rate," said Joe Hahn, Linkin Park. "Often times, rendering shots are like watching paint dry but Dell workstations have enabled us to work at a faster pace and give us wings to be much more creative."
The making-of video, with a behind the scenes glimpse at the technology and workflow used to create the video, is available at www.dell.com/linkinpark. To view the full music video below: