At this exciting point in the evolution of incredible films, Guy is using Mediaflux to make the first commercial asset management system for Computer Graphics. The goal is to create new technological advancements to use data to tell more appealing stories.
Having spent 25 years of working in Visual Effects (VFX) and Animation for the film industry, Guy has been working on iconic films such as The Matrix, Happy Feet, The Lego Movie, Peter Rabbit and many more. Guy shares what inspired him to join the Arcitecta team, how Mediaflux will open new pathways to manage the petabytes of film data, and the huge opportunities that can be unlocked at the intersection of commerce and art.
Guy: Hi, I'm Guy Griffiths, Senior Vice President of Media and Entertainment at Arcitecta.
When I had the opportunity to reconnect with Jason and the team last year, I was fascinated to find out what they'd been up to, what the product does and the type of customers they've got, and the problems they're solving.
Arcitecta: How would you describe your background?
Guy: Before joining Arcitecta, I worked in the media and entertainment business for about 25 years, predominately in animation and visual effects. I worked on iconic films such as The Matrix, Happy Feet, Moulin Rouge, the Lego films, and Peter Rabbit. What's most interesting about that was the opportunity to work with some really creative people building technology to support them and to build the infrastructure and pipeline that helped a whole bunch of artists collaborate to bring us great films to the screen.
Arcitecta: What goes into the making of an animated feature film?
Guy: Most people don't really have any insight into what it takes to build a modern feature animation. Generally, you've got about 300 people working to 2 1/2 to 3 years, maybe longer. Out of that group, you've got different craft groups – modelers, animators, lighters – and the creative process is basically making variations of those models passing them from one artist to the next and the next day doing it over again. In the process of doing that, you generate thousands of components, millions of files. In some cases, I think 430 million files were created for a single project, which is maybe five petabytes of data. So creating an animated feature film involves lots of data moving around, and you have to build a toolset to do that because those tools are not available commercially.
One of the interesting things about what Arcitecta is doing is their solving problems similar to that scale and that's what fascinated me about it, this opportunity to take Arcitecta's Mediaflux platform to build the first commercial asset management system for these large scale pipelines, as well as smaller companies who were looking to ratchet up the creative capability to take on bigger projects. This is what I find extraordinarily exciting about Arcitecta.
Arcitecta: Can you tell us more about what excites you about Mediaflux?
Guy: Mediaflux has quite unique capabilities that I've not seen before in any commercial software. In fact, it's actually quite daunting to take those on as a task when you think about this way it handles file serving. The way Mediaflux manages files enables us to easily slot Mediaflux into existing pipelines and then from there build up with more sophisticated processes. Hopefully, in the future, this will give us the ability to do things that we could never do in feature animation previously with existing technology. For instance, when people save a file, we can fire off events directly from the filesystem and orchestrate other data movement offsite and onsite between studios. So there's a lot of untapped potential in what Mediaflux has already got the capability to do, and I'm pretty keen to get that into studios and really show them what we can do and how we can really support the creative process and produce some even better-looking films.
One of the other things that really interested me about Arcitecta and Jason's philosophies is the maker attitude, which is really interesting because what it means is that pretty much all the code that we have in Mediaflux has been written by the Arcitecta team. This means that when we come across a new class of problems, whether its performance or scalability or feature set then we know exactly what we need to modify to get there; and it's a quite a good ensemble of modules that are all built to work together in a performant way. As opposed to a traditional system where you might have a database server in one place, an application server in another and an event bus server elsewhere, which all need to move – Mediaflux is actually designed together. It's a very rich platform, I am staggered by the number of features in it and I am constantly learning new things and multiple ways of solving similar problems depending on the environment you're dropping it into.