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Program 2019

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Amazon Web Services AWS

Cloud Rendering Pipelines for Real-World Production

Benoit Leveau (Milk VFX), Jason Nicholas (Passion Pictures), Mike Owen (Amazon Web Services AWS), Sam Reid (Untold Studios)

Media & Entertainment customers continue to develop sophisticated hybrid (on-premises to cloud) rendering as well as supply chain pipelines. Companies have leveraged cloud compute elasticity and economies of scale to deliver projects on time and under budget. What if you could solve the ever-growing challenge of data/content synchronization, or the continued maintenance of an aging physical footprint of graphics desktop infrastructure? Traditionally, companies requiring high-quality graphics desktops for their users have been forced to invest heavily with on-premises infrastructure. Imagine being able to scale on-demand 'graphics and video editing' users running their applications on the cloud just like your rendering needs. Studios could hire the best talent, regardless of location or time zone, while streaming secure pixels to a user's desktop, or extend your current studio pipeline to be cloud-enabled for the ever-looming render bottleneck and customer deadline?

With the help of our guest panel, we will cover several post-production pipelines that are currently being used to produce some of the most popular, award-winning content for the big and small screen. Customers will discuss in detail their own choices they made in building their Amazon Web Services enabled pipeline for hybrid burst cloud compute as well as a cloud-first studio model where there is no storage, workstations or compute on-premises. A must-see discussion panel session that shows studio owners, VFX supervisors, Pipeline TDs and IT engineers how you can take advantage of the cloud for your next project. Learn how AWS and its partners are helping studios leverage cloud elasticity and economies of scale to deliver projects on time and under budget across the globe.

Moderator: Mike Owen
Panel: Benoit Leveau, Head of Pipeline & Systems Milk VFX; Jason Nicholas, Head of CG, Passion
Pictures; Sam Reid, Head of Technology Untold Studios

Benoit Leveau

Benoit Leveau , Head of Pipeline & Systems, Milk VFX, www.milk-vfx.com

Benoit Leveau is Head of Pipeline and Systems at Academy and BAFTA award winning Milk. Benoit joined Milk in August 2013 and oversees and all technical aspects of Milk’s studio facilities and pipeline. Milk creates visual effects for both high end TV and feature films such as Adrift; Annihilation; Kingsman: The Golden Circle; Altered Carbon (Netflix); Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (Warner Bros.); Origin (YouTube Premium) and Sherlock (BBC/Hartswood).

 Benoit was instrumental in creating a groundbreaking Cloud rendering solution to process almost 80 million frames in just 10 weeks. This enabled Milk to create large-scale CG dinosaurs and their environment for UK special venue theatrical project ‘Dinosaurs In the Wild’. Since then he has overseen the upgrade of Milk’s pipeline to a completely cloud-based rendering solution, which was used on feature film Adrift; YouTube’s new sci-fi thriller Origin, and Amazon/BBC’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s much anticipated Good Omens.

 Benoit’s work was recognized at Autodesk’s Shotgun Pipeline Awards, held at Siggraph in 2015 for the creation of a ‘Smart publishing tool’ for Shotgun. Before joining Milk, Benoit was 3D Pipeline Lead Developer at Prime Focus for three years. He worked on the launch of Prime Focus Film London, helping to design and build the VFX pipeline from scratch as well as the 3D tools and libraries required by productions including Dredd 3D, Mirror, Mirror, Total Recall, The Great Gatsby, and White House Down. During his time at Prime Focus Benoit also set up the company’s VFX pipelines, in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India.

 Prior to this Benoit spent a year as Software Engineer at MPC, London where he coordinated the migration of the entire MPC software stack (300+ projects) to a new linux architecture/Maya version/Python version. Following an internship at Sony’s R&D facility in Tokyo, Benoit began his visual effects career as a C++ Developer at Paris-based software company e-on software, where he spent five years overseeing their Vue xStream product - an integration plugin for 3ds Max, Cinema4D, LightWave, Maya and XSI. Benoit hails from the Champagne region of France and is a graduate of Télécom ParisTech, one of France’s leading engineering schools, where he specialized in Image Synthesis, Digital Television and Image Processing.

Jason Nicholas

Jason Nicholas , Head of CG, Passion Pictures, www.passion-pictures.com

Jason Nicholas is Passion Animation Studio’s Head of CG. He runs the CG studio with a wealth of knowledge spanning an 18-year career. He has grown the studio from a four person, 2D focused team into a comprehensive animation studio covering traditional 2D, motion graphics, stop motion and CG. Collaborating with more than 80 artists worldwide, Jason has developed Passion’s studio team into a diverse and enviable talent hub.  

As Head of CG, Jason plays a key part in all of Passion’s iconic works. From the ground-breaking music videos for virtual band ‘Gorillaz’,  to Nike’s blockbuster animated short for the Fifa World Cup, ‘The Last Game’. Jason’s commitment to ensuring the studio is always at the cutting edge of new technology goes hand in hand with Passion’s storytelling, resulting in consistently award winning animation content. The studio is constantly evolving to respond to the changing landscape in the animation production industry. 

Passion Pictures is an independent creative studio, delivering content for TV, film, documentaries and interactive spaces, with studios in London, Paris Melbourne and Barcelona.

Mike Owen

Mike Owen , Sr. Solutions Architect, AWS Thinkbox, Amazon Web Services AWS, www.thinkboxsoftware.com

Mike Owen is an experienced Solutions Architect at AWS Thinkbox with over 20 years’ experience, primarily working on visual effects architectures in the Media and Entertainment sector. His high-performance computing background helps clients make efficient use of AWS for compute and storage workloads. Previously, Mike was a customer and developer on Thinkbox’s flagship product, Deadline - a highly, distributed compute management platform. Mike spends much of his time capturing client feedback, designing and implementing VFX architectures in AWS and road-mapping new features for future versions of Deadline and AWS services. I regularly present at a number of events including NAB, Siggraph, IBC, AWS re:Invent and industry summits. Prior to AWS & Thinkbox, Mike was CTO, managing the pipeline, infrastructure and engineering teams at award winning automotive digital agency, Burrows, across its 4 offices. Mike has 20 years commercial VFX/IT experience, specializing in automotive visualization on behalf of the Ford Motor Company. Mike holds multiple awards for both creative and software development work and resides on the advisory board on several technology companies.

Sam Reid

Sam Reid , Head of Technology, Untold Studios, untoldstudios.tv

Sam Reid, Head of Technology at Untold Studios, is responsible for their innovative and forward thinking approach to how a modern studio should run. Hosted completely in AWS, Untold Studios is the first creative studio to be 100% cloud based, with their storage, render and workstations taking advantage of unrivalled scalability and performance.

FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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