Eclipse Tech’s Jeff Olm, Color Grades
Entire Feature Film In Cloud
Jeff Olm is an EclipseTech employee with more than 30 years experience as a VFX artist and colorist in the Hollywood film industry. As a subject matter expert, Jeff is continually working to guide and shape the virtual workstation solution. In addition to his work at Eclipse Tech, Jeff also uses virtual workstation products in his day to day work as an active colorist.The following article highlights one of Jeff’s recently completed projects using the Eclipse Tech virtual machine solution.
Jeff Olm, Eclipse Tech’s Director of Cloud Solutions, recently completed color grading an entire feature film using the Eclipse Tech virtual machine solution. The film titled 18Khz is a 1990’s period piece set in Eastern Europe, and features young people who are working to overcome the challenges of their teen years. The feature is directed by award winning filmmaker Farkhat Sharipov, and produced by Dina Kozhakhmetova.
In March 2020, Olm was scheduled to travel to Kazakhstan to work with the creative team on the film. However, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions on travel, Olm was no longer able to complete the project on-site. Rather than delay production, Olm was able to use the Eclipse Tech platform to quickly transition to remote work from his home office in Wisconsin. This allowed him to continue to collaborate with the creative team in Kazakhstan.
The entire film was color graded in the cloud on an Eclipse Tech virtual workstation with Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 16 Studio using a color calibrated monitor locally. Olm also used Emmy Award Winning, Teradici PCoIP® technology for connectivity, which provided high performance remote connectivity at 4k resolution (30 frames per second). Teradici PCoIP helps boost heavy graphics applications by consolidating graphics workstations alongside existing cloud storage and render farms. It also conforms with MPA (Motion Picture Association) best practices and other data compliance standards.
To complete the project 10TB of original 8k Red footage was transferred from Yandex.com to an AWS S3 storage bucket. From there, the original camera data was conformed in DaVinci Resolve from an .xml file. Olm and Sharipov found that using the Eclipse Tech platform not only solved the problem of distance, but also saved time and cut costs.
One benefit of working in the cloud was the ability to transfer data at high speeds. DaVinci Resolve allowed the colorist to output an .edl file of any shots that were missing. This is where working in the cloud really made a difference. Olm and Sharipov were able to transfer any missing shots at high transfer rates, multi-gigabit in most cases. (When not working in the cloud, these large data files would need to be transferred to the artists local workstation. This can be very time consuming since most artists are not sitting behind a multi-gigabit internet connection).
Olm said, “Using DaVinci Resolve on a virtual machine with Nvidia Tesla T4 GPU was very fluid. Also, moving data from one cloud provider (yandex.com) to another (eclipsetech.co) allowed us to transfer at multi-gig speeds.” The assistant editor was able to post the additional shots via their 1 gigabit connection, and Olm was able to download the shots from Yandex at transfer rates of around 5 gbps for the 8k footage.
The ability to choose a CPU and RAM configuration with NVidia Tesla 4 GPU on a cloud-based virtual machine was a great feature. Eclipse Tech’s easy-to-use set up made getting started simple and fast. Depending on the tasks needed for the day, Olm could configure the virtual machine’s CPU and RAM accordingly. The source and rendered material always played in real time on the storage, which Olm found to be very beneficial while using the virtual machine solution.
Sharipov was very impressed with not only the quality of work he and Olm were able to do in the cloud, but also found that working in the cloud saved both time and money. Olm and Sharipov were able to eliminate travel costs, as well as the expense of shipping data drives back and forth internationally. Sharipov said, “My last three films I was blessed to work with Jeff. On our first film together we worked live and it was a great experience. The last film we worked remotely and the quality of the work did not suffer and it works out better financially. Jeff is a great professional, who feels the dramaturgy of the story and helps us to express it with color. During our work together I felt that he understands fully what I want from each scene and therefore we don’t have any trouble working online. I am deeply grateful to my friend Jeff for his fine work and can’t wait to work on our next project together.”
18Khz is the third project Jeff has worked on with Shirapov. Their project, The Secret of a Leader, made the nomination lists for the 2020 Golden Globe Awards and won Best Film at the Moscow 2019 Film Festival. While the pandemic forced Olm and Sharipov to work remotely on this particular film, Olm says they will likely consider using the Eclipse Tech solution for their next project because of the advantages the remote set up offered.
Farhat Sharipov is a talented director who has over 15 experience in the industry. Sharipov graduated from Kazakh National Academy of Arts and the New York Film Academy, at the EurasiaInternational Film Festival he received the Kulager award – “Director of the year” and is considered one of the finest directors in Eurasia. http://eastwind.kz/farkhat-sharipov/
Jeff Olm has been on the cutting edge of multimedia, VR/AR, television, theatrical and electronic presentation technology, for over 25 years Jeff has worked on a number of Academy award-nominated and award-winning movies such as: Titanic, The Fifth Element, Minority Report, Armageddon, Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Revenant, and Spiderman.