the Cream of the crop
Milk VFX Dominates 2016 Awards Season with Help From Deadline
At award-winning boutique studio Milk Visual Effects, a regular day at the office can entail anything from blowing up buildings to giving life to the supernatural.
Since its inception in 2013, the innovative studio has increasingly been recognized for its work across features and television. In 2016, Milk took home an Academy Award for “Ex Machina” VFX and a BAFTA Award for VFX on “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” – the studio’s third consecutive BAFTA win, having won in 2014 and 2015 for VFX on “Dr. Who,” which also earned a nod in 2016. Additionally, Milk received a 2016 Emmy Award for its supporting VFX work on BBC television series “Sherlock.”
The mid-sized studio regularly delivers exemplary work in part due to a well-architected pipeline that relies on Thinkbox Software’s Deadline to efficiently manage compute resources and various tasks between its two facilities in London and Cardiff, Wales.
"We’re continually evolving and taking on new jobs with specific needs, so it is important that we have a solution that scales"
“Choosing the right tool to manage our render farm was a key decision in forming Milk, so we looked at all our options and ultimately found that Deadline best suited our needs,” explained Milk Head of Systems Dave Goodbourn. “We’d all used the software before and loved it; Thinkbox takes its development very seriously and they’ve created a really amazing product that you can trust. We essentially formed our studio pipeline around Deadline.”
bread and butter
Whether creating massive crowds or complex simulations, every Milk artist uses Deadline on a daily basis, even if they might not realize it. “We process a ton of data through Deadline across a lot of different applications like Nuke and Maya, and we’re always looking for more to add. From caching animation to creating slap comps, converting frames and transcoding, we pass it all through Deadline so our artists don’t have to spend time waiting for commands to execute,” shared Milk Head of Pipeline Benoit Leveau.
“Deadline accommodates more than enough nodes; we never have to worry about overtaxing our pipeline"
Deadline also helps Milk bridge its two locations and spool up additional resources in the cloud at a moment’s notice. With machines in London and Cardiff, Deadline not only links the local farms to form a single, unified workflow but can also extend to cloud platforms for added processing power, with all components seamlessly integrated. This flexibility enables Milk to leverage any combination of physical resources, both on and off-site, and cloud resources as one cohesive farm that can easily grow to meet production demands.
“We’re continually evolving and taking on new jobs with specific needs, so it is important that we have a solution that scales. Deadline accommodates more than enough nodes; we never have to worry about overtaxing our pipeline,” Goodbourn said.
Concluded Leveau, “Deadline allows our teams to work fast and efficiently across locations. And, if we run into any issues, Thinkbox’s support team is awesome. They’re available when you need them and go to great lengths to take care of their customers.”