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Illumination Entertainment Manages Rapid Growth in Their Video Workflow

The bigger the production success, the bigger the workflow challenge.

That’s a key lesson learned from the happy success of Illumination Entertainment with its blockbuster movie franchise, Despicable Me.

In 2011, Universal Pictures acquired the animation division of French visual effects studio Mac Guff Ligne and formed Illumination Mac Guff to work exclusively on Illumination Entertainment’s fully CG movies. Meantime, creative unit Illumination Entertainment was quickly outgrowing its editorial infrastructure in direct correlation to the growing success of its Despicable Me franchise.

Part of the swell of challenges was a heightened need for an increase in production capacity, combined with a need for shared resources at the company. Additional edit bays were required, and there was a greater need for editors to be able to quickly swap in and out of the review suite for dailies.                                 

Illumination Entertainment set out to find a solution that would allow the editor to utilize their own system for reviews while also enabling them to switch between workstations and editing resources as easily as possible.

Prior to their growth in production, Illumination executives knew that the Avid systems had to remain in the data center. The new space identified for the editorial expansion was also in a separate location to the existing editorial space which necessitated looking at a digital KVM switching and extension solution.

Illumination Entertainment’s rack of equipment.

There were only a few players in the KVM space that could support dual displays. And there were still fewer that could support yet another display for playback paired with a simple and easy end-user interface.

The go-to source turned out to be Adder Technology, which could provide a solution for their existing workflow challenges and also position the company for future scalability and upgradability in production capacity.

Each workstation was outfitted with two AdderLink Infinity Dual, fanless, units. One unit serviced dual displays from the Avid, keyboard, mouse and audio, while the other unit outputted directly from the Avid software to a review monitor for playback review.

Now, editors can sit at any one of seven disparate locations and work on their own Avid system.  When they need to run dailies, they simply switch to their review suite system and/or push it to a different location.

Each editor is always working on and using their own version of Avid with their own presents and projects so there are no surprises when reviewing media. Editors are also now able to setup for dailies or a review session on their Avid systems in their current edit bay and then easily pull up that system in the review suite without interrupting any other sessions.

Because of the hardware and ubiquitous IP network the high performance KVM solution from Adder solution provided Illumination Entertainment with innovative ways to manage workflows and reconfigure infrastructure now, with a greater level of flexibility and scalability into the future.