Deadline Helps Milk VFX Scale Up Production

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For BAFTA 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. Founded in 2013, the innovative London-based visual effects company recently added a second studio in Cardiff, Wales. Known for its work across feature films and television, Milk credits include "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell," "Doctor Who," "Thunderbirds Are Go," "The Divergent Series: Insurgent" and "Poltergeist" (2015). With a capacity of 120 artist seats and a nearly 200 node render farm between its two facilities, Milk relies on Thinkbox Software's Deadline for scalable high-volume compute management across projects and locations. 

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“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.” 

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 also helps Milk bridge its two locations and be ready to 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 is awesome. They’re available when you need them and go to great lengths to take care of their customers.” 

About Thinkbox Software

Founded by Chris Bond in 2010, Thinkbox Software develops production-proven tools for visual artists and backs each product with highly responsive support. Used across entertainment, engineering and design, Thinkbox’s products include Deadline high-volume data management software used to render or process files and several other artist-driven software tools to create, visualize and modify datasets for visual effects, animation and digital simulations. For more information, visit www.thinkboxsoftware.com or follow @thinkboxsoft on Twitter.

About Milk Visual Effects

Milk is an independent, boutique visual effects company with studios in London and Cardiff. We create innovative and complex sequences for high-end television and feature films. 

Founded by award-winning VFX Supervisors and Producers in June 2013, the team has created visual effects for Jonathan Strange& Mr Norrell, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Thunderbirds Are Go, 24: Live Another Day, David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3DandIce Age Giants on television, and for feature films including The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Ex-Machina, Poltergeist, Brett Ratner’s Hercules, Snow White and the Huntsman, Les Miserables, Dredd 3Dand 47 Ronin. We have recently completed work on director Ben Wheatley’sforthcoming feature filmHigh-Rise(Recorded Picture Company) and the BBC and Hartswood’s Sherlock special episode.

We are proud to have won two BAFTA TV Craft Awards for our work on the BBC’s Doctor Who.

Milk is located in Fitzrovia and Cardiff Bay and has the capacity for 120 artist seats.

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