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Drive Studios Accelerates Renders with Thinkbox Software’s Deadline

Founded by Creative Director Rich Lee and Executive Producer Justin Diener, boutique VFX studio Drive Studios handles a diverse array of projects. Its credits range from a three-part film for Comedy Central to commercials for Ford and HTC, music videos for Maroon 5 and Lana del Rey, and graphic design. Upon establishing the Los Angeles-based outfit in 2016, Lee and Diener built up the studio’s infrastructure slowly, carefully considering workflow decisions and out-of-the-box solutions. Toward the end of the year, Drive added Thinkbox Software’s Deadline compute management software to its pipeline to manage the studio’s on premise render farm and workstations.

“We’re a small company and Deadline is such a professional tool that it felt a little overwhelming in terms of setup, but after less than half a day, we understood how it works, and it’s hard to believe we ever got by without it. Deadline has made everything easier and allows us to focus on the creative and not get bogged down in technical details,” shared Lee.

Drive assembles a team with talents that suit each particular project, which allows the studio to remain nimble, adapt their pipelines and punch above their weight. Tools like Deadline extend Drive’s capacity for higher end and higher volume work. With skillset prioritized over software preference, Drive artists are able to work in the creative application of their choice.

“Deadline has made us more efficient because of how easy it is to launch and distribute a render. If there is a problem with a file, we can easily pause and fix it, or if a box goes down, the other computers pick up the slack. Once you set it up, Deadline just works and it’s awesome. And most of our artists are already familiar with it, which is great,” Diener said.

Without dedicated pipeline staff, Deadline’s plug-and-play functionality has been greatly appreciated by Drive. Lee explained, “We gravitate towards software that works out of the gate, and you don’t necessarily have to dig around under the hood. Deadline already comes with so many great features like data tracking; we can reference historical render times and use that information to optimize our farm’s performance for new jobs. It also seamlessly manages all of our dedicated and workstation resources, and we’ve recently added a few GPU cards to the mix, which have been performing beyond our expectations.”