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NEWS MANIPULATE & EDIT The revelation that a Soho VFX house is outsourcing all of its production IT requirements caught the eye this month. As you can see in the news story below, Absolute is now using ERA to manage all of its systems. So the story goes, the management wanted to continue to expand but were mindful of the need to “efficiently manage new, bandwidth-hungry technology as well as significant demands on power, cooling and connectivity.” For Absolute, the benefits of this move are said to be manifold: saving money on the cost of power and cooling, as well as office space, support and management. And in expensive Soho, that is a big concern. The chosen route was to move all of its production IT infrastructure to ERA’s datacentre. This includes storage - based on PixitMedia PixStor - plus workstations, rendering and Cisco networking. ERA will now assume responsibility for connectivity and performance, provide remote access to hardware via direct dark fibre connection and support it all. There is also the plus of moving from Capex to Opex expenditure. But really it is the ability to handle a growing amount of work, or the potential to be expanded in order to accommodate that growth, that seems to have been the persuading factor. “The financial benefits of this are obvious,” said Dan Bennett, Absolute’s MD. “But what was key to us engaging in this solution was the scalability and flexibility it offers our business. We can be scalable on a level that is unprecedented in the visual effects industry.” From an industry perspective it shows that post-production is really starting to believe in the use of services when it comes to core production IT. Sean Baker, commercial director of ERA, adds: “Absolute has embraced the opportunities it offers to make it more adaptive and competitive - from reduced latency, increased efficiency to scalability.” It’s a bold move but one that, if it pays off, will continue a trend for outsourcing that shows no sign of abating. Visualisation Loudness RTW has announced that its Touchmonitor instruments, its flagship SurroundControl 31900 and 31960 series and all associated software products that perform loudness measurements now support the EBU’s updated R128 specification. The additional spec relates to levels during short-form content, with the standard now having been simplified. In the earlier version users could use either a maximum momentary or a maximum short-term loudness measurement as a parameter to characterize and control the loudness of commercials, promos, etc.; in the new version only the short-term measurement is required. 16 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 110 FEBRUARY 2016 PowerProduction Software has announced a new version of StoryBoard Artist, the digital and animatic storyboard creation tool. Version 7 has improved 3D capabilities, adds an unlimited number of character poses, includes advanced motion graphics, and integrates with StoryBoard mobile apps for pre-vis creation across devices. “StoryBoard Artist Version 7 gives you the simplicity and speed of working in 2D environments with all the flexibility you want when creating a 3D representation of your vision. It’s really the best of both worlds,” said Paul Clatworthy, creative director at PowerProduction. “Artist 7 eliminates the time and learning curve that comes with creating an entire 3D world. Users can tweak characters in 3D just as if they were directing actors.”