THE MILL CHOOSES
Copyright 2002 www.tombraiderchronicles.com Source:
[ January 18th 2002 ]
the award winning visuals effects company behind
Black Hawk Down, the Ridley Scott film, has chosen
Foundry Networks' high-performance Gigabit Ethernet
switches and routers to increase network performance.
The company has moved away from an ATM-based network
to a Gigabit Ethernet solution enabling staff
involved in film and TV production to complete
work more quickly.
Hawk Down is the story of the longest sustained
firefight involving American troops since the
Vietnam War. The film recounts, with extensive
visuals effects developed by The Mill, how American
soldiers, dropped by helicopter in Somalia end
up fighting a long and ultimately bloody battle.
Brazier, The Mill's systems manager, explains
the background to the project, "We used an ATM
backbone for some four years with Cabletron and
Bay Ethernet switches when 100Mbps wasn't as common
as it today. But ATM is astronomically expensive
- the price per port is huge, along with heavy
maintenance and support costs. So, as the technology
landscape has changed with better price/performance
on offer, it made no sense to stay with ATM."
continues, "ATM was also causing huge bottlenecks
- we needed to increase network throughput so
that our people could get data out of our systems
faster thereby increasing their efficiency and
effectiveness. ATM couldn't cater to our needs
so it became obvious that we needed to change
and install Gigabit Ethernet between our servers
and select workstations."
with their reseller, Convergent Network Solutions
(CNS), and after a brief testing period, The Mill
installed Foundry's BigIron(R) 8000 Layer 3 switch
for use in the network core, along with the FastIron(R)
II chassis-based switch at the edge. The Mill
also purchased Foundry's stackable switching router,
the TurboIron(R) II, which offers Gigabit Ethernet
backbone routing. The Mill has a complex network
with some 200 desktop systems and files servers
attached including two Silicon Graphics Origin
2000 file servers and 60 Dell servers which form
a render farm where the production, (2D and 3D
modelling applications) run.
explains the reasons for choosing Foundry, "Initially,
CNS wanted to install Cisco, but we were impressed
by what we had heard about Foundry's switches
with their non-blocking architecture so we steered
CNS towards them. It's no doubt a reflection of
Foundry's excellent technology, but further to
their work with us, CNS has since become a Foundry
has therefore become The Mill's high-performance
network provider of choice with ongoing developments
planned to increase Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop
for certain applications as well as the capacity
of the Gigabit Ethernet backbone. This scalability
will be achieved as Foundry offers customers the
ability to swap and install new blades to their
switches as their business needs demand.
technology has been reliable from the first day
of installation and has enabled staff using 2D
modelling tools, Flame and Inferno(1), and Maya(2),
a 3D tool, to shift images around. Brazier explains,
"Operators using Flame and Inferno, for example,
move files from our servers, work on the images
on their workstations and then send them back.
It is this large file transfer which requires
leading network performance provided by Foundry."
Bobby Johnson, president & CEO, Foundry Networks
says, "I had the privilege of pre-screening Black
Hawk Down in December. I was truly impressed by
the innovation and imagination shown by The Mill
in making this film come to life supported by
our high-performance networking solutions. We
are delighted to contribute to this and the success
of The Mill by their use of our technology. Also,
we are pleased in regards to the contribution
that this film is making to the U.S. military
by bringing their story to the big screen."
in 1990, and based in Soho, London, Shepperton
Film Studios and Los Angeles, USA, The Mill provides
a range of technology-based creative facilities
to service the entertainment and advertising industries.
The breadth of award winning work offered by the
group ranges from model making, camera operation,
web animation, to sophisticated visual effects
on commercials and feature films.
group figurehead, The Mill specializes in high-end
commercials and music promos. The company has
built an impressive client-base of some of the
world's best directors and advertising agencies
who handle accounts such as Levi's, Pepsi, Guinness,
BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Film was founded in 1997 to bring The Mill's knowledge
of visual effects into the realm of feature film.
In 2001, Mill Film received an Academy Award Oscar
for the visual effects work in Ridley Scott's
Roman epic, Gladiator.
alone, Mill Film worked on high-profile films
such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Hannibal, Cats
and Dogs, Chocolat and the blockbuster Harry Potter
and The Sorcerer's Stone. The Mill also produces
innovative interactive web content for advertising
and entertainment as well as providing high-value,
high-quality visual effects for episodic television.