Growing a Small VFX Studio: El Ranchito Sees Instant Performance Transformation with Avere Deployment

Based in Madrid, boutique Spanish visual effects studio El Ranchito is a small but mighty force. Despite its small stature, the VFX studio has proven itself as a creative giant, crafting visual masterpieces for film and TV greats such as The Expendables 2, The Impossible, The Knick and Boardwalk Empire. With exciting new projects in sight, El Ranchito knew it needed to enhance its current IT infrastructure to meet high demand and tight production schedules, completing new projects that rival those of much larger studios.

FACING THE PROBLEM

Tasked with creating top quality visual effects for the much anticipated television series Game of Thrones Season 6 and A Monster Calls, a 2016 fantasy drama film, El Ranchito’s current storage infrastructure required urgent attention. With storage latency issues grinding production to a halt, the studio was looking for a performance focused solution to fix the problem. Fran Andreo, IT Manager of El Ranchito said “It was not possible for the artists to work, it was a nightmare. With latency mainly due to the sluggish render farm performance, the artists couldn’t work as the files were just not available fast enough for them.”

With a combination of permanent and freelance artists, the studio needed  to increase the number of artists to work on Game of Thrones Season 6 in order to hit the project deadlines, but could not add more artists due to the constraints of its existing infrastructure.

A CLEAR SOLUTION

El Ranchito chose the Avere FXT Edge filer due to its ability to drastically improve storage performance as well as its proven track record in providing storage solutions for the media and entertainment sector. El Ranchito moved a significant amount of TBs in its storage from Windows servers to new Linux servers. A cluster of Avere FXT nodes was attached, serving the hot, active files to the artists. Spanish reseller Trigital managed this architectural transition and helped the company to move to an optimized storage platform with Avere.

INSTANT BENEFITS

El Ranchito now depends upon the Avere Edge filer cluster to eliminate project-crippling latency issues. Andreo quickly recognized the various business benefits, including increased render capability  -- with a large number of additional render nodes added -- and the subsequent ability to employ more artists and win larger projects. He said, “With Avere, we can have all artists we need because the infrastructure is stable and fast. Before Avere, we couldn’t realistically support all the artists we needed.”

“Avere really did save the day when latency was crippling production. Thanks to Avere, El Ranchito is now able to grow beyond the restrictions of our old storage infrastructure. El Ranchito is in a very good position, with a reliable and scalable environment able to handle bigger and more demanding projects. As a small VFX studio, we can now compete with the big players and produce top quality visuals with no delays in production. The Avere solution is an amazing tool to work with and has unlocked our company’s full potential,” continued Andreo.

Ron Bianchini, President and CEO of Avere Systems said, “With a growing international roster of customers in the media and entertainment sector, Avere is delighted to now be working with a Spanish studio creating fantastic visual effects, with our technology transforming the way the company is running and its position amongst global competitors. Avere is proud to be El Ranchito’s enabler to expand its business with more new projects and more artists.”  

Mariano Gismero, Storage and IT Manager, of Spanish reseller Trigital said “As a reseller specializing in solutions for broadcast, VFX and animation, Trigital supports its customers with solutions that achieve their specific objectives for production. With El Ranchito and Avere we’re ensuring a smooth transition to new storage that meets the studio’s needs for performance when rendering.” 

About El Ranchito

El Ranchito is a visual effects and digital postproduction company working mainly for the film and advertising industry. A group of professionals with extensive experience in the audiovisual field has dealt with the postproduction of more than 40 feature films and a great number of commercials. They have won a number of national and international awards, amongst them, three Visual Effects Society (VES) Award, nine Goya Awards and eight Goya Awards Nominations of the Spanish Film Academy.

At El Ranchito two fundamental premises are followed: teamwork and the specialization of each team member in a particular area of the process. El Ranchito is present in every phase of a project: from preproduction, over the shooting and the later selection of the most suitable staff for each postproduction phase. They are privileged to have: top level visual effects supervisors, 2D digital compositors working with Flame and Nuke, 3D artists, R+D team, specialized editors and digital color graders. (www.elranchito.es)