Visual effects firm chooses Dell gear for Montreal office

Framestore, the United Kingdom-based company behind the stunning visual effects seen in recent hit movies such as Gravity, Iron Man 3 and Skyfall, is deploying workstations, servers and networking switches from Dell in its new Montreal office.

Steve MacPherson
Steve MacPherson

The office on Avenue de Gaspe in Montreal, is key to Framestore’s expansion into North America and computing solutions installed in the establishment will support current big-budget projects, said Steve MacPherson, chief technical officer of Framestore. There are some 150 artists, producers, software developers and engineers working in the office.

Framestore considered a number of other suppliers but ultimately chose Dell to provide the infrastructure equipment for the Montreal office because it was the company that could help Framestore outfit the office with the needed technology within the shortest time frame and provide the needed support.

“The office needed to be operational in less than 12 months because we have a number of significant upcoming projects,” said MacPherson.

Since opening last year, the Montreal office has grown rapidly enough to handle a third of Framestore’s U.K visual effects capacity. That number is expected to grow to a half in the near future.

“The post production industry has had some narrowing down of big suppliers and the same thing happened to people who use our services,” said MacPherson. “We chose Montreal because of the incredible pool of talent in the city and its R&D roots.”

“Many of the software we use like Soft Image and Maya of Autodesk came from Montreal,” he said.

He said part of the success of the project stems from the support Dell provided in terms of supply chain logistics, financing and technical support.

“Our entire machine room was commissioned with Dell’s participation – racks, cooling, storage and rendering – all this combined to make the planning process straightforward while the execution and delivery was both efficient and cost-effective.”

The equipment Dell provided includes:

  • Dell T3610 and T5610 workstations for day-to-day digital work such as image modeling, rigging, animation, lighting and composition
  • PowerEdge M610 and M620 Blade servers for photoreal rendering and advanced physics simulation
  • PowerEdge T610, T520 and R320 servers to deliver high availability remote access between Montreal and London teams
  • Dell Precision T5600 and T7600 workstations, Dell OptiPlex 990/980 and XPS 8700 desktops and Dell Ultra Sharp monitors
  • Dell Networking M6620 switches and Dell networking wireless solutions

“The T5610 is a world-class workstation that addresses the key requirements of demanding Tier One visual effects artists,” said MacPherson. “As we move forward into increasingly advanced levels of simulation and photorealism, having this power on the desktop presents a wealth of creative opportunities for our artist.”


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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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