Weta Digital’s Lord of the Rings triumph was the trump card in Outsource2NewZealand’s launch in London last week.
Weta technology boss Scott Houston described the prodigious processing power that was needed to render images for Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy during the closing end-user session at Gartner’s outsourcing conference. By the end of the movies’ production, Weta had deployed 3200 processors and created 500TB of data.
Houston showed footage of the final movie as it was still in the making, demonstrating how digital effects were merged with live acting.
Gartner’s Roger Cox called the undertaking an example of business process outsourcing. But Houston conceded that he wasn’t quite sure what the outsourcing angle on the story was. He did, however, say that apart from the conference appearance, he had another motive for travelling to London.
That was to drum up interest among supercomputer users in hiring Weta’s spare processing capacity, which amounts to 1000 processors hosted by Telecom in a computer room in central Wellington, connected to Weta’s Miramar facility by a 10Gbit/s link.
Houston says Weta Digital isn’t a member of Outsource2NewZealand, since its work is confined to movie production, but supports its goals.
ITANZ head Jim O’Neill, a prime mover of the initiative, was more than satisfied with the reception Outsource2NewZealand’s launch received. Interest at its conference booth was strong, including from the Bank of Ireland, whose home Gartner says has recently lost favour as a place to outsource to as costs there have risen.
O’Neill was interviewed by BBC television and radio and mainstream and computer publications.
He says turning that interest into business is the next stage, for which further funding will be sought to create an Outsource2NewZealand organisation. Its key initial role will be to work out a structure for sharing work among members, who so far number about 24.