4K/UHD Challenge for Animated Movies

The most discussed topic about 4k/UHD technology is the very limited availability of native 4k/UHD content. While studios are working on changing their acquisition process to 4k, the rest of the workflow is still dominated by 2k/FHD solutions. For the most part content is still produced in 2k/FHD.

Whoever thought that animated movies would be a logical solution to create 4k/UHD content quickly by just rendering the content in 4k, will have to think again. In a recent interview with the BBC, Bruno Mahe, technical head of Illuminated Mac Guff, stated that studios for making animated movies have an issue with the higher resolution combined with higher frame rates.

Illuminated Mac Guff is known for its blockbuster movies Despicable Me (1 + 2), The Lorax and the upcoming Minions movie. Bruno Mahe explained that in recent years the amount of computer processing power needed to render an animated movie has increased considerably, as has the storage requirements.

In 2007 the movie Dragon Hunters required 12 terabytes of memory during peak use, while Despicable Me required 680 terabytes. If the same movie was rendered in 4k and 48 fps, the computer requirements would increase by a factor of 2.5. As stated in the interview, Mahe believes that this is not just achievable by increasing the computer power by that amount. To be clear what Mahe means, we have to understand that Illuminated is using 20,000 computers in a render farm to complete the rendering. Even with this computing power the rendering is the most time consuming process in making an animated movie. He believes that the industry has to become smarter in making this kind of movies instead of throwing more money and processing power at it. With decreasing flash memory costs and increasing processing power, it may just be a question of time before this becomes a non-issue.

Display Daily Comments

I guess Minions in UHD is out of the question for now. (NH)