Creating visual effects for motion pictures with Phil Holland

    When done well, visual effects are highly rewarding and can create a detailed world. To be able to do visual effects well, you need a workstation that can handle it.

    The Dell Precision Workstation and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 together have helped Holland create his visual effects right and smoothly.

    Visual effects empower you as a filmmaker

    Holland’s background as a high-res cinematographer started by working in visual effects. Working in the visual effects sector of the motion picture industry eventually helped Holland master working with high-resolution digital cinema cameras. According to Holland, the trick with high-resolution visual effects is you have to look at things a little bit harder. It may be tedious, but in the end, it is highly rewarding if the visual effects are done right.

    “I think having the familiarity with visual effects as a creative medium empowers you as a filmmaker,” Holland says.

    Visual effects allow filmmakers to add things that might be missing in a scene. Even if everything went well with a shoot, there could be small things that can be added or removed that really make a scene shine. For instance, after watching a scene so many times in post-production, you might notice a house could use more trees behind it, adding more visual balance to the scene.

    “Having that knowledge and ability to deploy that when necessary is a superpower …” Holland says. “Because you’re using it to enhance the immersion of what you are producing.”

    The problems with working on 8K visual effects

    One of the biggest hurdles when adding visual effects to 8K footage is the rendering time. When you have high-resolution images that you’re trying to fill its pixels with more accurate information, it will take longer to render. Holland has had to deal with a lot of slow render times in the past and it’s cost him precious time and money. While he’s waiting for his workstation to finish rendering, he could be working on other projects. Instead, he has to wait for his project to finish.

    “I started initially doing [high-resolution] work on a smaller workstation. That was sometimes a 30 to 40 hour render,” Holland says.

    The biggest impact that the Dell Precision Workstation and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 GPU has had on Holland’s workflow is the speed and capability they bring to the table. Holland says they allow him to work at a faster pace and deliver things quicker. That is very valuable when it comes to time and money.

    No more long rendering times

    Before Holland upgraded to the Dell Precision Workstation with NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000, render times would take ages. It would take his previous workstation 30 to 40 hour to render. Sitting and waiting for rendering to finish for that amount of time isn’t sufficient for any professional.

    With his new system, that work is being completed in a quarter of the time, according to Holland. He’s able to render shots that run as long as 16 minutes, in 16K with the speed he’s never had. He works with a lot of elements in 16-bit uncompressed space and pushes a ton of data with color precision; He can’t be waiting around for his projects to finish rendering.

    Holland is currently working on a project that requires stitching high-resolution footage together, and there are some pretty severe render times. Holland believes it is really important he has a capable workstation in this line of work.

    “I think it is very cut and dry when it comes to visual effects and high-resolution imagery,” Holland says. “You need a more powerful workstation and a more powerful GPU. And the Dell Precision Workstation and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 really do help speed things up and get you there sooner.”

    This article was sponsored by Dell and NVIDIA.

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