Aardman Animation and CalDigit workflow


Paul Reeves, Technical Engineer – Aardman Animation:

“We originally bought two CalDigit 3TB VR external hard drives back in 2010 to use with two camera crews who went off shooting live action segments around the world for a production we were working on called ‘Wallace and Gromits World Of Invention’. These drives went to North and South America, Europe, Israel, Kenya, and the far east. They were used to offload all of the camera cards, and then as media drives for two portable edit laptops that were also sent with the crews. All using firewire 800 interface, and set in RAID 1 mode. For failure we bought a spare 1.5TB dive module, but have never needed to use it.”

“After that job they became stock hard drives, and were used as general transfer drives, and then when extra projects came in they were used as specific media drives for those projects.

Over the last few years, a lot of our other brand drives have failed both on their interface boards, and the spinning discs inside, and we have disposed of then, because we have been able to rely on the CalDigits and also moved a lot of general file transfers over to file servers.
The drives have been used now as the DIT drives when I work on our live action parts of shooting our commercials. In 2011 we got a Guinness world record for shooting the largest canvas animation on Pendine beach in South Wales (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fza5QdTfyxs). The drives were used to off load both camera boxes, and then on the return journey I separated out the drives from the enclosures so from the RAID 1 there were four copies of the data in separated vehicles returning to Bristol.”
“Separately last year we also purchased a CalDigit FASTA-6GU3 to add to a PC in our Edit department to enable high speed USB 3.0 and e-SATA drives from external production houses to be connected to, and then quickly transfer our content across to their drives.Now our two VR2s live specifically as fast on-set DIT media drives to transfer original and transcoded footage from our studios to our Edit suites at the end of a shooting day.”

2 responses to Aardman Animation and CalDigit workflow

  1. Eva

    I have always had an ineterst in stop-motion animation. I have made a few short videos for school work, and I learned that it is very hard to make even a simple movie. I can’t even imagine how hard it was for the directors to film Gulp and Dot . The fact that it was filmed on a Nokia N8 phone from very high up is astounding! When I first saw Gulp I thought that it was animated, but when I saw behind the scenes of it, I realized that it was done at a beach in the sand! It must have been very hard for the creators to draw the waves scenes in the sand, without it getting washed away by a wave. It takes serious skill and patience to film it one clip at a time. The shark that was drawn in the sand was amazing. It must have taken the crew hours just to make the drawling. So, if it washed away, they would have to start over again. It startles me that for every scene they would have to erase their whole drawing, and they had to draw a different design in the sand. Dot is also an amazing stop-motion animation film. I was mind blown when I heard that it was made out of very small items, and had to be filmed out of a microscope to see them! It must have been very nerve wracking for the creators to move the pieces so carefully for each frame. If it were me making it, I probably would have lost my mind trying to move the props perfectly. It looked like something out of a cartoon movie, it almost looked like it was just an animated film, and not a stop-motion animation video. The girl looks like she is actually running through all different kinds of terrains to get away from a black hole. It is crazy how incredibly talented the directors and creators of both Dot and Gulp are!Congratulations to the directors Ed and Will for their amazing work, and I think they definitely deserve to hold the record for both The largest stop-motion animation set (for Gulp ), and the smallest stop-motion animation film ever (for Dot )!

    • EP Post Author

      Well done on your work Eva, keep going. Maybe you should contact Aardman Animation.

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