NetApp | How DreamWorks Inspires Its Employees to be Data-Driven

How DreamWorks Inspires Its Employees to be Data-Driven

Data enables DreamWorks to push the boundaries of imagination and technology

Oct 22, 2018


To be data-driven, DreamWorks:

  • Allows storytellers and artists to focus on what matters most – ultimate creativity – by removing constraints on how they access, protect and store critical data
  • Dreams new realities with data that allows DreamWorks to augment reality and create immersive experiences within worlds we could not otherwise possibly imagine
  • Innovates with technology that leverage performance and predictive analytics, so creators can access the right data in the right place at the right time, make the best real-time decisions, and fail fast when needed.
  • Empowers production workflows to optimize and leverage a massive amount of content creation data across multiple, simultaneous productions
  • Maximizes creative development to ensure on-demand availability of filmmaking data for artists’ creation, iterations and reviews
  • Streamlines operations to simplify and automate infrastructure architectures to maximize production uptime

For DreamWorks Animation employees, called DreamWorkers, data lies at the heart of their creative culture. Every process, every person and every pixel that DreamWorks creates, touches or uses requires data.

“It’s absolutely crazy the amount of data that’s connected to these films,” said Kate Swanborg, senior vice president of technology, communications and strategic alliances at DreamWorks. “When you think of it, our movies are about 90 minutes long and they run at 24 frames a second. So, that’s 130,000 frames. Every single one of those frames has thousands and thousands of unique assets and elements, and every character has thousands and thousands of animation control points.” She continued, “When you put that all together, by the time we’re done making just one movie we’ve crafted half a billion digital files.”

The key for DreamWorks is not only managing that data but leveraging it and ensuring it is available on demand all the time. This allows artists to collaborate effortlessly with the directors and producers, ensuring their imaginations are being realized. “The fact of the matter is, these films are made up of so much data that technology is our artist’s paintbrush,” said Swanborg.

Creative professionals often see data as a creativity-killer, but at DreamWorks it is transformative. DreamWorks exists to tell great stories that inspire audiences to dream and laugh together, pushing the boundaries of both imagination and technology. The key for DreamWorks is its data-driven creative culture embraced by its DreamWorkers, the company’s artists, engineers and everyone in between.

DreamWorkers are data-driven. Behind every masterfully created pixel, there is a universe of data that artists use to bring us together, make us laugh, and inspire us with one-of-a-kind experiences. “We work right at the cutting edge, said Simon Otto, head of character animation on How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, “We get new chances to do something different, something faster, to pack more data into it… We get to create images that feels like something we’ve not seen done like this before.”

DreamWorks partnered with NetApp to ensure its next-generation digital storytellers could quickly and easily access the vast amounts of distributed, dynamic and diverse sets of data necessary to bring characters, worlds and emotions to life. Because of this business-oriented approach to data, DreamWorks has transformed the way it does business, gained new efficiencies and freed its artists and engineers to innovate.

Today, DreamWorks can move, manage and protect data, as well as offer its storytellers access to it to create new cinematic experiences that do not exist in the world today, engaging audiences both inside and far beyond theater walls.



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