Get to know the VFX Technology team. Meet Sarote Tabcum Jr.

I have worked as a VFX Producer for music videos, commercials, and feature films. It is a very stressful but fulfilling job, and the experience has given me first-hand knowledge of exactly what a VFX Producer needs, helping me serve them better with VFX Technologies. Let me tell you why.

A VFX Producer has to deal with variables that can only be controlled up to a point. There are the client's concerns which are the result, the deadline, and the budget. Then there is the artist who tells you what he or she thinks they can and cannot do, and you have to get them on the same page as the client. The VFX Producer's challenge is to handle compromise, and the human aspect is the hardest to control.

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You can maintain control of your technical systems. If equipment is rock solid and running, this greatly minimizes stress for a VFX Producer. Once your hardware is in place, you can deal with the rest of the job – a lot of which has to do with pushing and pulling to get things done.

VFX Producers concentrate on getting projects in the door and finding the best talent. Making sure you have the right technology in place is also very important. There is no need for your hardware to be problematic. If you know what software you're using and have properly configured equipment, you will have no problems. At times the job grows so fast, you have to bring in more artists and gear. It's helpful to know the technical aspects of the systems and equipment. This way you can get what you need, and it will integrate into the workflow seamlessly.

The way things work out in our business, you are not going to know you need additional resources until the last minute. Scenarios like this are what inspired me to start VFX Technologies. Through my company, I can be a resource for VFX producers to come to for technical solutions unique to post-production workflows. I keep equipment readily available for when you need more capacity. My team stays up to date on emerging technologies and get a broad view of what challenges are happening in many different post facilities.

Being able to anticipate problems before they occur is helpful. For example, you have a team of 10 people for a project. Experience tells you that towards the end of it, when you need to deliver, you may need to ramp up to 50 people to finish the job. For 40 more people, you’ll need 40 workstations, a storage server to accommodate them and more bandwidth. Where can you get all of that equipment? Again this is the opportunity I saw which led me to create VFX Technologies.

As a technology provider, I see this happen all the time. Projects begin with lots of optimism that the budget and the schedule are well crafted. You’re weeks in, and you need more people, more gear, and, if you could, more time.

What I created is a place you can contact, and my company will deliver reliable hardware that's optimal for the project you're doing.  Like our many clients that rely on us to deploy quickly, our rapid response when you need us is my highest priority.

We can't wait. The new HP Z Workstations are coming.


Staying ahead by offering creative artists the best computers for their workflow is why VFX Technologies' list of clients is growing so fast.  We are excited to see that after three years, HP is introducing their new Z workstation lineup. 

We already have HP's high-end Z840 in our rental inventory. For Flame, Nuke, Premier, Avid, Resolve, and other applications vital to post artists, we load this powerhouse up with Dual CPUs, RAM, storage, GPUs that enable you to work at peak performance. 

The new HP Z lineup, wow are we impressed! The top-of-the-line Z8 has eye-popping specifications and capabilities, promising to be the world's most powerful workstation, ready to tackle the demands of top tier Media and Entertainment organizations.

You can read about the new HP Z8 here.

We have already notified HP Inc. we want these workstations as soon as they're available in October. We will stock our rental inventory so you can use one without a huge cash outlay. If you want to purchase one of the new HP Z series, please allow us to recommend the best configuration for you and provide a quote.

To be notified as soon as we have these inbound, send me an email.

-Jim Reisman

Hostiles Approaching, Secure the Perimeters

Hackers are trying to extort 7.5 million dollars from HBO, and no one is sure how they gained access to the files and media they stole. Sony was the victim a few years back. That attack was purely malicious.

They are the big targets, and you would think these companies have the resources to protect themselves from these intrusions. If they can get hit, you can. As hard as you and your team work on your projects, that's how hard these criminals are trying to disrupt and profit from the entertainment industry.

For security, the key word is vigilance! Protecting yourself from cyber attacks is setting up a well thought out line of defense, implementing it, and scheduling a maintenance protocol that is fluid so that as the challenges shift, you are adjusting your strategy.

Depending on where you are in the M&E space, your security risks will vary. I am going to provide recommendations for protecting content. These are fundamental steps. To determine the safety measures you need, an assessment of your company's risks is the next step.

When we assess securing content, we think about where the content is stored and how it moves through the production cycle. Who touches it and why? Where does it reside and how many iterations of it are there? When is your content most vulnerable? How likely is it that you will become a target? What value does your work have to someone outside your staff and your clients? Determining this is a starting point for how much effort you need to put into protecting your assets.

In IT security parlance there is the term Air Gap. It's a barrier between the content and the team that works on it and everyone else. It may mean an environment isolated from the Internet or at least protected behind passwords and encryption. No one should be able to cross that Air Gap without permission, and if anyone does, you get notified. Establishing this is the first step in any security plan be it for just your computer or your company's network.

How this gets done has as many approaches as there are ways to work. If you have multiple offices, you'll need a VPN (virtual private network) as a layer between the Internet and your network. If you move assets using portable drives, you will want to enable encryption. Encryption will require a password to access the drive. On shared storage servers, an administrator can isolate segments of the storage with permissions.

There are physical measures you can put in place to prevent data theft. Frequent password changes. Use USB port and RJ45 locks on your computers. Combination locks on edit bay doors. Security cameras with explicit warnings.

I mentioned vigilance, and I come back to this because what inevitably happens is keeping these security systems in place is a pain in the rear. Your team members will try to circumvent the security you've set-up because it slows them down. You need to establish best practices and maintain them. There are ways to automate security measures. There are many layers to securing your projects, and you should discuss your needs with experts, get an idea of the costs and decide what solution best meets your needs and your budget.

- Jim Reisman