Network Connectivity

MPC: Rendering VFX in the cloud


Moving Picture Company (MPC) has been one of the global leaders in VFX for over 25 years and are renowned for adding visual wonder and creative expertise to the advertising, film and entertainment industries. Some of their most famous projects include blockbuster movies such as The Jungle Book, the Harry Potter franchise, X-Men, Prometheus and Life of Pi, and famous advertising campaigns for brands such as John Lewis, Samsung, Coca Cola, Sony, Three Mobile and Channel 4. As a leading innovator in the media space, MPC was one of the first companies to recognise how access to “unlimited compute” could empower the creative process to reach new heights.


Sohonet Media Network, Sohonet FastLane


Scaling VFX Rendering to Meet Deadlines and Win Awards with FastLane

“Using Sohonet FastLane gave us a solution which far exceeded Google’s standalone capabilities, and which “just worked”. We knew we had a solution in place which would allow us to scale up our render capacity seamlessly to meet demand.”

Craig Dibble, Lead Render Systems
  • Millions of Core hours (hundreds of years!) — Accelerated to Meet Deadlines
  • 1 Oscar for Best Visual Effects


MPC began working on multiple, increasingly complex projects simultaneously and the timeframes kept decreasing. This made it hard to plan for times of peak hardware capacity. This was especially true when MPC was working on The Jungle Book. Increasing the size of the render farm has a long lead time, so unexpected peaks due to shifting schedules caused real bottlenecks and the seasonal nature of many of their projects also meant that scaling the infrastructure internally was not always cost-efficient.


Having used the Sohonet Media Network for over 20 years, MPC took their engagement with Cloud Platforms to the next level by utilising Sohonet  FastLane to accelerate their access to the cloud. Thereby ensuring that complex projects such as The Jungle Book could be delivered to the highest quality and on time. Sohonet provided MPC with 10 GB connection over VPN endpoints with multiple aggregated links to the Google Cloud Platform, which enabled them to cope with the projected 20,000 cores intended to run in the cloud in our initial proof of concept design. The solution allowed MPC to extend their production network into the cloud whilst totally blocking any internet access, to provide them with a secure virtual cloud environment. All routing was handled by the VPN nodes so the remote compute nodes worked effectively with their on-premise job scheduler and network mounted production storage.


Sohonet Fastlane and Google Compute Engine enabled MPC to complete “The Jungle Book” on time and to Oscar-winning standard, all thanks to being able to run millions of Core hours (hundreds of years!) in the cloud. And made it possible for MPC to produce the visual complexity of the animated characters featured in the the VES award winning John Lewis Christmas advert “Buster the Boxer”, entirely rendered in the Google cloud by MPC

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