Weta Digital has inked a deal with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the cloud infrastructure for its visual effects and animation.
The deal’s terms are not out yet, but few things are crystal clear for both ends from a strategic standpoint. With this deal, AWS bags yet another top-notch client among the industry leaders, helping the Cloud provider demonstrate its capabilities. On the other hand, Weta gets a foundation to support a pipeline of 100 proprietary effect tools and its LED-stage virtual production service announced in July.
Weta Digital is a New-Zealand based company that provides animation and compositing software tools for visual effect artists. Famed filmmaker Peter Jackson is one among its founders, and Weta created the engine for visual effects in many global blockbusters such as The Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Avengers: Endgame.
AWS and Weta were mulling the partnership for a long time. They were in talks even before COVID-19 arrived and turned the entertainment business upside down. However, visual effects or allied tasks during a time when the world is in the grips of a pandemic requires a higher level of remote co-ordination and a massive volume of data transfer. Hence, the Weta-AWS partnership could not have come at a better time.
Prem Akkaraju, CEO of Weta Digital, says Weta Digital has been an innovator in the visual effects industry for decades. By adopting AWS’s ultra-scale infrastructure, they can implement a proprietary cloud pipeline and globally scale their production to greater levels than ever before. “Weta established a remote collaborative workflow in March due to the pandemic to seamlessly continue work on the Avatar sequels and other films. With the power of AWS, we can now take that success to a global scale. Drawing on AWS’s virtually unlimited compute capacity, we can empower our artists to work safely and securely where they want without technical limitations. In addition, using the breadth and depth of AWS services, we can more easily test new ideas and technologies as we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in visual effects today. AWS services, such as machine learning and data analytics, will help Weta deliver projects faster and more cost-effectively, and our customers will enjoy the fruits of Weta Digital’s continuous innovation.”
Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS, praised Weta for its “innovative approach of combining technology and creativity to push the boundaries of visual effects in the movie industry while bringing some of cinema’s most memorable characters to life. Weta Digital will rely on AWS’s unmatched portfolio of services to continue redefining what is possible on-screen and at a scale that was not previously possible. Through its collaboration with AWS, Weta Digital is reducing technology barriers for those in the filmmaking industry, strengthening its operations in New Zealand and globally, and paving the way for immersive, new experiences for moviegoers.”
The Seattle-based Cloud giant recently released its Q2 revenue totaling $10.8 billion, registering a massive jump of 29% as compared to the same period for 2019.
Last month, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (a part of NBCUniversal) had also announced a similar cloud service deal with Microsoft Azure.