The production house that completed Linkin Park’s new music video had the drive and creativity to execute the band’s artistic vision of Armageddon in a cyberpunk world — yet one challenge emerged at the outset.
Brandon Parvini, the 30-year-old creative director at Ghost Town Media in Los Angeles, knew his team’s Apple desktops wouldn’t be able to handle the intense 3D graphics fast enough to meet “crazy ambitious” project deadlines.
So, right before the start of video production in August for “A Light That Never Comes,” the band’s collaboration with DJ Steve Aoki, Ghost Town Media made a decision that some may consider brave, and others a little crazy — they switched operating systems, scrapping their Apple desktops for Dell Precision workstations.
For Parvini, however, the decision was a no-brainer. All three minutes and 49 seconds of the video is virtual, meaning not one frame is camera footage. The band members in the piece — they’re just ones and zeros as well, the product of digital body scans enhanced and modified through a series of special-effects programs. To pull it off, Parvini knew he needed the right computing tools, ones that would just work and seem almost invisible to him and his team.
“If you can’t navigate the files, you can’t be creative,” Parvini said in an interview with Tech Page One. “In many ways, good hardware is about getting out of your way.”
Finding hardware that seems almost transparent to the creative process is easy if you’re a poet. But for Parvini and other vanguards of the post-production world, reliable workstations need to function without fail almost around the clock while processing bleeding-edge graphics and massive files.
“I’ve melted machines here before,” Parvini admitted. “I am brutal on our hardware, but it’s all in the quest to make a cool-looking image.”
Or a cool-looking digital city, which is what Parvini and his team built — and then destroyed — for “A Light That Never Comes.” Parvini said the video follows a young woman who is unwittingly dropped into this dreamed-up world and then goes off exploring as old structures crumble and others implode.
Parvini created the action using two Dell Precision Workstations — the T5610 and T7610 models — fitted with NVIDIA Quadro K5000 graphics cards, which provide the processing for the 3D calculations and computer animation that bring his images to life. The combined package beats the best of what Apples offers, he said, and the switch was made easier by working closely with support teams from Dell and NVIDIA.
More time to create
Parvini said the bottom line to having machines that don’t crash and quickly render graphics is more time that can be spent on fine tuning and bringing the finished product closer to the artist’s vision. And because his Precision workstations support multiple Quadro GPUs, Parvini got even faster performance when using applications such as Adobe After Effects, which takes unique advantage of NVIDIA GPUs.
Another piece of Ghost Town Media’s computing package, a Dell Precision M6700 mobile workstation, also gave Parvini more time with the video by allowing him to work from home in the evenings. It’s that kind of mobility that also helped Parvini maintain a personal life — even amid crushing deadlines.
“It means I can see my wife, have dinner with her, then open my laptop and work again until 2 a.m.,” he said.
This series explores why demanding IT use cases have lead some to switch from Apple technology to Dell Precision workstations with NVIDIA graphics cards and Intel processing power.
- 1Linkin Park virtual world rises from agile workstations
- 2Workstations inspire Linkin Park to push limits
- 3Tips for the switch to high-end workstations