March 22, 2021
Mexico City-based Ollin VFX specializes in creating computer-generated imagery for television and film. Run by co-founder/president Alejandro Diego, the company works with clients worldwide to provide concept design, previz and postviz, 2D compositing, 3D/CG effects and animation.
Work is spread out between Ollin’s headquarters in Mexico City and artists in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, India and Hollywood. Their visual effects work can be seen in films like Jumanji, Godzilla, Deadpool and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
When COVID-19 necessitated a lockdown that required their artists work from home, they were faced with how to meet fast-approaching deadlines for two major projects: an Amazon-original zombie TV series called Operation 8888 and David Fincher’s Mank, a movie about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s development of the 1941 classic Citizen Kane.
Mank was shot black and white in 6K resolution — much higher quality than the usual 2K or 4K — which made the creation of visual effects creatively challenging due to the variations in shades of gray.
“Immediately, all of our artists started working from home and connecting via VPN to their workstation at the office,” explains Diego. When the lockdown happened in March, the studio needed to figure out a reliable and fast way for everyone to easily access and work on files ranging in size from a few MB to several GB from multiple remote locations.
Ollin had just started using DEI’s ExpeDat, accelerated file transport software, a few months before COVID-19 hit. When the shutdown happened, Diego accepted an offer from DEI to increase capacity to their existing ExpeDat license, from four to eight and at no additional cost, to help accommodate their increased demand for ingest and other file transfer activities. Having this kind of workflow setup helped Ollin as they created and delivered VFX for Mank. We reached out to Diego to find out more about his studio’s workflow.