Weta Inks Deal With Amazon To Expand VFX and Animation in the Cloud

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20th Century Fox/Photofest

Peter Jackson's Wellington, NZ-based visual effects and animation studio — whose Oscar-winning work has included the VFX in Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy and James Cameron's Avatar — has inked a multi-year deal with Amazon Web Services to use the Amazon cloud to forward its VFX and animation production.

The studio intends to migrate most of its IT infrastructure to AWS to support its pipeline that includes 100 proprietary tools and its LED-stage virtual production system, in order to advance VFX services for its movie slate, including by enabling artists to work remotely. It also plans to use the Amazon cloud to produce and render content for its recently-launched Weta Animated unit.

Cameron's Avatar sequels, Marvel's Black Widow and Chris McKay's The Tomorrow War are among the movies currently in the works at the studio.

“By adopting AWS’s ultra-scale infrastructure, we can implement a proprietary cloud pipeline and globally scale our production to greater levels,” said Prem Akkaraju, CEO of Weta Digital. “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."

With Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Weta reported that it would also have access to specialized GPUs (Graphics Processing Unit) to bring new machine learning capabilities into its VFX processes.