KRU launches Malaysia's first commercial render farm for film production


  • Movies
  • Thursday, 13 Jun 2019

Zan Orangutan

While making the recent hit animated movie Upin & Ipin: Keris Siamang Tunggal, Les’ Copaque Production went looking for a local company that could handle the rendering process for the film.

However, no render farm in Malaysia had the capacity to transform thousands of images to a fully-coloured 100-minute film.

Rendering is a process in which images created on a computer are realised as a series of two- or three-dimensional images that play continuously as a movie. It’s a time-consuming process that requires a large number of high-performance computer systems built specifically to render the computer-generated imagery. Such a place is called a render farm.

In the end, Les’ Copaque outsourced the work to a render farm in Hong Kong that had 1,000 computers to render Keris Siamang Tunggal. And even then, it still took three years to complete.

Well, starting July 1, animation studios and production houses in Malaysia need look no further than the Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, for a render farm.

Spearheaded by Datuk Norman Abdul Halim, the president of KRU Group of Companies, KRU has formed a partnership with VSOCloud, one of China’s leading technology companies in rendering, to form VSOCloud SouthEast Asia Sdn Bhd.

(From left) Norman Abdul Halim, Ahmad Idham and Dr Yongquang Lu, chairman of VSOCloud China, at the launch of joint venture company VSOCloud SouthEast Asia. Photo: The Star/Sam Tham

At a press conference to announce the launch, VSOCloud SouthEast Asia was said to be the first Malaysian commercial rendering service provider for studios in the region.

It currently houses 100 high-end computers while China has 12,000, which equals to a 120-fold capacity increase. In time, the KL branch will increase the number of its machines as well.

Norman said: “We’re here to witness how Malaysia will play a strategic role in the South-East Asia region to elevate the standard of content production, specifically in the areas of animation and visual effects.

“We are excited to be part of VSO’s expansion in South-East Asia and believe this will open new opportunities for Malaysian content creators to penetrate China’s market in terms of post-production, crowd-sourcing activities, distribution and also investors.”

China’s VSOCloud has worked with film studios and universities from around the world in the past decade. Its work can be seen in productions like The Empress Of China, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion and The City Of Dark.

Meanwhile, KRU’s visual effects company, Prodigital Lab or just Prodigi, has provided post-production, audio production and visual effects to many KRU films. It also produced 2018 animation film Wheely.

Prodigi was also responsible for the recent restoration of Tan Sri Jins Shamsudin’s Bukit Kepong and is currently working on the visual effects of the Hollywood film Nosferatu, which uses original footage from the 1921 classic Nosferatu – A Symphony Of Horror.

KRU will work together with VSOCloud on the animation feature film titled 'Zan Orangutan' set for release in 2020.
KRU will work together with VSOCloud on the animation feature film titled 'Zan Orangutan' set for release in 2020.

To kick off the collaboration, KRU will work together with VSOCloud on the animation feature film titled Zan Orangutan set for release in 2020.

In line with the betterment of the creative industry and with the new render farm, Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, the CEO of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) said it will impose a 10% requirement on all filmmakers who receive the Finas grant to incorporate visual effects in their films.

“I do believe that in any of our movies today, we need to have visual effects to enhance and add production value of a film,” he said.

“(The joint-venture) will not only generate growth for the visual effects industry in Malaysia, it can also serve as a way for SMEs in the visual effects industry in Malaysia to come together as a team to create more business opportunities in the future.”

Norman agreed that visual effects should not be seen as a barrier.

He said: “Besides practical filming, visual effects can aid in the storytelling and elevate our standard of production. This can be achieved through collaboration. We are not competitors; the cake is large enough for us to share.”

For more information on VSOCloud Southeast Asia, please contact Chan Huan Chuan, the managing director of the company, at 016-301 3336 or glann@vsocloud.com

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