Selected Works Managing Director, Sean Costelloe explains how working with Escape Technology’s Sherpa supported Selected Work’s launch and organic growth
Sponsored by Escape Technology
“When we launched Selected Works in the Summer of 2021, there were just the three of us, having come from a company with over 400 people. We wanted to operate on a much leaner, talent-driven basis to take advantage of the post- pandemic world; to work either remotely or in our offices, while still ensuring that our clients get that tactile, artist-led experience.
“We wanted to do things differently and build a company relevant for the times.
“Our intention was to set up a business that was truly independent – where we could chart our own course – without any outside investment.
“We looked at various options. On- prem storage and physical workstations come with what would have been a crippling upfront cost and you need to additionally think about ongoing physical infrastructure like power and air conditioning.
“We looked at hybrid scenarios and we looked at hosting all our storage, workstations and applications entirely in the cloud with a lighter footprint. “We discussed our ambitions with the team at Escape and how as a new business we wanted to work on an OpEx rather than CapEx basis.
“Locating our facility in the public cloud was becoming the increasingly obvious path to follow and Escape gave us the confidence to go forward.
“Escape’s Sherpa platform offered us a truly virtualised facility with storage, workstations and applications all hosted securely within a public cloud with a secure pipeline, all managed by Escape. Better still, Sherpa is a flexible solution and would allow us to scale based on need.
Nike ‘Sam Kerr – Flip the Game’, Dir. Alaska, Prod Co: Iconoclast, Agency: Wieden & Kennedy Portland
“We were up and running with Sherpa in less than an hour and we’ve built organically from there.
“The most exciting aspect of working on the Sherpa platform is the flexibility it offers us to add what resources and applications we want, when we want them and to present them to our artists wherever they are in the world. We can scale dynamically, at the flick of a switch. “How we use our own space is entirely flexible. Our artists work off thin clients with a monitor, tablet and pen or a keyboard and mouse without any physical machine. We can spin up whatever software or machine we need, whether Flame, Houdini, Nuke, Maya…
“With Sherpa, we always have access to the latest versions and the most powerful machines. We can leverage additional cloud computing resources when we need to for faster rendering. The Sherpa platform even automatically switches off the additional processing resource when we’re done to avoid overcharging.
“We now have about 40 artists working with us – all working in the cloud – in our offices, around the UK, in Italy, Spain, France, Germany and India and even New Zealand. We have an additional Sherpa studio within a data centre in Singapore to reduce any latency our artists might otherwise experience in Asia.
“Escape takes care of all the hardware and software within the Sherpa studio and always ensures we have access to the latest versions.
“And if we were to ever get less busy, we could shrink and contract. (It’s not something we have ever done, but it’s nice to have the option.)
Simplicity of Use
“Being in the cloud and using Sherpa’s interface is very simple to use. We can dial up additional machines and resources and get additional artists up and running in minutes.
“An artist contacted me to say that their IP address had changed. For security reasons we need to re-whitelist the security address. I could do this on my mobile phone on the train and it took me about a minute. I got the artist back up and working instantly. If I can do it on my phone, then it’s got to be simple and user friendly.
“With Sherpa, Escape has helped us navigate and leverage the incredible power and flexibility you can achieve by working in the cloud. Their long- standing expertise in post and VFX and interpretation of what’s on offer from the hardware and software vendors sets them apart. What really impressed me was how quickly we could dial up Sherpa and how intuitive the GUI was and how seamless the pipeline.”
Bet365 ‘Never Ordinary’, Dir. Jack Driscoll, Prod Co: Academy, Agency: Drummond Central
An easy to manage cloud compute platform designed for VFX workflows brought to you by Escape Technology
Secure, simplified cloud computing infrastructure with transparent cost management tools.
- Simple GUI removing the complexity of architecting and managing public cloud infrastructure
- Metered costs, fully transparent in real-time
- Dial-up, dial down the infrastructure as projects demand, no overspend
- Centralised storage in the cloud
- Global access to talent
- Run your software on studio-grade workstations
- Your workflows the way you want
- Secure by design
ESCAPE TECHNOLOGY, YOUR SOLUTION PARTNER IN VFX, GAMES AND VIRTUALISATION
We pride ourselves on being the trusted partner and expert technology consultant for the creative industries, delivering workflow solutions in VFX, Visualisation, Education and gaming.
Working with the finest technology vendors and partners in the business, whether you are a boutique studio, gaming start-up or global giant we can help!
We provide comprehensive consulting and support services.
As well as being the leading supplier of hardware and software solutions to the great and the good of the VFX, Visualisation, Architectural, Education and Gaming world we also offer consultancy and comprehensive support packages.
Ladbrokes ‘Rocky’, Dir. Nicolai Fuglsig, Prod Cop: MJZ, Agency: Neverland
ABOUT SELECTED WORKS
Selected Works is a talent led, client focussed, award-winning VFX company based in London. Passionate about our craft and proud to be specialists.
We focus our expertise exclusively on our partners, using our skills, our knowledge, and enthusiasm, to create outstanding work. Dedicated and personalised teams tailored to each project’s needs.
The team has vast experience, having run the biggest creative VFX studios in the UK and US. With a long track record of producing acclaimed visual effects, we love what we do and we have fun doing it.
Founded in June 2021, Selected Works utilises the very latest in technology enabling infinite scalability and creative freedom.
To date we have won numerous awards, including Cannes Lions, British Arrows, AICP Show and VES for our VFX.
Main image: Samsung ‘Galaxy Book 3 Ultra’, Dir. Adam Berg, Prod Co: Smuggler, Agency BBH USA
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