Richmanclub Studios relies on NVIDIA GPUs to produce upcoming film

The Boy and his Robot
The Boy and his Robot

By Edward Lim, Managing Consultant, CIZA Concept

Founded by Rich Ho in Singapore in 2004, Richmanclub Studios is a motion picture production company. Its first official production was the short film, “The Alien Invasion” in 2004, which has been shown around the world. The film was the first Singaporean short film to be nominated for the “Chinese Oscar”, The Golden Horse Awards 2004 for Best International Digital Short Film.

The studio has also won the Special Technical Achievement Award (Hive Film Festival), Audience Favorite (Substation First Take) and the Asia-Pacific wide Gold Award-Digital Art (ACMSIGGRAPH ComGraph).

In 2011, Richmanclub Studios launched two additional departments – Richopus Music to offer music production services and IVI VFX to provide post-production services.

Hampered by time and cost
“In the past, smaller independent studios like mine, had to struggle with having our vision hampered by the cost and time restrictions from traditional technology in movie making. Compromise in quality always seems to be spoken about, and much time is spent on making things work rather than focusing on the artistry of creation and storytelling. We were looking for something that would enable us to work faster and improve the production flow,” said Rich.

For its upcoming movie “The Boy and His Robot”, the studio began looking at technologies to expedite and improve its film-making processes. Its objectives were to use technology to support artistry and achieve high quality results with low cost and time.

In 2011, Rich noticed that his brother-in-law was playing games using NVIDIA GPUs and was impressed by the visual quality. As a keen follower and technologically driven director, Rich was fascinated by the power of GPU computing and its potential application in the film-making industry.

“What NVIDIA has done for gaming should be good for film-making. As a movie producer/director, who often creates story-driven films heavy in visual effects, I am very excited about the possibilities created by NVIDIA’s groundbreaking advancements in the GPU,” believed Rich.

He was also impressed with how CUDA was able to accelerate applications and plans to leverage CUDA for visualization, rendering in production and real-time editing.

Deploying new technology and workflow
Together with NVIDIA, Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC) at Nanyang Technological University, Sony, and OTOY’s OctaneRender, Richmanclub Studios seeks to produce and showcase the world’s first live-action movie, with visual effects that are almost entirely rendered by GPUs , and journey towards employing a new post production workflow and technology that may just change the traditional landscape of movie making.

Richmanclub Studios and its partners are using a range of NVIDIA Tesla and Quadro GPUs for the production of “The Boy and His Robot”.

GPU 68x faster than CPU
According to Rich, industry tests of rendering have shown that GPU performs 68 times faster than CPU. To achieve the same results, some tests have shown that GPU cost is just 13.1 percent of CPU cost.

It also took one hour to render a room on a CPU. Using the GPU, the process took just 10 minutes.

“These results prove that with GPU technology, things can be accelerated for film production. NVIDIA enables films to be visualised and creates photorealistic results for the screen,” said Rich.

“The Boy and His Robot” is targeted to be distributed over the internet and film festival circuit at the end of this year.