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This recommendation and guidance is meant for a wide audience and may not apply to your production. Please reach out to your Netflix Representative with any questions.
The VFX industry has had to pivot quickly from a highly-centralized workforce to a highly-distributed one. This document is a quick reference for platforms and methods which seem to be best serving this dramatic shift in the VFX work paradigm. The topics mentioned deal more with the logistics of working from home, with the subsequent solutions and practices that are deemed success factors through industry conversations. As a result, please consider this document as organic in nature, with the possibility of change due to evolving solutions and collaborative feedback from our industry partners. What this document does not try to address are the specific aspects of proprietary pipeline adjustments that may need to be made per studio due to working remotely, which are not necessarily exposed to Netflix. To be clear, this is not a requirements document, an official endorsement by Netflix of any solutions referred to herein, or a waiver of any contractual requirements or obligations pursuant to a services agreement entered into with Netflix on a specific title. This information is solely provided to engage collaboration and discussion and to share what we know with the vendor ecosystem.
While the industry is doing everything it can to keep projects moving forward when possible, our priorities are always guided by the health and safety of our employees and partners. We want to make sure we are all taking the necessary precautions to minimize risk across all of our global productions, VFX facilities, post-facilities, local language vendors, and service providers. We strongly encourage following all recommended health guidelines provided by local governments and health organizations.
The best solution will depend on the specifics of the production and the capabilities of the VFX facility. Please reach out to your VFX Management contact at Netflix for guidance on your specific title(s).
Setting Proper Expectations
VFX work from home will have various compromises in comparison to working within a highly-optimized VFX facility. The compromises will vary for each setup and for the range of VFX tasks being addressed. A general setup for the broad base of VFX artists may be acceptable for a significant amount of the pipeline. However, for work that is approaching finaling for delivery, the requirements for color accuracy and delivery specifications may require considerations that are more along the lines of Editorial and Color Grading. The Netflix document which addresses these requirements can be found at their respective links.
Remote Desktop/Application Control
These solutions require dedicated bandwidth and low-latency connections. The type of solution depends on the type of tasks that the VFX artist is addressing. For the most part, products like HP RGS or Teradici have been applied with varying degrees of success by many VFX studios for the majority of departments in their VFX workflows. Other studios have invested in the infrastructure required to run sessions through Teradici services. See Remote Desktop Apps Guidance for security best practices.
Remote Access Solutions:
- HP RGS
- HP Remote Sender only runs on Windows and Linux systems
- HP Receiver runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems
- Only Windows clients can stream USB data to the transmitter, and only Windows Senders can receive the USB stream (as a “local” device)
- 2 channel audio playback
- 8-bit color only (@4:4:4)
- Teradici PCoIP
- PCoIP agent only runs on Windows and Linux systems
- Hardware PCI cards available only for Windows and Linux systems
- PCoIP software client runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux systems
- Zero clients available (ClearCube, 10Zig)
- Full driver support for Wacom Tablet and Cintiq
- 2 channel audio playback
- 8-bit color only
- Connection Broker support CAC
Using a single monitor 1920x1200 as a baseline resolution
- HP RGS: 2-4 Mbps node graph manipulation to 20 Mbps for full-screen playback with audio
- Teradici PCoIP 5 Mbps for operations such as node graph manipulations/scripting to 60 Mbps for fullscreen frame playback
We are considering Reviews as an adjunct consideration to the remote workflow for VFX. This is due to aspects of the reviewing process that might require additional hardware, software licensing, or workflow considerations. The solutions listed below are by no means an exhaustive list of available products. They represent the top-of-mind, most commonly deployed solutions that are currently utilized in the industry. This may change with hardware and application advancements.
Technical and HD/SDR Reviews
- CineSync (HD/SDR)
- Integration with ftrack, Shotgun, and Aspera
- Playlists generated within Shotgun
- Python API for integration with other tools
- Synchronised colour tools
- Zoom, masking and aspect ratio tools
- Multiple simultaneous sessions per account
- Streambox (SDR or HDR)
- Provides a range of products for sending and receiving live video streams, either “one-to-many” using their Cloud offering or “point-to-point” where the devices connect directly to each other.
- For SDR review only, our base recommendation is to use the Cloud Encoder and NODE 2 receiver box (Smart TV) or iOS Media Player (iPad Pro).
- For HDR or any colorist working remotely, our base recommendation is to use the Chroma box solution with a calibrated display.
- Cinesync bandwidth requirements for active sessions are very minimal, according to Cospective. However, since media for dailies need to be transferred prior to the session, please be aware that bandwidth will factor into the physical transfer times.
- 20Mb/s for 1080p reviews
- 80-100Mb/s for 2160p reviews
Additional Guidance (Editorial Best Practices)
This list is not exhaustive, but includes some of the more common displays we recommend for their tier of general use. We always recommend that displays be calibrated to industry standards. Color Grading & Calibration Guidelines provides minimum specifications for HDR and SDR displays as well as calibration and viewing environment guidelines.
SDR Displays - Calibrated for Rec.709/BT.1886 at 100-nits
Most of the modern professional and consumer displays are able to meet the standards of SDR color grading. Below are some common displays used for SDR grading/viewing.
- SDR (only) Reference Options
- Sony PVM-A250
- Sony BVM-F250
- Dolby PRM-4220
- Flanders FSI DM250
- SDR Consumer Options
- LG OLED C8/C9
- Sony OLED A9F/A9G
- Panasonic OLED GZ1000/GZ2000
- Apple iPad Pro
- Apple Pro Display XDR
- EIZO CG319X
- HP Dreamcolor z27x, z32x
HDR Displays - Calibrated for SMPTE 2084 PQ / P3-D65*
- HDR Reference Options
- Must meet Dolby Vision grading requirements
- HDR Consumer Options
These HDR Consumer options are for review purposes or pre-grading only, and not to be used for final color grading work.
- LG OLED C8/C9
- Sony OLED A9F/A9G
- Panasonic OLED GZ series from 2019
- Apple iPad Pro (2nd generation or higher)
- Apple Pro Display XDR
* Certain scenarios that use HDR10 signals may require calibration to PQ / Rec. 2020
Calibration and Working/Viewing Environment
We understand that having the proper working or viewing environment at home can be difficult to achieve on such short notice. If proper viewing environment guidelines can not be met (Color Grading & Calibration Guidelines) then please make sure the working and viewing environments are not completely dark or extremely bright. A dimly lit environment with neutral (6500K) color temperature is ideal.
Bias Lighting for Home Setups
- MediaLight 6500K Bias Lighting Systems
Calibration Probes for Home Setups
- Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 (Probe Only)
- Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 & VideoForge PRO (Probe and Signal Generator)
- X-Rite i1 Display Pro Plus (Probe)
Note: The Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 is only compatible with Calman 2019 R2 and future software releases.
- Portrait Displays CalMan Software
- Light Illusion LightSpace
- Free 3-Day LightSpace licenses for the duration of the lock-down. Please use their website Contact Form to request a free 3-Day LightSpace license.
Data Management and Custody
Below are guidelines provided by Netflix Studio Information Security on the key aspects for data management and custody.
Transferring content using home internet services may become a hurdle due to bandwidth limitations. When possible, transferring files via the internet using a secure transfer protocol like Aspera is the best case scenario; Aspera is commonly used by most major facilities as well as Netflix Content Hub. When bandwidth is limited, the only other option for moving digital assets is using fully disk encrypted hard drives.
Secure Network File Transfer (preferred)
- Content Hub
- Vendor/Facility offered secure file transfer solution
- Aspera or Signiant
- If other please reach out to Netflix's Studio Information Security team (firstname.lastname@example.org) for security guidance.
- Fully Encrypted Hard Drives
- Hardware encryption is preferred and will provide the best performance
- Software encryption is acceptable but there will be a sacrifice to performance
- For a short list of drives that meet the Netflix Best Practices requirements please refer to the Home Studio Security Guidance
If a local storage system is used for VFX work, it must also be fully disk encrypted. We recommend Windows Bitlocker or macOS FileVault to encrypt the storage.
Please refer to the Storage Policies within the Home Studio Security Guidance doc. Below are some key factors.
- All disks must be fully disk encrypted
- When media is not being used it must be stored in a secure location (safe, locked file cabinet or room, etc.)
- Once media on temporary storage is no longer needed it must be deleted.
- v1.2 - April 1, 2020