Europe’s first virtual VFX studios opened by Jellyfish Pictures

BAFTA and multi-award winning production studio, Jellyfish Pictures, today announced the opening of two new virtual visual effects (VFX) facilities in Oval, London, creating the very first virtual VFX studios in Europe and marking great advancements in the way VFX practitioners work. The new sites are in addition to Jellyfish Pictures’ established studios in Brixton, South London, and Fitzrovia, Central London, and increase capacity by a further 70 artists, taking the company’s total workforce to nearly 200 employees.  

With no hardware housed onsite, Jellyfish Pictures’ Oval studios operate in a completely PC over IP environment and are powered by its Brixton facility, which accommodates the new studios’ servers. Exponential-e provided a 10 Gig Ethernet network, enabling Jellyfish Pictures to virtualise distributed Strongbox Technology workstations through Teradici’s remote visualisation solution and connect all four of its offices onto the same circuit. All sites sit on the same logical WAN, which provides access to Software Defined Storage (SDS) from Pixit Media and enables remote collaboration and support for flexible working practices.

Jellyfish Pictures CTO Jeremy Smith, who spearheaded the technical side of the project, said, “Within three years, our workforce has expanded to 170 and now beyond. After running out of floor space at our first two offices in Fitzrovia and Brixton, we wanted to open a third and fourth office near The Oval. By underpinning different cloud technologies with Exponential-e’s network, we had the building blocks for a new virtual office, allowing us to simply extend the workloads that we already had to set-up our new premises.”

The new studio set-up

The Oval offices allow for a heightened workplace experience for the artists thanks to the elimination of any noise pollution emitted from servers, additionally advocating a more efficient and economic way of working. As well as providing a scalable solution, the PC over IP office is ultra-secure, with support managed remotely and directed to a central source rather than individually across 100 different desktop computers. 

CEO of Jellyfish Pictures, Phil Dobree added, “The two new Oval offices are testament to how technology and creativity work hand-in-hand. The combined technology solution provided by Exponential-e gives the studio the ability to respond quickly to spikes in demand and treat resources as if they are all centralised, regardless of whether they are based on private or public cloud storage. With Jellyfish’s accelerated business growth, we now have the capacity to scale computing power and deploy virtual workstations in an instant, to execute even the most demanding of projects.”

Both Oval studios house Jellyfish Pictures’ animation teams, extending beyond the team already in the Brixton Studio where work is midway on the reboot of Dennis the MenaceDennis and Gnasher. Current work at the Oval studios includes Bitz and Bob, the new Cbeebies and Fremantle Media preschool animated series, designed and directed by Jellyfish, and second series of the US-hit children’s show, The Floogals