Data Flow

Data flow and backend systems

This section describes the technology and data flow details of the content management system.


The content management system uses a client-server model, with PC (or Mac) based clients used for communications and management, and a Linux based server for processing and storage.

Animators use Windows based clients to set up shots according to a strict naming system, using a bespoke system to set up the capture software (DragonFrame recommended). The client PCs can also access the web based interface for shot and movie review. Tools are also available to the DoP and camera team for lighting and camera setup.

The shot is launched through a front end which provides simple menu choices, eliminating typographical errors and enforcing a strict and consistent file naming convention. This front end handles all database entries for the shot and automatically creates a local and server side folder structure, which makes for an easy to navigate naming system. Notes for each shot can be entered at any time, as well as tracking information for cameras and lenses.


Shot launching software



The production team view and manage the production through the web based interface from windows or mac based clients.

The storage of images, the databases, and the web server that drives the web interface reside on a Linux based server, using LAMP(Linux, Apache, MySQL, Php) technologies

All machines are connected through a common LAN subnet, requiring an appropriate (ideally 1Gb/s) network infrastructure.

Data Flow

From the moment an animator takes a frame on his workstation, the dataflow begins. Each individual frame’s raw file travels the following path:
1. Camera -> 2. Workstation -> 3. Server
-> 4. Render Node(conversion to tiff/openEXR) -> 5. Server

Between stages 3. and 5. the raw image will be converted into a 16 bit RGB or 32 bit openEXR image and cropped/resized/converted to a final delivery format. A reference JPG file will also be created. The server will then have the original RAW file (or negative), a compressed JPG file for quick reviewing through the management system, and the higher colour depth delivery format image. (For broadcast these are used to create on-line movies for the edit suite such as 10 bit Avid DNxHD) See here for a quick rant about raw file processing.

Full res images can also be requested for publicity stills, post production “camera moves” etc. The size of the image is dependent on the camera model.

On finishing, a shot is flagged as finished through the launcher and the JPGs and Tiffs are conformed for the shot, according to the animator’s cut/loop lists. These are then placed in the render queue to be converted into a reference movie for the studio floor and a full HD quicktime for the edit suite.


Data flow chart