Sending Pixels, Not Particles

Splice Makes Remote Work "Work" with Teradici

Remember the second week of March, 2020? The week when everything changed? Well, it changed for us, too.

"We had to re-think our entire way of working, overnight," says Ben Watne, VFX Supervisor. “We had to keep everyone safe, which meant we had to keep them apart… but we also had to protect our clients' content with no compromises."

"Fortunately, we had already started thinking about how to work remotely before Covid-19 hit," adds Carl Jacobs, IT Security Manager. "We knew this was the future of work – we just didn’t expect the future to happen so fast."

SPLICE® began experimenting in 2019 with new technology from Teradici. The software protocol, called "PC Over IP," allows artists working remotely to access an on-site workstation by sending only the encrypted pixels of the screen over the internet. The workstation, and all client content, stays safely protected behind the layers of network and physical security at Splice. With nothing more than a small black box on each of their desks, called a "zero client," the VFX team can work just as if they were back at the office.

When the crisis hit, the team had to accelerate from “R&D” to “implementation,” immediately. "Normally, a major change like this would happen over a few months,” says Carl. “But we were ready."

’PC Over IP’ is solving a number of problems at the same time. "The most important thing is security. We take no chances with that,” says Andrew Sagar, VFX Supervisor. “But it also allows us to manage the massive data sets involved in our work, especially when we're doing simulations. We’re only transmitting the encrypted screens, so we can still use our render farm and SAN storage like we always have. It keeps the whole system simple and reliable.”

"With productions about to ramp up again, we're anticipating the busiest fall we've ever had. It's a huge relief knowing we're ready for it," says Ben. "This whole process was another example of why I love being here. Everyone is 'all in' to solve problems, no matter how big. We just get it done."