back to article The Avatar storage effect

Avatar - James Cameron's 3D-enhanced sci-fi CGI space-western movie - is set to be a stunning success, and the storage industry is jumping on the bandwagon carrying its 10 feet tall, blue-skinned aliens. Avatar is being produced by California-based LightStorm Entertainment, which has contracted out much of the CGI (Computer- …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All very technical and interesting...

    ...but this is El Reg so who gives a toss? Does the heroine get her tits out and is the film worth seeing?

    1. John H Woods Silver badge


      Film well worth seeing. Thin plot, shallow characterization, typical hollywood good vs evil. But visually and aurally, it will blow you away - pretty much like the original Star Wars, this is a bit of a game-changer.

    2. Rattus Rattus
      Thumb Up

      Well, actually

      yes (sorta) and yes (definitely). Hope that helps. :-)

  2. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Jumbo sneakernet

    If they have the entire 45Mb/s pipe and their super-low overhea coms then they might be getting 5MB/s.

    A flight LAX-NZ is about 9-10hours, so with checkin , say 40,000secs.

    So while you are eating Air New Zealand's delicous scones with cream and watching Mr Bean for the 20th time, they can ship 200Gb over the wire

    Assuming I can fit 20*1.5Tb drives in my hand baggage - I would say that sneakernet is winning by a factor of 100.

    1. Brian 6

      @Martin 6

      Did u read the article ??

      "FASP achieves 90 per cent of the targeted throughput with less than 1 per cent redundant data overhead."

      Your calculations are miles off. And I'd love to see u trying to get through customs with 20 HD's in your hand luggage.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Yes, he did RTFA... did /you/ read his post?

        His calculations seem close enough to me: 90% of 45Mb/s is 40.5Mb/s which is 5.0625MB/s. 10 hours is 36000 seconds so 40000 seems a reasonable estimate. 5 megabytes per second * 40 kiloseconds = 200 gigabytes.

        Did you miss the significance of the lowercase 'b' in Mb/s standing for bits where the uppercase 'B' in MB/s stands for bytes?

        1. Brian 6


          The significance of the lower case 'b' in Mb/s was not lost on me, But if my maths were as bad as yours I'd make all ma comments anonymous to. Maybe your mummy will get u a calculator for Christmas.

  3. Inachu

    Droooool on the hardware specs!

    I bet the devs played world of warcraft on them!!! GRRRR lol

  4. Jan 0 Silver badge

    I'd still pick sneakernet

    45Mb/s is a bit less than half a Terabyte a day*. Good for sending updates, but a courier with a shoulder bag of 2 TB hard discs is still a lot quicker and probably cheaper for bulk deliveries.

    Are they using RUDP?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, some fancy west-coast company starts packaging up and selling UDP bandwidth as the answer to everyone's bulk data transfer problem, and it's all wonderful high-tech happy time. Meanwhile, when BitTorrent starts talking about using UDP instead of TCP it's the end of the Internet as we know it.

  6. Robert Heffernan
    Thumb Up

    @ 1st Post AC

    In response to your questions...

    Yes she does (In a national geographic kind of way)

    and Yes it is!

  7. Rattus Rattus

    Can someone other than Sony

    please come out with a decent home 3D format? We all know Sony hate their customers and I dread to think what nefarious scheme will be inflicted on people who buy this stuff. I'll buy a new TV for it if I have have to, but I REALLY don't want to have to put a Blu-Ray player in my house.

    1. Citizen Kaned

      maybe instead of...

      bashing sony you could read the article? you DONT need a new TV. glasses will be fine. many of us wear glasses anyway so an overlay over them will be fine.

      fine, dont get a BR player. who cares? i dont get the impression you are helping the media people too much are you, why so many luddites on a tech site? im sure sony et all are crying themselves to sleep as you wont buy a £100 br player.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        I'm perfectly aware

        that I don't need a new TV for Sony's 3D. I was saying I would be quite willing to buy one if necessary for SOMEONE ELSE'S format, if it meant I didn't have to put a DRM-infested Blu-Ray player in my house.

        I'll keep bashing Sony, though, since I'm firmly convinced they hate their customers and would like them all to die. (BTW, that was hyperbole to make a point, in case you didn't recognise it).

        I'm happy to buy plenty of media if it's from someone who doesn't try to rootkit my computer or otherwise fuck with my playing hardware, i.e. NOT SONY. The cost doesn't matter at all, the attitude does.

  8. DZ-Jay

    Re: @ 1st Post AC

    Re: Robert Heffernan

    But who's the heroine? If it's Sigourney Weaver, I'll pass on those tits. If it's the blue furry chick, I'm not really into that.

    So the real question is: Are there any good, human tits in the film, and is it worth it?


  9. Andrew Moore
    Thumb Up

    Yes it's a must see film.

    Okay the plot is very Dances with Wolves meets Ferngully. However the plot takes a back seat- It's just a device to hang some of the most immersive, spectacular and realistic visuals ever seen. This is a film that has to be experienced on a massive screen (pref. IMAX) in 3D. I liked one comment I saw online- "This film is for all those people who have ever bought a graphic card to replace the one their computer came with".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @use sneakernet

    Anyone even considering this has not has to get more than 100 TB across a major ocean.

    The numbers might be close on trip one, but each subsequent trip is going to throw your numbers and don't forget to mimic TCP/IP you will every bit of data twice for backup!!

  11. Tarmac

    Novelty value

    Quite an impressive setup.

    I can't imagine 3D t.v. taking off in any sort of mainstream way like HD to be honest. The 3D glasses will make sure of that no matter how comfortable they are. There is gimmick value to it for novelty things and it is fantastic if delivered properly ala Avatar, but I doubt it will become a part of the average couch potato's daily arsenal!

    Gamers on the other hand may possibly suck 3D glasses up assuming there are outstanding quality games to back it up.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    So very wrong

    About the only right in the section about Weta Digital's storage and processing. is the fact that they arent an isilon customer. The rest is so distorted its effectively false

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Future of 3D?

    Where's the "Porn Drives Technology" angle?

    Paris for obvious reasons.

  14. ChrisInAStrangeLand

    45 Mbit is fast?

    I'm not sure I was alive when 45Mbit was considered a fast circuit. It is my understanding that nowadays the big boys measure the size of a connection in lambdas.

    Do you think it's possible Weta is running off of a Telecom NZ residential VDSL line or something.

  15. ACZ

    Aspera FASP technology

    I'm guessing that this is their "FASP technology" (WO2006/071866):

    As for "It sounds like Aspera could have a new application ahead of it; transferring data files to the cloud.", try this one (WO2009/091580):

  16. Anonymous Coward

    45Mbit = T3 line

    Everything was T-this and T-that in the 90s!

  17. fireman sam

    Nothing groundbreaking

    Interesting to read about the engineering obstacles but the data transfer problem is nothing new. TCP works very well as designed but comes with a large overhead.

    I've written a distributed content delivery system not a million miles from this that uses a lightweight protocol, can zip files on the fly (if their content type suggests they might benefit from it), automatically adjusts bandwidth based on periodical sampling of lost packets, uses UDP and provides a means of resending lost packets either over TCP or UDP, it also can take advantage of multicast UDP if there are many parties receiving the same data.

    As the quote goes however: "never underestimate the bandwidth of a truck load of tapes". For one off or infrequent transfers delivery by sneaker net would be a lot faster.

  18. Mike Bell

    3D A Waste of Time

    I've seen Avatar in 2D and 3D.

    There is a noticeable reduction in picture quality, as you might imagine, when conjuring up stereoscopic images with today's technology.

    For example, there's a scene near the beginning of the movie where the lead character slurps up a few stray weightless drops of water. It was entirely apparent what he was up to in the 2D version but those drops of water ended up as fuzzy blobs in the 3D version.

    Personally, I'd sooner have great picture quality than 3D gimmickry.

    1. I didn't do IT.


      Actually, those droplets were his sweat (from the remembering/dream) when he woke up from "cryo-sleep". And the fuzziness was because it was intentionally out of focus so that you would see his face, and then bring your attention to what was in front of him - as he would as he was waking up.

      I found the use of focus and perspective to be much better, and natural, tools in the 3D version to quickly bring your attention to the action in the movie. The 2D could only use speed and movement - which was also enhanced in the 3D. The human eye focuses on only one thing or area at a time...

      Watching both 2D and 3D versions several times - I prefer the 3D because it seemed crisper; but then I wear glasses normally, and I don't know what kind of optical interaction might have been going on with my perscription, the 3D glasses, and my brain processing the two separately polarized images into a unified whole perspective "image".

  19. spesh

    @use sneakernet

    Sneaker net maybe high bandwidth, but

    The latency is horrible

    The error checking is terrible :)

    Not to mention the rubbish speed have you ever written 100TB to SATA drives?

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