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Singapore launches a new lab for media research

Zafar Anjum | Jan. 21, 2014
NTU launches new Future Studios Research Lab, boosting its new media research efforts further

Singapore has added yet another feather in her cap-a new research laboratory that will develop the next generation of technological breakthroughs in Singapore's entertainment and media industry.

The lab, christened as NTU Future Studios Research Lab (NTU FSR Lab), has been established in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and it comes with a S$7 million investment tag.

The new lab located at MAGIC in NTU houses a suite of state-of-the-art equipment that includes a new and incredibly fast graphics processing farm that has been set up with the support of industry collaborators, HP and NVIDIA, to advance both research and industry projects.  Funding for MAGIC was provided by NTU, National Research Foundation (NRF) and Media Development Authority (MDA).

Good news for animation and games industry

According to sources at NTU, this lab will help design artists, producers of high-quality animation and games, and institutional industry players lower their cost of production, shorten the time to market and enable work to be executed across borders more powerfully and effectively than before. 

An example of this promise is the Singapore film, The Boy and His Robot. The lab is helping slash its production costs by up to 80% and reduce the team size by 30%. The entire film will be produced in less than 18 months, and is expected to be ready by the end of 2014, said sources at NTU.

"In the past, many film production and post-production studios like mine had to struggle  as our vision was hampered by the cost and time restrictions from traditional technology in film making," said Rich Ho, director and producer of The Boy and His Robot. "Now, with the advent of cloud computing and GPU (graphics processing unit) rendering specific to the creation of films, things might just change for the better."

"Filmmakers choose NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics when they want to tell their visual stories faster and better," said Sandeep Gupta, senior director of Product Marketing for the Quadro Professional Graphics Business at NVIDIA. "Employing our most powerful GPUs, the Quadro K6000, the NTU FSR Lab will help creative professionals like those at Richmanclub Studios realize amazing digital characters and visual effects in dramatically accelerated workflows."

The HP ProLiant Gen8 servers being used at the FSR Lab provide the ideal platform for creating, rendering and delivering rich animations, according to sources.

Lab will create new opportunities

"The NTU Future Studios Research Lab represents a significant investment by the University in advanced technology and provides a test-bed for novel applications in entertainment and media," said Prof Seah Hock Soon, Director of NTU's Multi-plAtform Game Innovation Centre (MAGIC). "The technology and expertise available in the laboratory will not only benefit NTU faculty, researchers and students, but also create new opportunities for commercial partnerships with our industry friends in the fields of animation and gaming."


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