About Gorilla TV
Gorilla TV was established in 1999 as a small boutique facility and has grown organically through decades of early technology adoption, commitment to creative talent, and the ability to react quickly to an ever-changing market.
Gorilla is the leading post-production facility in Wales, with headquarters in Cardiff Bay spanning 5 floors and a second 30 seat City Centre facility also offering production office space.
Gorilla recently expanded out of Wales setting up a new Hybrid facility in Bristol’s Finzel’s Reach, with both on-premises and remote services all connected back to our 24/7 Cardiff HQ. Although large, with over 150 Avid suites, nine dub suites, and ten grade/online suites, Gorilla still retains its boutique roots and customer service values. While creative post-production is our background, we are also innovative technical and workflow experts, with satellite uplink/ down-link facilities, Broadcast lines, studios, and live TX. Gorilla offers a wide range of specific HETV scripted services including DIT / Media management and dailies, an internal and external VFX pipeline, Location editorial setups including studio-specific accredited remote solutions, Dolby Vision HDR colour grading, and finishing and IMF QC and delivery.
Gorilla delivers hundreds of hours of multi-genre programming including high profile scripted HETV, Specialist Factual, Children’s, and Daytime to all International clients including BBC Worldwide, Netflix, HBO, and all UK Broadcasters. Recent productions the team has worked on include Bad Wolf Productions’ A Discovery of Witches for Sky and His Dark Materials for the BBC and HBO, BBC Studios’ Doctor Who, and Urban Myth’s Extinction for Sky/NBCU. Over recent years, Gorilla TV has invested in the latest high-end television finishing, QC, and delivery services.
What was the thinking behind the two new Resolve suites?
We’ve been looking closely at our 4K HDR drama workflow. For one particular product, we concluded that the most efficient approach would be to build two mirrored Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve suites. We have a Resolve grading station and a Resolve finishing online station working in parallel and where any one of the operators can change roles at any time as they’re both running the same application.
We’ve got a really good colourist who can do a bit of online and clean-up work and a really good online editor who can turn his hand to grading and with the suites running in parallel, we can adapt our scheduling and take into account other contributors not delivering to timetable.
We’re working from the native ARRI XT assets in Pro Res 4444 and ARRIRAW and relinking from Avid DNx36 in Resolve on the workstation, rather than running DPX, so we’re not losing anything with a transcode.
We set up a Resolve project server, so the suites have the advanced workflows that Resolve allows you to do. In most post environments, you would typically do the grade on one application which you would then render and that would be sent for compositing and online processing. The ability to do both grade and online on Resolve means that we’re not rendering and passing across. Everything’s done in real-time and the workflow is a lot more efficient.
You need the horsepower for the creative output in front of the client to get the looks they want. But what we’re heading off is delivering the multiple deliverables to multiple broadcasters; one wants the HD version, another the UHD in 709 and again in Dolby Vision and maybe HDR10. When you start mastering multiple specifications, it becomes highly complicated if you’ve got multiple vendors involved in the workflow because you’re rendering a hell of a lot of data. For a UHD EXR one hour, it’s 3TB per hour and if you’ve got ten versions of that show, you’ve got 30TB and then when you’ve got ten shows… that can get out of hand very quickly.
What makes this workflow even more attractive is the ease with which we can export the archive deliverables. When you deliver to the streamers, that cleanup, that matting out of the camera operator needs to happen on the base rushes layer before the grade before everything to be able to deliver the ungraded archival master. We had been doing it retrospectively and now by staying in Resolve we are by default applying those changes on the bottom layer that ripples up through every version. That is why we’ve gone Resolve to Resolve – keeping it within one ecosystem - rather than a roundtripping conventional approach. It’s a much more elegant workflow.
Keeping the project workflow on one platform that can be online as well as grade (as well as doing other things) is a massive efficiency.
Why did you choose the PL Ultimate PRO workstations?
To optimise the performance we wanted from the Resolves, we needed workstations that could deliver the horsepower they need to work in real-time. It is a bit of a cookbook for building the right workstation. It’s a recipe where you need the right chassis, and the right motherboard to start with. That was the immediate appeal with Proline.
We bought two PL Ultimate PRO workstations with AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO’s installed. The value the Threadripper gives you in terms of the cores is unquestionable. It’s all very well having the right GPU, but if you haven’t got the right caching in it, you’re not going to get the performance. The workstations are the 64 cores in a single socket, with 128GB RAM, and also have two NVIDIA RTX A4000 GPUs which deliver exceptional throughput.
It wasn’t about cost-saving. It was having a high-end workstation with the right number of slots, built-in dual 10gig, within a single chassis that we could work on. A single chassis that can accommodate three GPU cards if required and didn’t mean we had to add an expansion chassis. We have two in it now. We need to get 12bit HD SDI out of it, so we can view the project, which is the Blackmagic DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G and another slot to talk to shared storage. The slot count is really important. All of those components give you something that’s very fast that can deal with UHD Dolby Vision workflow.
That’s the remit. The performance is good. It’s got the slot count that we want. It’s technically right and at the right price with the right expansion.
It’s great to have another customer project come to successful fruition. It’s always fun when a customer presents us with a new M&E workflow problem to solve, and a proud day at Proline when the feedback is so positive. We’re getting used to it now! Gorilla are well respected and you can see why, they know their craft and how to make the most of it, but most importantly they understand how important the hardware can be to their workflow. Having the right high-performance CPUs and GPUs are critical to maintaining high fidelity work whilst increasing productivity. The Proline Ultimate PRO series has proved itself once again thanks to our synergy between ultra-high core count AMD Threadripper PRO CPUs and the best-in-class NVIDIA RTX series GPUs.
"The team has been very responsive and helpful, they want to make things happen. We were quite happy to be early adopters and work with them to create a bespoke workstation. We’ve been to Proline HQ for a tour, Exacta Technologies is a very interesting company. They’ve got an impressive track record in the financial technology world with Blackcore by Exacta. Our new setup’s performance is a testament to their tailored input and can-do approach."
Rhodri James , Director of Technology and Operations - Gorilla TV
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