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To Hollywood, Love Boise

Local company introduces the next big thing in filmmaking technology


The best kept secret in Idaho may be that a Boise company has rolled out Hollywood's newest game-changer.

Boise native Amy Gile gave BW an exclusive tour of Silverdraft Mobileviz, her company's computer-powered digital and visual effects studio-on-wheels. And powering what she calls "the fastest technology in the entertainment industry" are super-computers designed by Micron.

"Growing up in Boise, Micron is ingrained for me," said Gile. "It's family and friends. It was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned."

Micron fills orders from all parts of the globe for computer needs, but rarely does it get calls from a 208 area code for such an elaborate project.

"It was really surprising to get a call locally for something so cutting edge,"said Dean Klein, Micron's vice president of Memory System Development.

The Micron technology contained in Silverdraft Mobileviz are Micron's state-of-the-art SSDs (solid state drives), and Mobileviz has an enormous 20TB (tera-bytes) of superfast storage.

Mobileviz is rather breathtaking inside. Imagine a producer's paradise in which high-resolution footage is married with industry-leading CGI. And it's on wheels. Simply put, it moves the most innovative tools for digital filmmaking right to the filming location.

At one giant console, a visual effects artist was wrangling data directly from digital cameras. The footage is instantly rendered and processed for high-resolution 2D and 3D footage. CGI graphics are laid in. Bring in the sound sync. And presto. It was no big stretch to look at clips of Avatar or The Last Airbender on overhead monitors to compare to the lights, camera and magic being performed at workstations below.

The performance of the super-computers on-board Silverdraft Mobileviz was been optimised by Dr Srinidhi Varadarajan, director of the Terascale Computing Facility and an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. He is the systems architect behind the Silverdraft project. And no wonder, he was the lead designer of Virginia Tech’s supercomputer, System X, ranked in November 2003 as the fastest supercomputer at any University in the world, and he has won many awards for his pioneering work.

Gile was a bit sly when asked how much Silverdraft Mobileviz cost.

"We're a privately held company and I'm not at liberty to say," Gile said smiling.

After some prodding, she offered, "Well over $2 million. You're certainly looking at the best super-computing film technology here."

Gile showed off Mobileviz to family, friends and investors at a "red carpet" reception at Boise's Linen Building before rolling off to Hollywood.

And she offered some scoop.

"I can tell you that we're in negotiations right now with a major studio where Mobileviz would be on site for an international feature film with Academy Award-winning talent," she said.

For Gile, who has a full resume of acting talent on stage and screen, the innovation offers more than just technology.

"This will make movies better because anything and everything will be possible," said Gile. "This was built for the artist."

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