DNEG, a leading UK-headquartered VFX house that saw its work win an Oscar earlier this year for Dune, has revealed that it’s developing a collaborative playback and review tool for use on features, series and other content, while announcing bold plans to encourage broad adoption.
When completed, the app, dubbed xSTUDIO, will “replace all other image review tools across DNEG’s content creation pipeline,” the company announced on Thursday, adding that it also intends to release xSTUDIO as an open-source project, meaning that it would give access to other productions and companies “with a view to encouraging the adoption of the tool as the new industry-standard toolset for collaborative review.”
DNEG’s current and recent work includes Black Adam, Bullet Train, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion. DNEG also frequently collaborates with Christopher Nolan, including on Oscar-winning work for Tenet, Inception and Interstellar. Last month, DNEG reupped its multiyear services deal with Netflix for $350 million, which includes upcoming productions such as Knives Out 2, The School for Good and Evil, The Adam Project and Slumberland.
In recent years, numerous developers of remote collaborative work tools have seen notable growth in their products’ use, particularly since the start of the pandemic when artists were required to work from home.
According to DNEG’s announcement, xSTUDIO is being designed to enable individuals and teams to review shots, edits and grades in a single application on multiple desktop platforms and operating systems including Linux, Mac and Windows. Expected to launch as an open source beta application later this year, xSTUDIO will be available for free download and use, allowing third-parties to contribute features and workflows. “We are encouraging everyone to use and develop the toolset, so that we all benefit from the collective expertise in our community,” says DNEG’s global CTO Paul Salvini.
“VFX supervisors, artists, directors, DPs, studio executives, producers — we all look at images every day in many different ways,” Chas Jarrett, an Oscar-nominated senior VFX supervisor at DNEG, whose recent credits include Uncharted, says in a released statement. “xSTUDIO was designed to allow everyone working in the media creation industries to collaborate seamlessly.”
Earlier this year, DNEG announced plans to go public by merging with Sports Ventures Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisitions company, in a transaction with merger value of around $1.7 billion.