Gravity Oscar

Ron Bianchini watched the Academy Awards with bated breath this year.

While Avere wasn’t in the running for an Oscar, it technically was. The Pittsburgh tech company helped to create the visual effects for the film Gravity.

So when the winner was announced for Best Visual Effects and Gravity took the statue, a cheer went up in the North Side office.

“All the engineers were screaming,” says a clearly still elated Bianchini. “The win would not have been possible without our client Framestore. The movie looked the way it did because we were there.”

Avere, a pioneer in the development of high-speed data storage technology, is revolutionizing the way high-end computing systems interact and network with cloud storage. The feat enables special effect companies like Framestore, an Avere client, to perform highly technical feats on the silver screen.

In the last two years, Avere’s technology has become a dominant force in the VFX or special effects industry; 12 of the top blockbuster movies of 2013 used Avere in the video rendering of special effects.

Avere is a master of technical interaction. Imagine a computer screen with three-dimensional spaces and hundreds of weightless objects moving around Sandra Bullock in individual frames, says Bianchini. Then imagine a special effects technician tracking the flying objects in millions of frames to create a seamless scene.

The actors were filmed before a bluescreen in many of the scenes, explains Bianchini. Those scenes were then populated with solar panels, spaceships and other flying objects that had to be carefully tracked as they moved across and collided in space.

Without Avere’s FXT Series Edge Filer to facilitate and execute the effects at a faster, more efficient rate of speed, Framestore would have never finished the film on time, he says. 

Avere has also played a key role in the special effects of movies like Zero Dark Forty, The Hobbit, Catching Fire and Ironman.

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared in Fast Company, Ozy and Pittsburgh Magazine.