Case Studies

Legacy Effects Brings Beloved Characters To Life With EVO

From building the Iron Man suit to breathing life into Grogu in The Mandalorian, the Oscar nominated and Emmy award-winning team at Legacy Effects excels in shaping characters that define franchises.

These unsung heroes are credited across cinematic universes from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, DC, Terminator, Jurassic World, Avatar, X-Men, StarTrek, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, and more. 

You may also know Legacy Effects from their commercial work for Destiny, Halo, Aflac, Geico, KIA, Lunchables, and Jack Links. From brands to the box office, many characters you know and love are fabricated by the practical and special effects experts at Legacy Effects.

The Legacy Effects team brought several characters in The Mandalorian to life, contributing to their Emmy win for Outstanding Special Visual Effects in 2020.

Endless Possibilities

“We like making the impossible possible,” said David Castinez, IT manager at Legacy Effects. “We’re taking something that doesn’t exist and we’re having a team of incredibly talented artists, mechanical engineers, painters, and mold makers bring it to life.”

Creating a creature from scratch requires incredible skill… and a ton of storage. Every element from helmet to toenail is crafted with painstaking detail. To say Legacy has a complex workflow with massive file sizes seems like an understatement.

When it comes to the world’s favorite creatures and characters, Legacy Effects doesn’t rely on just any server to house their media and design files. They trust EVO.

The expert character artists at Legacy Effects meticulously crafted characters for various Marvel films, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

Outstanding Stability

“EVO is our one-stop-shop for anything file related,” added Castinez. “We have 20-25 people hitting the EVO server at a time, all working with multi-Gig files, and it works flawlessly.” 

EVO is a high-performance shared storage server and cloud workflow solution purpose-built for professional media production. But EVO is not just for video files. Whether they are editing video in Final Cut Pro, rendering a 3D model in ZBrush, or prepping a file for 3D printing, the entire team at Legacy Effects stores, shares, and accesses their media and project files on EVO. 

“What we do is similar to prototype manufacturing. For 3D print engineering of hard surface modeling, we’ll use ZBrush, Photoshop, and Illustrator to design, then we’ll base it in clay, establish the hard mold, and use that to build the element. We push the server pretty hard, so it’s important that EVO can handle whatever we throw at it.”

EVO also comes with the award-winning EVO Suite of software tools, featuring the powerful and easy-to-use ShareBrowser media asset manager, Slingshot transcoding and automations engine, and Nomad for remote workflows. Built-in project locking, granular permission sets, and advanced security features add to the system’s reliability and stability.

Watch as Legacy Effects reconstructs the iconic E.T. 37 years after the Steven Spielberg classic was released.

Industry’s Best Support

Outside of the reliability of EVO, support was vital to the Legacy team. 

“There is always a high level of responsiveness and professionalism from the support team. In fact, I’ve never had a bad experience with SNS support, and there’s not a lot of vendors I can say that about.”

Castinez explained: “When you’re trying to pull off the impossible, you hear a lot of vendors say ‘No’ and ‘That’s outside the scope of what this tool is designed for.’ But SNS doesn’t say that. They ask ‘What are you trying to achieve?’ and ‘How can we help?’ That’s the same mindset we have when working with our clients to bring their vision to reality.”

He continued: “We’ve been an SNS customer for many years, and we have several EVO units. One time, we had a scenario where we had to pull some data off a retired server running an old EVO OS version. I opened a support ticket online with low expectations, since that particular server was very old and no longer in regular use. But SNS support helped us get the old, retired system booted and find the data we needed. They always go above and beyond. That’s been my experience across the board.”

Legacy Effects has contributed practical effects to countless projects for Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, DC, Terminator, Jurassic World, and more. Shown here, an artist working on the Hulk for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Easy Admin

“From an administrator’s perspective, EVO makes my life easier,” said Castinez. “It’s running all the time and doesn’t need periodic reboots like other servers I’ve managed. I don’t have to manage OS-level system patches. It’s truly a stand-alone box that’s running its own custom OS, and I don’t need to be a Linux administrator to manage it.”

Legacy Effects uses EVO’s built-in automations engine, Slingshot, to automatically back up files to a nearline storage server within their facility. Slingshot can also automate cloud backups to Amazon S3, Dropbox, and other cloud storage services. This comprehensive tool not only excels in data replication, but also handles transcoding, data transfers, and more. Best of all, Slingshot is part of the EVO Suite, included with every EVO system for unlimited users.

When it was time to add more storage capacity and upgrade their EVO, Castinez said it was an easy choice. “EVO is a crucial part of our infrastructure that has continued to work throughout the years. Our experience has been positive, our server solution has been solid, and our support experience has been incredible. There was no question about SNS.”

Step behind the scenes to see Legacy Effects craft the Apatosaurus, one of several dinosaurs the team created for Jurassic World.

Practical Effects For Film And Television

Film production simply wouldn’t be the same without the art of practical effects. From character and creature design to animatronics and prosthetic makeup, the talented team at Legacy Effects is responsible for creating characters that start to live and breathe on screen. 

“Our mission is to support the writer and director’s vision and help bring their stories to life. All of these elements come together in a unique way, and we’re very focused on delivering what the client wants. We’ve always felt that SNS meets that same approach. SNS and EVO help us make the impossible possible.”

The next generation of superheroes, aliens, and creatures of the night are coming, and you can trust that EVO will be there to support the practical effects experts at Legacy Effects as they push the boundaries of character design for years to come. 

Contact SNS to learn more about the powerful and reliable EVO shared storage solution for film and television production in the cloud, on-premise, or both.