If you’ve been to any RED Digital Cinema event in the past few years, you’ve probably seen him. With the quirky title of "Leader of the Rebellion," Ted Schilowitz put the upstart camera company, financed by Oakley founder Jim Jannard, on the map by being the virtual mouthpiece of the company. Thanks to RED and Schilowitz, 4K is now the imaging standard, and after seven years of flying around the world promoting RED, Schilowitz felt it was time to find new projects to work on. "I told myself I’m going to take some time off and thought I would take a year off, explore, do some things and then decide," he says.
He got all of two days. A colleague from FOX Movies called him on a Friday and told him he would start on Monday. "The division I actually work for is feature and postproduction," explains Schilowitz. "It’s intriguing because postproduction is sort of the funnel at the end of the line. Everything has to go through post to get out to the world so that’s actually a big learning bed for all of these different divisions. It relates to every other part of what FOX does."
Schilowitz also began working with Barco, a company that designs and develops visualization products, including digital cinema projectors. The project Schilowitz is working on is Escape, a wraparound screen system that adds screens on both sides of the main screen, with additional projectors that project images onto them. Escape will become an exciting new platform for watching entertainment.
And if that wasn’t enough, at NAB 2014, Schilowitz helped launch The Devil & Demon Strategy, which looks to transform the professional computer workstation similar to the way RED transformed the professional digital motion-picture camera. Armed with the new creative title of "President Evil," Schilowitz has helped to create a strategy around computer technology, an industry he felt "needed some redefining, as well as a fresh infusion of blood," he says. "People tell me, ‘You seem to be doing a lot of things.’ I’m actually just doing one thing, but it’s for a number of different companies and they all blend together, which is helping to define the future."
Computer workstations used in the high-end postproduction industry aren’t the type of machines you pick up at your local Best Buy. The Devil & Demon machines are purposely built for the entertainment industry and its computing needs, which include on-set data capture, pre-grading, editorial, VFX, compositing, DI finishing and delivery. The D&D workstations are also much larger than your average PC workstation and have a more modern design.
"From a visual standpoint," explains Schilowitz, "when you walk into a VFX or postproduction environment, you want to know there’s something special going on. You don’t want to see the same computers you have at home, so the reason they look different isn’t because we wanted to look cool. It’s because the bigger volume allows us to keep them completely silent with liquid cooling, to overclock the processors safely and make them much faster, and to get easier access to all the components when you need to swap things out."
The machines consist of the Demon workstations (six configurations) and Devil supercomputers (three configurations). At the ground level, the liquid-cooled Demon DSPa workstation ($5,600 List) consists of a fast single processor (AMD 8350 at 4.7 GHz), 32 GB of RAM and a FirePro W8000 GPU; the system is ideal for nonlinear editing, NUKE compositing and motion capture. The highest-level Devil Unleashed ($159,000 List) contains 24 AMD processors, 424 total cores, 896 GB of RAM and 72 TB of SSD storage. What makes this machine special is that it can run without a dedicated server room, high-voltage power runs or a specialized environment. It also can connect to multiple Demon workstations to power workflow without bottlenecking data or processing.