Sync Hacks: ‘Revolutionizing’ Visual Effects with BitTorrent Sync

Sync Hacks is a column dedicated to exploring new applications for BitTorrent Sync, as built by users like you. BitTorrent Sync is a free, unlimited, secure file-syncing app. (And now, it’s even more mobile.) If you’ve got an epic Sync idea, use-case or how-to, shoot us an email at sync[at]

In this week’s Sync Hacks: Team Legion shares how their visual effects company uses BitTorrent Sync to enable a global collaboration platform that provides clients access to the best, most creative talent around the world – for projects like NBC’s Revolution.

From Team Legion:

Legion Studios is a visual effects company centralized in Southern California that is developing a remote visual effects workflow – a pipeline that increases our artist’s efficiency and grants our clients access to the best talent around the world.

Until recently, we had been using a private Aspera network to securely move our files where they needed to be. It works great for plate and render distribution, as well as client delivery, but it was not suited for the constant sync required. We needed a better system… a program that works in the background without user input. Commercial services similar to Google Drive and Dropbox looked promising but did not quite fit our needs. When we came across BitTorrent Sync, we knew we had found a system that could work for us.

Recently, we were awarded a small batch of shots from the NBC television show Revolution. We had four shots to complete with a nine day turn around. We were asked to remove all forms of working technology, slightly destroy the buildings, add some age, overgrowth, and make it feel like a living world. It was described to us as ‘Revolutionizing’, which seemed fitting.

[wide]Legion Studios Revolution[/wide]

After a group review of the shots, we decided tracked matte paintings with roto-generated mattes were the best option for our timeline. Our matte painter of choice was Yvonne Muinde, an extremely talented artist based in New Zealand. Kyle Spiker, our lead compositor, was located in L.A. The massive rotoscoping job of over thirty people was managed by Huey Carroll of L.A. and Kevin Shawley of Boulder, Colorado. Supervision was handled by James Hattin at our facility in L.A.

With the shot count being so low and having Aspera as our backup, we had the perfect opportunity to test BitTorrent Sync in production.

As the matte paintings and rotoscoping progressed, the latest work was available to everyone at all times. As Kyle worked locally, all of his final imagery was synced on the fly to the server, where it could be reviewed, noted, and sent directly to the client using whatever delivery method they requested.

[wide]Legion Studios Revolution[/wide]

We are now using BitTorrent Sync on the upcoming film Jem and the Holograms, eschewing much of the Aspera server in favor of this direct artist-to-artist sync. Every tool has its place, and BitTorrent Sync has become essential in our arsenal.

The benefits of utilizing BitTorrent Sync here at Legion Studios are immense. We are upgrading our server connection and developing internal tools such as automation to maximize the capabilities of what BitTorrent Sync has to offer. Creativity and creation is what we do best at Legion. With the help of BitTorrent Sync, we are free to focus on delighting the client by delivering the best products without logistics clouding our creativity.

After working at some of the foremost visual effects companies in the industry, we founded Legion Studios as a way to change the structure of how the industry works. Allowing artists to work in their own locations allows Legion to access talent from all over the world. We have been developing this workflow since 2001, and actively working for more than a year under the name Legion Studios. Twitter: @VFXLegion and Facebook: