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Small Tree’s Gigabit Card Goes a Long Way for Luma Pictures

September 13, 2005 by Joe DiBenedetto

Greater Broadband Access Increases Productivity For Visual Effects Leader

SANTA MONICA, CA, September 13, 2005 When you’re a top visual effects company working on multiple projects simultaneously, network speed is critical to meeting client deadlines. For Luma Pictures, creators of visual effects for such motion pictures as “The Cave”, “Underworld”, “Underworld 2″, and “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”, bandwidth necessity is at a maximum, with 50 to 60 employees concurrently accessing multiple servers throughout the firm’s Santa Monica production facility. To increase system performance, Luma turned to Small Tree Communications, designers and manufacturers of high-performance networking equipment for the Mac OS X.

“We weren’t getting the throughput that we needed working solely with off-the-shelf Apple G5 workstations and Xserves,” stated Chris Sage, vice president of operations for Luma Pictures, “so we had to find a solution that would meet our high bandwidth requirements. Small Tree’s multi-port Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) cards and 802.3ad link aggregation system provided us with a substantial upgrade in network performance. We went from getting 50 to 60 megs on a port to 200 megs of saturation”.

Unlike the Power Mac G5′s built in Ethernet port, Small Tree’s multi-port cards (two, four and six ports) support jumbo frames, which means higher data transfer rates. The Dual, Quad and Six Port Gigabit over copper Ethernet adapters are 64-bit/133Mhz PCI-X network interface cards containing two, four or six independent 10/100/1000 megabit ports on one PCI-X adapter. When utilized in conjunction with Small Tree’s 802.3ad link aggregation, the bonding of multiple Ethernet ports into one virtual interface, bandwidth levels increased to provide a more streamlined workflow solution for Luma Pictures.

“We had originally started looking for alternatives in the middle of ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’, because there was too little bandwidth for the number of staffers we had working on the film,” Sage continued. “As soon as we installed Small Tree’s gear, things started to shift into a more workable direction.”

Along with facilitating production, utilizing the Small Tree equipment was a cost effective solution for Luma Pictures. Without the GbE cards and link aggregation system, Sage maintains that Luma would have had to purchase additional servers to handle the workload created by its creative and dedicated staff.

About Small Tree Communications
Small Tree Communications is dedicated to providing unique leading edge enterprise networking solutions to the Mac. With world-class high performance computing experience from its team of networking and kernel developers, Small Tree brings new technology peripheral products to meet the demanding application requirements of Mac customers. Small Tree provides leading edge solutions. It also offers copper and optic-based multi-port gigabit Ethernet cards and 10Gb Ethernet adapters for the Mac. For more information, please visit

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