UPDATED 22:47 EST / MARCH 06 2017

CLOUD

Amazon acquires Thinkbox, which renders computer imagery in Hollywood blockbusters

Amazon.com Inc. has acquired Thinkbox Software Inc., a firm that produces software for managing media rendering workloads, for an undisclosed sum.

The news was revealed today in a terse post on Thinkbox’s website. Founded in 2012, Thinkbox makes software that is used by media and entertainment architects and engineers to manage render farms. Those are high-performance computer systems that render computer generated imagery for film and television visual effects.

The company’s Deadline render management system works on various cloud platforms, including AWS EC2, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure, and is complemented by Krakatoa, a volumetric particle rendering technology, Xmesh, a geometry caching system, and Draft, an image processing automation tool.

Thinkbox has about 40 employees in offices in both Winnipeg and Los Angeles and claims clients such as Burrows, DK Studios, Luma Pictures, Milk VFX,and Pixomondo. They have used the software for movies such as “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” “Thor,” “Green Lantern” and “Avatar.”

As part of the deal, Thinkbox will be joining Amazon Web Services, the online retail giant’s cloud computing platform, although whether it will remain as a standalone product is unclear. The company said only that “at this point, it’s still business as usual for us.”

The acquisition isn’t the first video-related buy for Amazon. It acquired video solutions startup Elemental Technologies Inc. for $500 million in September 2015 and video communications tool startup Biba Systems Inc. in 2016. Both of those companies’ technologies are used in the recently launched AWS Chime, an Internet voice service competitor to Skype for Business, Slack, WebEx and GoToMeeting.

Not much is known about Thinkbox’s funding coming into the acquisition. The only details on its LinkedIn page state that the company is privately held. Founder Chris Bond previously co-owned a company called Frantic Films, which was subsequently sold, suggesting that Thinkbox may have been bootstrapped using Bond’s own wealth.

Image: Thinkbox

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