ATLANTA—When I started my company, I knew there were some core technologies needed to make our new post-production house, Blackwater Digital Services, successful.
Based in Atlanta, Blackwater specializes in quality control, mastering, conversion and transcoding, deliverables, asset management, and worldwide digital delivery. Basically, we help with anything needed to properly exploit a film domestically and internationally, following post-production. We like to say we’re ready to help with that “last mile” of a film’s journey, bridging the gap between post-production and distribution.
As with most of the media and entertainment industry, file movement is critical to our business. We are under considerable pressure to deliver more content, to more destinations, in a shorter amount of time—and those file sizes can be very large.
Because of this, Signiant Media Shuttle was one of the first things I spent money on. I had prior experience with Media Shuttle using it with various companies and knew it was fast, reliable, and user friendly. Regardless, we still did our due diligence before acquiring a subscription for Blackwater Digital Services, considering many alternative high-end solutions. Media Shuttle met all our requirements for speed, storage flexibility, security, and reliability.
FTP WAS NOT AN OPTION
First, standard FTP was not an option. FTP-based solutions can be impractically slow and unreliable when moving anything more than about 500 MB. FTP is prone to data loss and corruption, not to mention well-known security holes; that’s why many larger companies have effectively banned FTP. We receive and deliver many very large feature-length 4K ProRes files, which can be 800 GB each. Media Shuttle not only allows us to deliver over the internet, but it is also incredibly fast, especially for assets that large.
Blackwater relies on Media Shuttle’s multicloud, hybrid cloud flexibility to move content from various storage locations and types used in today’s modern production environment. Signiant Media Shuttle supports on-premises file and object storage, public cloud storage including AWS S3, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, and Google Cloud Storage, and hybrid storage architectures where both on-premises and cloud storage are in play. We aren’t limited by our tools when changing storage types and adapting to situations.
Because of our broad, global client base, we regularly work with clients who have notoriously slow and unstable internet connections. It is not uncommon to be hindered by high latency, interrupted connections, and very little bandwidth.
Signiant’s acceleration technology and Checkpoint Restart address those exact issues for us. I can’t tell you how many times a connection has dropped around 80% for a client overseas uploading a huge file to us. The ability to restart where that file transfer dropped has saved the day on multiple occasions. We don’t need to babysit the transfer, a feature our teams appreciate with late-night deliveries. On top of that, Signiant improves on standard internet transmission speeds up to 200-fold and is increasingly impactful with longer distanced clients or congested networks.
Post-production is a long process, with lots of files moving all the time, like a well-oiled machine. All those files, along with ancillary data, need to move quickly and reliably, or the entire machine breaks down. Media Shuttle meets our production and business demands admirably, better positioning us to take advantage of new opportunities and business. With Media Shuttle’s unique SaaS architecture, we get the best of both worlds: fast, reliable file acceleration, along with complete control over storage type and location. Additionally, Signiant’s tech support, on the rare occasion we need it, is fast, friendly, and knowledgeable.
More information on Media Shuttle can be found at www.signiant.com (opens in new tab).
Nathan Ross is Founder and CEO of Blackwater Digital Services, a company he started in 2018. Prior to starting Blackwater Digital, Nathan was the director of digital operations at Vision Films. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on his company can be found at www.blackwater.digital (opens in new tab)
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