Field Report: Maximizing the Technology You Already Have

Time is money and with M2Film, a full-service film production company based in Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark, the time required to transfer files between facilities was getting expensive. A faster way to move large files between locations was needed.

M2Film is one of four companies that comprise the M2 Group A/S, an international producer of advertising, films, animation, and entertainment.

The production work they do involves full-quality, heavy, large data in its richest form. M2Film handles all the production work for a popular, branded animated TV show and each of the forty 22-minute, full HD episodes are about 45GB in size. Each of the files requires multiple versions; 16 different languages with 2.0 stereo to 7.1 surround audio formats, intro and outro clips (including international versions without any graphics), and in a variety of frame rates.

The company distributes more than 8,000 master files to and from its subsidiaries, partners, and customers annually, and needed to eliminate the latency issues inherent with transferring massive amounts of raw data and final work over the internet without compromising quality.

The challenge

M2Film and its subsidiaries, Duckling in Copenhagen, Picture This Studio in Bangkok, and M2 Entertainment in London, needed a way to be able to collaborate faster. The group needed a reliable solution that could handle large size data files, supporting uncompressed film, sound, high-spec CG, 2D character-based animation, and long format CGI animation. With its home base in Denmark, M2Film also needed a better and faster way to transfer data to as far away as Bangkok – 5,000 miles – across its 1Gb WAN. 

Thomas Knudsen, Head of IT & Security for M2Film, said his biggest frustration was knowing that the infrastructure could handle high-speed transfers, but traditional TCP-based file transfers would totally kill the speed due to wasteful handshakes and outdated protocols. The timeworn protocol is a slow and inefficient process, especially for a company simultaneously managing multiple, time-sensitive collaborative projects across continents.

“People cannot understand, if they have a 1 gigabit pipe, why their data transfers are slow. The reason? Traditional file transfer protocols like FTP and others invented in the early 1970s are not designed for anything remotely larger than a few gigabytes,” he said. “And getting faster lines will not solve this problem alone.”

Solution

While looking for a faster data transfer solution in 2009, M2Film discovered Data Expedition, Inc. (DEI) in a technical forum online.

“I downloaded the free trial for ExpeDat and could instantly see that it worked. I also liked that they listed their pricing on their website and the software was available in multiple platforms. The Mac interface convinced us and we made a deal,” Thomas said.

DEI’s software transfers data as fast as M2Film’s infrastructure will allow. The software’s proprietary Multipurpose Transaction Protocol (MTP/IP) technology automatically determines the maximum speed and keeps adapting to any changing conditions in real-time. In addition, M2Film only pays for active transmissions and are not limited by the number of users. This is a cost-effective benefit for a company with 300 creative staff, and about the same number of customers and external partners.

DEI provides unlimited, one-on-one technical assistance as needed as part of the contract, a feature not outsourced. Thomas appreciates this because his engineers like to try to “break things” – to see for themselves how the software works and to find problems – and likes that DEI lets them get under the hood and share suggestions for how ExpeDat and other DEI products can better suit their needs.

Basically, DEI is changing the behavior of your network. They solved our data transfer problem instantly and have proven to be the right solution ever since. I just ordered 10 gigabit WAN connectivity – and ExpeDat will ensure that we can also make full use of this impressive speed for years to come.
Thomas Knudsen, Head of IT & Security, M2Film
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