Originally published in Shoot Magazine August-September 2018 issue link here.
With the cost of Internet coming down and the availability of robust Internet service providers (ISPs) going up, a client may set foot in the post house lobby a lot less often because post services are no longer bound by the building’s four walls. Just four years ago, well over 2,000 ISPs existed on a global basis, and now, there are some 500. Wait a minute, you say, that seems to run counter to availability going up. It’s not the quantity but the quality, a digital Darwinism that conglomerated the strong and dispensed with the weak. Thus, the quality has gone up. And these global ISPs, as well as last-mile providers, have allowed the postproduction house to come to the production, whether their location is across town, across the continent, or across the globe, like, for instance, on a palm-lined
beach on an island of Fiji. That’s where the TBS’ Wrecked, a series that involves a plane crash, survivors and comedy, is shooting now its third season. I don’t know if it was through AirBnB, VRBO, or what, but the production got a sweet deal in renting an entire beachside resort to have a base of operations, a hotel for cast and crew and a deserted beach location all in one. But Fiji is 5,500 miles from L.A. An 11.5hour flight. If production had some poor soul live on a plane and fly back and forth to L.A. to hand deliver hard drives of camera raw footage, a one-day
roundtrip would cost around $1,200 or more. A month of that adds up to $36,000. The FedEx or UPS model of shipping drives for dailies remarkably is
similar in cost. Overnighting from Fiji and back is not cheap. DigitalFilm Tree is as much Internet logistics company as it is postproduction house. We’ve paired the Internet and information technology disciplines with our dailies and color
grading, leveraging our relationships with ISPs and last-mile providers to bring DFT’s full post service offerings remotely to clients, however remote their location, such as an island in the Pacific. Fiji has some of the most expensive Internet access in the world, but the cost has come down to approximately $25,000 per month for 100MB up and down. However, the Fijian government provides an approximate 50% tax rebate. Therefore, it costs the production around $11,000 per month still far less than a frequent flier or a monthly
DigitalFilm Tree designed an integrated hardware/software product called PostHost to facilitate a site to site VPN (virtual private network) from the resort to our post house. This isn’t the nebulous “cloud”; it’s a direct, securely encrypted tunnel between us. Camera raw files are transferred via PostHost from location to our ProStack object storage solution in L.A. DFT processes the dailies and delivers a bin folder of quality controlled media back to the Avid editor, who was in Fiji.
The editor soon moved to London, so we established a PostHost VPN between us there, too. And one to the Wrecked L.A. production office. And a couple more to Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta and L.A. for their promo material.
This Internet Protocol based production and post is growing exponentially. Bonded 5G cellular is upon us. I’m pretty sure we soon will start receiving raw digital footage directly from camera. Regardless of where that camera may be in the world, the post house will be right there, too.
Ramy Katrib is CEO/found of Digitalfilm Tree in L.A.