Art of the Guillotine | Burbank’s 2G Digital Creates First Ultra-Efficient ‘Media Factory’
By Chuck Filliettaz as appeared in Art of the Guillotine, November 29, 2012
Founded in 1993, 2G Digital is the only mid-sized post-production facility competing in the exclusive world of studio/network mastering. Although our roots are in post, about a decade ago we began to add services such as digital backup and delivery following the advent of full HD production and nonlinear editing. Our preferred term for these types of services is fulfillment, and our clients include major movie and TV studios that rely on 2G Digital to ready content for sale in the form of iTunes® downloads, and for distribution on other digital platforms.
The recent commissioning of 2G Digital’s new, state-of-the-art facility in Burbank – the first all-fiber post-production operation of its kind – is the crowning achievement in our company’s re-invention as an ultra-efficient media/fulfillment factory. A central component in the new operation is Signiant’s Media Managers+Agents and Media Exchange file movement software, which drive automation and workflows that enable us to not only stay relevant in our industry, but steps ahead of our competition. As one of only five iTunes Preferred Vendors, 2G Digital current delivers between 350 and 450 movies and TV programs per week from studio clients to Apple for electronic sell-through via iTunes stores in the U.S., Germany, Japan, Mexico, and other territories. The Signiant accelerated file transfer solution, deployed over our high-speed fiber optic infrastructure, has enabled us to operate at much greater capacity and with a smaller and leaner facility.
One factor that drove our adoption of the Signiant solution were requests from several of our large studio customers that also have existing investments in Signiant. The software provides powerful security, management and control of automated file exchanges between 2G Digital and clients with Signiant agents, speeding such tasks as the processing of raw content, adding metadata and closed captions, or formatting conversions for distribution in other countries. Signiant’s Media Exchange software offers 2G Digital a powerful and interactive tool for initiating desktop-to-desktop transfers, in turn enabling secure delivery of finished content to broadcasters and playout centers.
The Signiant solution has been integral to our relationships with electronic sell-through providers, and the ability to deliver new and innovative service offerings. For instance, one longtime studio client began requesting “special deliveries” for global markets, which lead to our creating a service niche of preparing international versions of digital content. With Signiant facilitating high-speed and security media transfers, we’re now able to create and deliver electronic sell-through files in “three-twelve” packages, each containing three dubbed languages and subtitles in 12 languages.
The economic climate of the past few years has challenged companies like 2G Digital to evolve very rapidly and adopt technologies that can advance our market leadership. In a business climate where so many post-production companies are being consolidated or struggle to stay relevant, we like to think of ourselves as the “little engine that could” — a company that has been able to adapt and thrive by embracing technologies that help it stay nimble and operate as efficiently as possible. Signiant’s file movement solution is a prime example of that strategy, helping 2G Digital create new efficiencies in aggregating and delivering digital media and enabling us to expand our business opportunities across geographic boundaries.
Author Chuck Filliettaz is the owner of 2G Digital, a media fulfillment and post-production company based in Burbank, CA.