Case Studies

Harbor Picture Company: A New York Premium Brand Enables Next Generation Collaborative Workflows


Harbor Picture Company has designed and built some of the most state-of-the-art post production facilities in New York City. They already occupy 50,000 square feet of space in Soho, and just broke ground on New York’s largest scale theatrical mix stage and premier screening room outfitted with Atmos, 3-D, and 4K projection. Harbor also recently deployed Signiant’s Media Shuttle, a hybrid SaaS large file transfer solution to address a critical aspect of the next phase in their business growth.

“We’re not just moving dailies, but all of the post production work done outside of our studios, in various locations around the world. Our work is becoming more mobile while large data sets are becoming more a part of the post production landscape.”

– Zak Tucker, Harbor Pictures Co-founder

The Challenge: Transmitting Large Files to and From Multiple Locations

Harbor supports the work of everyone from famous producers to emerging filmmakers. However — no matter if it’s a short, a commercial, or an episodic television series — handling the transmission of large files has become an increasingly regular and challenging aspect of every project.

Two competing forces currently transforming the industry are making it especially problematic: file sizes are continuing to increase while clients and editorial teams are becoming more dispersed, requiring larger and more numerous file transfers over longer distances throughout the production and post production process.

“We’re not just moving dailies, but all of the post production work done outside of our studios, in various locations around the world. Our work is becoming more mobile while large data sets are becoming more a part of the post production landscape,” said Harbor Pictures Co-founder Zak Tucker.

“We needed a better solution for transferring files and many organizations in our network were using Signiant’s Media Shuttle, so we began vetting that as a replacement for FTP.”

“When you handle post production for a feature film or episodic series, you emulate the multiplex experience for the filmmakers and need to work with the original, very large files acquired on the set,” explained Tucker.

Media Shuttle proved to be the optimal solution for Harbor Pictures. Harbor needed a cost-effective solution that could quickly handle all of their files transfers and could provide an easy-to-use, secure interface between their four locations as well as to partners on the west coast and overseas. And with file sizes exceeding a TB for the picture post and sound post divisions, they didn’t want to worry about file size caps.

The Solution: Fast, Secure, Scalable and Cost-Effective Large File Transfers

Media Shuttle’s file acceleration technology speeds transfers up to 200 times faster than FTP, and being able to send and receive files quickly is vital in coordinating all of Harbor’s business. On a typical day, there are 150 people working across 30-40 projects for clients such as Fox, Disney, NBC, Showtime, and HBO. “Game of Thrones,” “A Most Violent Year,” and “St. Vincent” are among the studio’s recent projects.

Coordination is crucial to the kind of work we do,” said Tucker. “For example, for ‘The Knick—Season 2,’ we wanted to move color work near the sound stage so we built a DI facility there. That meant we needed to keep the team there in synch with Harbor in terms of media access. Signiant makes that possible.”

The need to transfer larger and larger files is becoming a costly aspect of media creation. And many in the post community are looking for a way to lower costs for their client. Media Shuttle’s pay-per-use SaaS pricing model allows just that, with the added advantage of enterprise-grade security.

“The data transfer requirements are always increasing as we go from HD to 2K to 4K,” Tucker said. “When you start transferring such large data sets, there’s a cost associated with that for our clients, so we needed a viable solution that made everyone feel like they were getting the best value—and that offered the security protocols we could stand behind. That’s a ‘must have’ in this business.”

The Results: Easy-to-Use Interface That Supports Next Generation Collaborative Workflows

At the same time that files sizes are exploding and teams are more globally distributed, many film and television artists want a more personalized collaborative experience working with their editors. They want to be closely involved in the editorial process, while not being inhibited by difficult-to-use technologies.

“As the premium brand in New York, we are looking to create an ecosystem for our clients,” Tucker said. “Collaboration and file transfer are important parts of that. We needed everyone—including filmmakers, producers, studios, post production supervisors, visual effects artists, editors, and directors—to feel like they were in the same room, regardless of whether they’re in New York, London or Los Angeles.”

“Using Media Shuttle allows us to support this next generation of collaborative workflows, and do so at a much more reasonable cost. Plus, we can get clients set up and working easily.”

Media Shuttle has become an integral aspect of Harbor Picture’s next phase as a business, helping them continue to lead the way in production and post production in New York. If you’d like more information on Media Shuttle or to find out if it’s a fit for your business, contact us at Signiant and we’d be happy to set up a call or demo.

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