Media Shuttle simplifies production, post and distribution workflows at Blazing Griffin, ensuring accuracy and timeliness of file delivery, leaving time for collaboration and creativity.
Blazing Griffin, located in Glasgow, Scotland, is a versatile media and entertainment studio recognised for its film and television production, post production and game development. The studio places a strong emphasis on storytelling and creative media projects, and encourages collaboration and diversity within the team.
Blazing Griffin takes care to coordinate remote clients, media and locations, making the most of the time their artists have to polish their work ahead of deadlines. Their business thrives on keeping production workflows running smoothly, ensuring content security, and allowing their skilled team to focus on tasks requiring a high level of creativity.
Signiant Media Shuttle has become a crucial infrastructure element at Blazing Griffin that simplifies their production, post and distribution workflows. It ensures the accuracy and timeliness of their file delivery, increasing their efficiency and eliminating long delays or the need to actively manage the transfer process.
Down to the Wire
Media Shuttle serves Blazing Griffin as a multifunctional solution to file transfer issues, a kind of Swiss Army knife approach regarding its versatility. The service is not only simple to deploy and manage but also convenient – its consolidated design, placing various functions into a single platform, is what enhances users’ efficiency.
When working in television, final deliveries always run down to the wire, usually arriving the day before the broadcast. As the technical operations manager for Blazing Griffin in Glasgow, Scotland, Paul Martin is intimately familiar with this lifestyle, and he bears the responsibility of optimising every available moment by supplying the technical tools and efficient processes required for all creative staff to maximize their productivity.
“Recently, we were in the final stages of finishing an Amazon Prime documentary when some last-minute footage from the US that we needed to add, still had not arrived,” he said. As the deadline rapidly approached, the camera-original UHD footage was loaded as very large files onto physical drives, but there wasn’t enough time to ship them across the Atlantic.
“Using Media Shuttle, we were able to upload the original camera rushes overnight from the location, and received the footage for our final program first thing the next morning,” said Martin.
Bringing Remote Closer
Blazing Griffin has used Signiant Media Shuttle since the company launched in 2016, initially with a post-production team of only four people. Since then, the studio has expanded to more than 80 people specialising in post-production services and video games, as well as film and television production for TV shows, feature films, documentaries and other projects.
Glasgow serves as the primary hub of Scotland’s film and TV production communities, with BBC Scotland and STV Scottish Television located within a mile of each other, and there is also significant interaction between Glasgow and London. Consequently most of Blazing Griffin’s post production work is for Glasgow or London-based productions, alongside various international clients.
“Producers frequently want to come and shoot their projects In Scotland, where we have many great locations. Furthermore, after production, they quite often choose stay on – there’s no need to go back down south for post services if the facilities they need are here,” Martin said.
However, filming locations such as the Highlands can be remote and hours away from fast, reliable network connectivity. Signiant helps make remote locations and long distances much more tenable.
Technical Operations Manager, Blazing Griffin, Paul Martin
A Day in the Life
On any given day, Blazing Griffin’s 14 offline editing suites, four grading suites and four mix suites must be fed with footage, VFX shots and sound elements coming in from London or remote locations. Martin is responsible for making that happen. “Fighting fires and fixing things” is how Martin describes his duties. Filling gaps and making sure everybody has what they need is a big part of his job.
Martin’s team of edit assistants and engineers oversees technical operations and the master control room (MCR). The MCR acts as the data I/O department sitting in the middle of everything Blazing Griffin does in post, pulling files in and pushing files out. Average transfer payloads amount to several hundred gigabytes per day. The growing amount of 4K content is quickly raising those totals.
Martin regards the increase in episodic production, and the number of different versions needed for different markets, as drivers of the need for fast, uncomplicated file transfer of large media files. Deliveries to broadcasters typically include multiple versions, including UHD. When multiplied across all episodes of a show, the data payload quickly adds up.
“We are currently working on the biggest show we've ever done. We're making 12 different versions of that show, six episodes, which is 72 master files. That's just for one show,” Martin said. “We have up to 20 projects at any one time. It's a lot of data to manage.”
Share Portals for Working from Home
Blazing Griffin’s Glasgow facility and its broadcasters are not the only places files move between. Blazing Griffin supports remote editing for its staff. Those experiencing poor performance connecting into their on-premises system, or network challenges with cloud editing platforms, use Media Shuttle to move media into their local drives at home.
Media Shuttle share portal
“They only need to go to their media drive and see that the material is there because the assistant has pushed it to them. No further step is required of the editor. They don't need to acknowledge it, they don't need to upload, they don't need to download it, Martin said. “When you explain that to editors, there's a light bulb moment of, ‘Oh, I can keep working. I don't need to hit this download button and wait for it.’ For them, that's great.”
Audio mixers and staff also use Media Shuttle to work remotely. Martin’s team can provide them with a share portal into their on-premises Blazing Griffin workspace, and they pull down whatever files they need to work at home.
“I can set that up in five minutes. As soon as they're done, I can take their access away. It's no longer a security risk, and I don't need to worry. Being able to grant and revoke those permissions for 5-10 minutes or an hour is super handy.”
Facility-to-facility transfers also occur if a project relocates to or from Blazing Griffin via another facility. Media Shuttle is used to transfer files the night before to be ready the next morning.
“It's not just faster – it can also be guaranteed. When you put something in the mail, it may or may not arrive on time. With Media Shuttle, it is guaranteed to be there the next day. It is never really going to take longer than that,” Martin noted.
Simpler is Safer
Media Shuttle’s ease of use is also a crucial factor because Martin enlists technicians to help administrate the use of Media Shuttle. “It's very easy to onboard people. I can have another technician come in, show him or her the interface and say, ‘Give that person permission for that amount of time and set an expiration’,” he said.
“It's super simple because there’s no command line and no one has to know about backends and servers. It's well laid out and the interface is nice. For any other system, it would be a full day of teaching multiple steps.”
“I appreciate the granular permissions and setting folder access per user. If a production requests, ‘This director wants access to this information,’ they can only see that one folder and no others, which in our industry is very important. If we didn't have that level of granularity in Signiant, we'd be looking at other products that do.”
Paul Martin and Blazing Griffin have mastered the functionality of Signiant Media Shuttle to meet the challenges of modern media production. From negotiating tight deadlines and remote work to managing large file transfers and complex projects, Media Shuttle has been a trusted tool. www.signiant.com