VANCOUVER — With credits including Jupiter Ascending, Guardians of the Galaxy and
Maleficent, Gener8 is a leader in 3D stereo conversion services for the entertainment industry. To help filmmakers manage the flow of digital assets between visual effects vendors, Gener8 developed a unique cloud-based asset management system that it also uses internally to move media files between vendors and through each stage of processing. Based in Vancouver, BC, Gener8 needed a mechanism to effectively move full-length video files to and from major studios, mostly located in Los Angeles, and to integrate with the asset management platform to facilitate fast collaboration between vendors.
Network latency between Vancouver and Hollywood — typically 36-38 milliseconds — caused slow file transfers, delaying content delivery and extending production timelines. Working with studios’ high-value content also presented a security issue. Many vendors were unwilling to use SFTP due to its lack of security and inability to transfer large files over the wide area network at satisfactory speeds.
Gener8 turned to Aspera, selecting the Aspera Connect Server to manage media file transfers from ingest through project completion and delivery to clients. Gener8 uses Aspera to pull in VFX composites and associated elements from VFX houses. After files are uploaded and ingested into the pipeline, Gener8 outsources pieces of the projects to third-party vendors, giving each an Aspera login so they can upload and download files through the Aspera Connect Web-browser plug-in.
Aspera’s integration within Gener8’s asset management API allows Gener8 to automate file movement through each step of the process while tracking each project’s progress through the pipeline. For major projects, VFX houses set up automated transfers to send content to Gener8’s Aspera server, which triggers automated processing. Throughout the process, Gener8 enforces maximum encryption, while Aspera’s built-in security features — like SSH authentication and data integrity verification — deliver peace of mind that content will remain safe.
With the same assets, Internet connection, and machines, Gener8 experiences transfer speeds around six times faster than SFTP, enabling fast collaboration with outsourced vendors, so projects can be completed as quickly as possible.
“Aspera is the piece that ties all of us together,” says Jason Navarro, IT manager, Gener8. “It’s the highway for our clients’ assets. And it’s the only thing they’re comfortable with us using within our vendor and client networks.”
With a simple, intuitive user interface, Gener8 doesn’t need to provide instructions or go back and forth with clients and vendors before they start using Aspera. And with known connection speeds, Gener8 can predict exactly how quickly assets will be transferred. Automatic retry and resume of partial or failed transfers provides a worry-free experience.
“Everyone we deal with knows how to use Aspera. It’s so straightforward,” adds Navarro. “That’s why it’s become the de facto standard in our industry.”