Deluxe Ent. investing in file-transfer tech

10GB network backbone to offer fast digital transfers

As production schedules continue to shrink and global day-and-date releases become more prevalent, filmmakers have been seeking faster methods of transferring files between cities and countries.

To address that, Deluxe Entertainment Services is making a significant investment in a private 10GB network backbone to offer fast and secure encrypted digital-file transfers between continents. The network, dubbed Deluxe Express, links the company's Los Angeles, New York and London operations. During the coming months, it intends to connect offices in Burbank, Toronto and Vancouver.

Deluxe locations also include Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Sydney.

The use of such networks to send files is not a new concept; broadband-service suppliers like Sohonet offer industry-targeted services. But Deluxe believes that though other suppliers and post facilities also offer connectivity, the size of its pipe and in-house established service could be an attractive option for filmmakers.

"We created kind of a virtual building that covers thousands of miles," said Kevin Dillon, an executive at Deluxe's EFilm Hollywood location. "We can push work from one location to another as if we are pushing it around our one building in Hollywood."

The company said the network could send 1 terabyte of uncompressed content in 38 minutes (a one-hour 2K data file is estimated to be 1.3 terabytes). Its first use: The two-hour uncompressed 2K data file of Fox's "The A-Team" was transferred from EFilm Hollywood to Deluxe Digital London in real time.

Upon receipt, Deluxe created 35mm film negatives for theatrical-release prints, digital-cinema packages and foreign versioning for the European market.

"Shipping delays and airline disruptions beyond your control suddenly go away," Phil Provenzale, senior vp international postproduction and theatrical services at Fox, said of the service.

The cost to send an average feature-length movie could range from $14,000-$21,000, which Deluxe executives estimate is similar pricing to overnight shipping. Rush assignments will cost more.

Supplier Core180 assisted in the network's design and implementation.