Brazil-based Rain Networks connects independent cinema theatres across a global digital network. With offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, New York, and London, the company digitally delivers films to theatres worldwide. With a network quickly becoming global, Rain Networks embarked on a joint venture with New York-based Emerging Pictures to further expand the network across the U.S. and England.
Rain Networks originally uploaded content upstream via a satellite connection to a satellite service provider who beamed down a multicast signal to theaters. There were three major issues with this process: installing a satellite dish at each screening site was costly, the upstream was very slow, and the venue’s systems were difficult to manage remotely.
File integrity and transmission interruptions also created issues for Rain Networks. When transmissions were disrupted, the company was unable to send only the lost segments, and the whole file had to be sent again. Resending large files became even more problematic as they were charged for the amount of data transmitted.
Rain Networks sought out FileCatalyst, a software solution providing reliable and secure, accelerated transfers for large point-to-point file transfers, to address the issues they faced.
Implementing FileCatalyst was a collaborative process that resulted in customizations to FileCatalyst’s technology that better suits Rain Network’s scenario. To prevent performance issues on the theatre-end, FileCatalyst configured their solution to automatically compress and send files at the best time for the network. FileCatalyst also installed their HotFolder application which monitored folders and automatically performed scheduled upload and download tasks.
“Initially, we paid a monthly ISP fee based on the number of transfers and gigs, as well as a rental storage fee,” said Fernando Fortes, Technical Manager at Rain Network. “With FileCatalyst, our ISP costs are ten times lower than with the previous satellite system.” Rain Network also easily integrated FileCatalyst into its KinoCast, a web-based cinema management system.
FileCatalyst accelerated all of Rain Network’s transfers, addressed the issue of resending files after signal interruptions, and provided an easy to use solution allowing for remote management. Rain Network now uses its maximum bandwidth to perform reliable and secure transfers that keep the integrity of files intact and cuts the transmission time down by hours.
For the theatre operators, the new system just makes sense. As Glen DaSilva, Rain Networks Manager describes, “Every screen location has a playout server. If we have a movie booked at theatres A, B, and C, Rain Network puts the movie into a folder on the main media server, which is monitored by FileCatalyst’s HotFolder. As soon as the client’s playout server sees that the file is available in the folder, it initiates the transfer.” Additionally, FileCatalyst’s user interface allows Rain Network to manage each system remotely.
“Now, with the system managed by FileCatalyst, our ISP costs are ten times less than what they were using the previous satellite system.”