Dicentia tests cloud encoding with stellar results

Dicentia tests cloud encoding with stellar results
Case Study
February 23rd 2015 at 3:21PM

This issue, we take a look Scandinavian content ingest company Dicentia’s recent tests in cloud encoding, and how it managed to surmount a 24-hour turnaround of ‘herculean’ proportions

Dicentia tests cloud encoding with stellar results

With offices throughout Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Dicentia is one of Scandinavia’s leading content ingest companies covering everything from digital post production, DVD and Blu-ray authoring, DCP files, digital asset management and digital delivery to master replication and conversion, as well as sound engineering. Over 25 years, the company has supported the region’s broadcast, film, music and publishing industries in maximising the value of their content. “Our mission is to support our clients in getting their content out to the consumers on whatever media is available from VHS to DVD/Blu-ray and now digital solutions such as VoD, apps, smart TV and other platforms,” explains Kasper Holme Johannesen, managing director of Dicentia. 

As part of its digital strategy, the company has developed MediaCloud, an online archive and distribution system that handles audio and video files, metadata validation, subtitles, artwork, and a screening room to send out online screeners. Dicentia is a Netflix Preferred Partner, GooglePlay and an iTunes Movie Encoding House and supports clients on a worldwide basis.

The perfect storm

During its lifetime, Dicentia has developed an infrastructure that is capable of providing what it would describe as the right level of technical and operational support to enable its clients to operate exactly as they wish. In doing so, the company has been able to attract some of the most creative staff in Scandinavia and they are supported by state-of-the-art technical facilities. Dicentia has been one of the region’s biggest Telestream Vantage encoding platform users for many years. 

However, even the best-resourced facilities can be sorely tested by extraordinary customer requirements and this is exactly what happened to Dicentia when it was presented with a massive task to meet a customer order. The requirement was to encode 20 feature films in 24 hours in order to deliver the order to one of its VoD customers.

The Herculean one-off task facing them was to encode, resize and burn the films in local Scandinavian language subtitles, all within a 24-hour period.

While the Dicentia team has the skills and experience required to meet these timescales, the big challenge was to source the necessary encoding facilities. Working with Telestream’s local Danish channel partner, Alleroed-based Tech2Net, the team decided their best option lay in Vantage Cloud Subscriptions; a system that was untried, having been launched by Telestream less than a month earlier. Vantage Cloud Subscriptions is a new service that provides a broad range of enterprise-class transcoding and file-based workflow automation for Amazon Web Services (AWS) on AWS Marketplace.

The new service is a natural extension of on-premise Vantage transcoding and provides discretionary capacity for managing demand peaks, prototyping new concepts, and deploying cloud-based media services. Transcoding farms can be purpose-built and collocated with content libraries stored on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). “Vantage Cloud Subscriptions saved the day for us. Without this service, we would not have had a product to show our customer the next day,” explained Johannesen.

Intuitive cloud-based operation helps fast implementation

Even though Dicentia was an existing Vantage user, it had no experience whatsoever with Vantage Cloud Subscriptions or AWS. However, the company was quickly able to access the cloud-based service and start working on the encoding task.
With the ability to securely provision anywhere in the world, content creators can define the scale, location and performance of virtual Vantage domains, allowing them to deliver products and services to their customers and organisations.

Telestream’s new Vantage Cloud Management application allows users to create, monitor and manage Vantage Virtual Domains from any location. When creating a virtual domain, the user selects the appropriate region for the domain, instance types and the optimal number required for the network tasks to be run. After the domain has been created, it can be dynamically scaled up and down as required while tasks continue to run. For monitoring, a dashboard view provides a health status for each running domain. Snapshots of workflows and configurations can be taken for easy migration and restart of a domain configuration in the future.

“Getting started with Vantage Cloud Subscriptions was very easy. Installing the Telestream Vantage Cloud Manager software on to our system took around 30 minutes, and once installed you don’t notice the difference in operation from our traditional Vantage encoding system,” commented Bjørn Petersen from Dicentia’s engineering team. “It provides a seamless add-on to our existing Vantage platform, taking files from our servers and delivering them back once they’re completed. It worked perfectly.”

As well as providing all the additional encoding facilities that Dicentia needed at very short notice, Vantage Cloud Subscriptions proved to be a highly cost-effective production platform for the facility. “In this situation, where we needed the resources to encode 20 feature films immediately, Vantage Cloud Subscriptions proved to be tremendously good value for the money, and already we can identify many more opportunities to use it within our business operations,” explained Johannesen. “In a facility such as ours, you never know how big your workload will be from one week to another. Now, whenever we need to, we can open up this cloud service and respond as fast as the situation demands. This is a fantastic add-on for established Vantage users.”

‘Broadcasting in the cloud’ has become a buzz term that many organisations use whilst far fewer really understand the creative potential that it offers. Dicentia’s experiences have provided an interesting proving ground for Telestream. “With the instant provisioning that cloud-based resources provide, media professionals such as Dicentia can hit the ground running whenever a business opportunity arises. They can quickly add to their production resources without committing to more expensive, inflexible premise-based equipment networks,” commented Jim Duval, Director of New Products at Telestream. “This creative spontaneity can energise, motivate and inspire organisations, since they can take immediate action whenever the need arises. Whether it’s about being first to market or moving content to market faster, cloud-based resources enhance productivity and give companies a greater competitive advantage.”