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"Deutsche Telekom will certainly also be our partner for future cloud projects. Because we can expect reliable, fast and highly available technology from them. And, what's more, they are competent partners at eye level who reliably meet any legal requirements of the GDPR."
Ernst Feiler, Director Technology at UFA

Film production company UFA opts for the Open Telekom Cloud

As if the film industry wasn’t already turbulent enough, all the market players also have to constantly adapt to new demands. And that also applies to established players like the German film production company UFA, which is currently modernizing its value chain. The next step: Distributing raw material via the cloud instead of by courier.
The film industry is undergoing one of its biggest upheavals since the invention of color television. With more and more people consuming video content on the screens they carry around with them, the value chain is increasingly moving to where the audience is already: the cloud.
It’s a development that UFA GmbH is well aware of: The German market leader in film and television production has already been digitizing its value chain for the past 10 years.
The Potsdam-based company’s next step is to distribute raw material via the cloud. Film material that is shot at different locations during production – such as at outside locations or film studios located far away – is currently still transported to the relevant post-production sites by courier. In the future, some of that data will be automatically transferred directly to the Open Telekom Cloud via the internet. All those involved in the process, such as the editors who turn the material into finished clips, will then have access to it.

UFA: "Tens of thousands of kilometers saved thanks to the cloud"            

What might at first seem trivial actually has a big impact: because the digitized distribution process not only saves UFA a lot of money, it also protects the environment. Previously, at the end of each day of shooting, courier services and production drivers transported the raw material on hard disks between locations all over Germany and the post-production facilities by road. "These are tens of thousands of kilometers that we want to eliminate in the future with our new full-cloud workflow. It also increases overall efficiency and production speed," says Ernst Feiler, Technology Director at UFA, "And that’s all without our employees having to change the way they work.”
That’s because, after every shoot, the crew plugs the storage media from the film cameras into a network-attached storage (NAS). Previously, the NAS was then picked up by a courier and taken to Potsdam. In the future, however, the NAS systems can simply stay put at locations with suitable connectivity – and transfer the data into the Open Telekom Cloud via the internet.

Affordable object-based storage instead of a constantly growing archive

Why doesn't UFA send the film material directly to the production headquarters via the internet? Quite simply because the company would then need their own storage capacities, which would not be freely scalable. That would involve having to purchase, store and maintain bulky IT hardware. In the Open Telekom Cloud, on the other hand, UFA will be using low-cost object-based storage (OBS) from now on. The data stored there can be classified at different levels: "cold" for occasional access over a year, "warm" for monthly data access and "standard" for more frequent access. The less frequent the access, the cheaper the storage.

Long-term goal: digitizing the entire value chain

The full-cloud workflow is currently being tested as part of a proof of concept (PoC). In the long term, Technology Director Feiler plans to move the film production’s entire value chain to the cloud. "Deutsche Telekom will certainly also be our partner for future cloud projects," says Feiler. "Because we can expect reliable, fast and highly available technology from them. And, what's more, they are competent partners at eye level who reliably meet any legal requirements of the GDPR."

More about the UFA GmbH reference

UFA is one of the best-known entertainment brands in the world and market leader in film and television production in Germany. Founded more than 100 years ago, UFA has developed into a comprehensive content specialist providing digital and multimedia content – to all major German broadcasters and other partners.
  • Previously, vans transported film material across Germany between the filming location, headquarters and archive.
  • Although this was customary practice in the industry, it was slow and also caused high transport costs.
  • For this reason, the entire workflow had to be digitized and automated without changing the employees’ workflow.
  • A fully automated cloud workflow with S3-compatible object storage in the Open Telekom Cloud.
  • Film crews transfer their footage to a network-attached storage (NAS) system. From there it is transferred to the cloud via the internet.
  • For that, Deutsche Telekom relies on widely-used standards. This ensures low costs and less complexity compared to individual software and hardware.
  • Transports between filming locations, headquarters and archive are reduced. This saves time and money.
  • Post-production teams have access to raw material from anywhere and can work with it directly.
  • Finished video material is automatically archived in the cloud.
  • UFA is currently testing the process in a proof of concept (PoC).
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