Radical Media

A leading global media studio!! achieves their longtime goal:
seamless digital operations
RadicalMedia is a multi-disciplinary company that crafts notably moving content such as
feature films, television, commercials, music videos, documentaries and digital
programming. The company long dreamed of becoming a seamless digital studio across
their bicoastal and international locations. We worked with them to not only achieve that
goal, but also put in place a fully bandwidth-optimized system. Now, they turn out their
sought after work much faster and with far less stress.
The Challenge: Transferring large files across the country
Like many media companies, RadicalMedia struggled for years under the challenge of transferring
large files over distance. Their forward-thinking team experimented with different methods, but
continued to feel the drag in their otherwise technically innovative production and editorial
RadicalMedia has post production studios in both Los Angeles and
New York, so their biggest challenge used to be getting raw and
finished footage back and forth across 3000 miles in order to divide
They pieced together means of sending and receiving digital files internally, with clients and
thousands of freelancers, relying on a mix of technologies and “sneakernet” from FTP and FedEx
to personally hand carrying files on airplanes. With high profile clients and high dollar projects,
security was also a concern.
Evan Schechman is the CTO of RadicalMedia, and as founder and primary engineer of the post
production arm of Radical’s team, he’s intimately aware of those old inefficiencies and how
prevalent they still are throughout the industry. Along with Managing Director of Post Production,
Liz Friesell-Mason, he worked with Signiant to up level Radical’s file transfer system and, in turn,
their entire business.
The Transformation: From slow file transfers to time travel
For the first decade plus of RadicalMedia’s life, their IT team made valiant efforts to speed file
transfers and utilize their network’s bandwidth as optimally as possible. Ten years ago, with a 45
MB Internet pipe between New York and L.A., they’d hoped to take advantage of the different
time zones by sharing east coast projects with the west coast studio.
“Even back then, when we didn’t have HD in our pipeline and files
were much smaller,” says Schechtman, “transfer times were too slow
to time travel or even collaborate very well with L.A.”
Over the years, as files sizes exploded and their business expanded internationally, those hangups
only grew. FTP was slow and prone to interruption, requiring constant watch and resends.
Shipping physical media could take days and was a far cry from the promise of becoming a next
generation, fully digital studio. Schechtman also tried purchasing additional bandwidth. Like many
unfortunate souls, he was convinced by the shady promises of Internet providers that a bigger
pipe would speed things up.
But traditional Internet transfer protocols experience throughput bottlenecks and generate
latency that builds as data sizes grow and distance increases. And they were not designed to
utilize additional bandwidth to adjust the problem. Purchasing more bandwidth doesn’t help with
traditional protocols like FTP, TCP and HTTP, because the problem is latency, not bandwidth.
Traditional Internet protocols can’t handle large files over distance.
While we all should give homage to those who built the early Internet, its foundational protocols
were written in the ‘70s, long before “big data” was a buzzword or HD was a standard.
Schechtman tried some smart tricks to make his bandwidth work for him, like employing MPLS to
make sure he had preferred routes. But nothing provided substantial improvement.
“It’s very frustrating, as the person who signs off on buying big
Internet pipes for the company, to find out that traditional means
do not let me realize the full bandwidth I’m paying for.”
~ Evan Schechtman, Radical Media CTO
Then, in 2013, Schechman got a call from a Signiant sales rep. At first, he was annoyed. In fact,
he’d researched Signiant years before, when we were only building software for huge media
giants and had yet to embraced cloud software development.
“To tell you the truth,” says Schechtman, “we looked into Signiant years ago in the heyday of
Final Cut Pro, and it was very expensive to the point where a business of our size could never
afford it, even though we recognized the ancillary benefits like secure transfers and return
receipts. So when we started getting cold calls from Signiant people, I thought ‘there is absolutely
no way!’”
Enterprise File Transfer for Everyone’s Budget
But Schechtman changed his mind after hearing about Signiant’s cloud based, hybrid SaaS
solution, Media Shuttle (released in 2012). It offered an affordable and flexible pricing model for
next generation file transfer technology that was previously only available to large companies with
multiple on-premises data centers and enterprise budgets. After all, our original software was
developed for companies like Disney and BBC. It took the cloud revolution to bring that power to
the masses.
RadicalMedia looked at other file acceleration solutions, but Signiant offered the best price and
flexibility. They wanted to start off with a small number of users and grow organically without
being locked into expensive fixed licensing commitments, and Media Shuttle’s SaaS pay-per-user
model allowed just that. “We did a test transfer and were very satisfied with the results,” says
“Now, I can say that Signiant's service has become a public utility for
us. I don’t believe we can operate without it.”
Radical was finally able to capitalize on all of the bandwidth they were paying for. Time travel had
become a reality. But they took it further. “We worked with the Signiant sales and engineering
team to synchronize critical volumes between our bicoastal facilities, which really unlocked that
promise from ten years ago of becoming a seamless digital studio,” says Schechtman. “And that’s
A Radical Shift in Project Delivery
While Schechtman, as CTO, handles strategy, purchase and setup of RadicalMedia’s technology,
their Managing Director of Post Production, Liz Friesell-Mason, uses Signiant on every project and
is really the one who turned Radical’s post studios into a thriving business.
Friesell-Mason started managing both coasts with a goal of having L.A. work as a fully integrated
“outpost” for the larger New York studio. Before RadicalMedia had Signiant, she faced some
exhaustive challenges, especially with the hard air dates of episodic television. One show is
especially telling of the difference Signiant made.
GT Academy is a reality show on Spike TV (sponsored by Sony and Nissan) that takes gamers and
turns them into professional race car drivers. Now in its fourth season, Radical survived the first
three seasons without Signiant, barely.
“During the first three seasons of GT Academy, we gave it our all and learned a lot, but it was
very stressful with a lot of hiccups in the workflow,” says Friesell-Mason. With 20 cameras per
shoot day, Radical started off with a 16TB pool of media that both coasts needed to use. Dividing
the workload, L.A. might edit three episodes, New York edit three, with L.A. doing all the
“Often, what should have taken a day to finish took two because of discrepancies in media
delivery,” says Friesell-Mason. Since Radical was delivering finals only a couple days prior to air
dates, one day turning into two meant 24 - 36 hour work shifts for her teams.
“It was exhaustive and we didn’t have any buffer to fix mistakes,” says Friesell-Mason. “When we
finally got Signiant, we actually beat the amount of data we used to send overnight with FedEx.”
By season four of GT Academy, Signiant was fully up and running throughout Radical’s network.
And with about ten people working on each coast’s team, they were able to share the same pool
of media, synch their work automatically overnight and easily deliver on time.
“Season four of GT Academy? Barely did I hear about or need to
manage it. That’s how seamlessly and efficiently it ran, and that is a
credit to Signiant.” ~ Liz Friesell-Mason, Director of Post Production
While working on that last season, RadicalMedia also simultaneously produced an enormous
national commercial campaign for Walmart, coordinating bicoastally and with over six agencies.
“People were really impressed with our ability to keep all of our ducks in a row even though we
were 3000 miles away,” says Friesell-Mason. “We literally can’t do without Signiant now.”
Security: When you’re holding Taylor Swift’s prerelease music
2014 was the year Media & Entertainment got shocked into a level of security concern normally
reserved for banks and governments. Now, especially if you’re responsible for the intellectual
property and life work of the world’s most popular artists, security must enter the conversation.
“Security has really become a serious issue for us this past year, as it has throughout the industry,”
says Schechtman, giving an example of an app they released for Taylor Swift. Radical had access
to her prerelease music early in the process and knew it would cost her millions if leaked over the
Internet. With Signiant software, Radical is confident in the security of their high value files, and so
are their clients.
“More and more, especially as we dive deeper into the music
business, Signiant’s security is the only thing that gives clients
confidence to let us have those files.”
The Results
• With Signiant software, RadicalMedia achieved its longtime goal of becoming a seamless
digital studio across its bicoastal and international locations.
• They now meet delivery deadlines without the exhaustive overtime of a few years ago or the
need to rely on FTP and shipping services.
• Radical’s east and west coast post production studios work as one, easily sharing TB of raw
footage and automatically synchronizing edits.
• Radical utilizes all of the bandwidth they’re paying for, even over long distances and with
enormous file sizes.
• And with Signiant’s transfers, RadicalMedia is confident in the security of their client’s files.
We’re proud to have RadicalMedia as a customer. They are storytelling masters, and we are
grateful for the opportunity to support their work and to tell a little of their story.
About Signiant
Signiant software enables high-speed movement of large, valuable files in their entirety over
public and private networks. With acceleration technology to minimize the impact of latency,
enterprise class security, and central control, our software powers most of the world’s Media &
Entertainment companies — from small post production houses to Hollywood studios — and is
increasing being adopted for use with satellite imagery, big data analytics, and genome
sequencing. At Signiant, we’ve embraced cloud-formed software development, and offer unique
SaaS file transfer and cloud storage upload solutions. Contact us for more information.
152 Middlesex Turnpike • Burlington, MA 01803!
p: +1 781 221 4000 • www.signiant.com!