Arqiva DCinema project

Arqiva runs a satellite network that streams films and adverts to cinemas on behalf of film distributors. The network uses a transmission system and satellite receivers from a Canadian company. Movie files are large, for instance, a major Hollywood release may be several hundred GByte.

We were asked to build a system to provide integrated management functions for Arqiva’s main digital delivery process.

The system was installed in 2011, and we continue to work with them as they evolve and streamline their delivery process to cope with changes in transmission methods and new customer needs.  Arqiva’s goal is to deliver a greater number of movies per week and to ensure its equipment and satellite bandwidth is not left idle.

The result

The system runs on a small cluster of servers in Arqiva’s data centre and uses Web Interfaces, Java, Linux Servers, and PostgreSQL to handle the databases.

It performs many functions including

  • monitoring distributor folders to detect when cinema files arrive
  • consistency checks on DCPs (digital cinema packages) from distributors
  • moving files to the correct server for transmission
  • generating transmission file lists
  • checking transmission results and generating reports
  • operator’s web interface

We will be launching a customer-facing portal for the system during 2014.

Working with Humboldt

“That we’ve worked with Humboldt for about five years is credit to its integrity which was established from the outset,” says Ian Holloway – technology consultant and project manager at Arqiva.

“Humboldt provides an integral part of the Arqiva DCinema project and from day one, it felt like they were part of our internal team. Adrian and his team played a major part in the initial scoping of the project and continue to do so as the system evolves.

“Open and flexible in their approach, Humboldt willingly suggests alternative approaches and quickly adapts to changes in the project.

“Communication is essential and it’s one of Humboldt’s strengths. The team readily communicate throughout the project’s lifecycle to its final delivery and acceptance.

“Humboldt’s professional approach, contribution and commitment to this project has enabled us to provide a first-class service to our DCinema customers. For example, Humboldt optimised the processing of cinema (DCP) files, reducing the number of times they were copied over the network from three to just one. This reduced the time it took to process a newly arrived movie by several hours.

“A recent update automates the process of generating delivery report spreadsheets for customers, and they are about to begin a major improvement to our live event management service.

“We consider Humboldt as a trusted partner and will definitely continue to work with them”.

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