Salon Customer Story
Managing Director, Salon
“MASV is like the Stripe of large file transfer – it just gives you the ability to do stuff yourself. It’s not locked down. It’s got an API. You can customize everything.”
Salon has been a mainstay of the British television and film industry for more than a half-century, and is the longest serving editing equipment rental firm in the U.K. Initially an offline film production and editing equipment rental company, Salon now also provides digital editing systems, support, and cloud services for some of the world’s largest TV and feature film productions including Alex Rider (Amazon Prime), Rebecca (Netflix), and The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4).
Managing director Nick Long has been involved with Salon, a family business, since his youth. He’s watched the company’s client list grow from strictly feature films to a wide array of film and TV productions, thanks in part to the global explosion in streaming services and studios. “Some streaming series have become bigger than any feature film in terms of the number of people working on them,” he explains, with video editors often moving between feature film and TV jobs far more fluidly than in years past. “And I think that’s why we’ve got such a diverse spread of clients, from independent films through to huge television series.”
He says the company’s main focus is on providing the best systems, with the best technical support, at the best price.
One of Salon’s full edit systems
Salon works with some of the world’s largest TV and feature film productions like Alex Rider (Amazon Prime), Rebecca (Netflix), and The Great British Bake Off (Channel 4).
When the pandemic hit the U.K. in early 2020, one of Salon’s major clients was forced to sequester its entire cast and crew in a quarantined hotel bubble to safely film its upcoming season. While this approach worked well for shooting, it wasn’t nearly as effective for a post-production process featuring a couple dozen editors with variable internet speeds.
Enter one of Salon’s latest products – a 2020 Broadcast Tech Innovation Awards finalist for “Best Innovation in Lockdown” – called SalonSync. “It enables you to have full edits at home,” Long explains, using pre-configured storage devices that communicate with Salon’s servers. That way, he says, “everyone has the same media and they’re all kept in sync.”
SalonSync proved an immediate success and was quickly rolled out to a large number of productions. But Long says the system still hadn’t solved the issue of easily and quickly transferring dailies footage from set to storage and the editing suite. “We’d sorted out the editing workflow – sending stuff between editors automatically and getting all our boxes to talk to each other automatically – but we also wanted to integrate getting stuff from set,” he says. Salon had originally devised a workflow that placed hardware on each set, but this process was relatively cumbersome (and especially difficult during a pandemic).
And while Salon had dabbled with other large file transfer solutions for set-to-storage transfer, they all involved several additional and time-consuming steps. “When we were using other solutions, like Aspera, whenever someone sent a package an assistant would then have to download it and move it to storage,” he says – not ideal with multiple large packages arriving each morning.
What is a MASV Portal?
The easiest way to collect large files from anyone, anywhere.
Invite contributors to your custom-branded MASV Portal page. It’s as easy as sending an email.
Long says he immediately saw MASV’s value and began setting up MASV Portals for his clients. Portals are fully brandable, drag-and-drop web pages that allow clients to efficiently upload dailies footage from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, without needing a login or any other credentials. All Salon needs to do is send collaborators a link to the Portal, and MASV does the rest.
Salon’s use of Portals combined with MASV automations – which can be configured to send footage to cloud or other storage solutions as soon as it’s uploaded to MASV – sealed the deal for integrating MASV into its workflows. “The automations have sped up the whole set-to-edit workflow no end,” he says. And as an added bonus, clients don’t even need to be on-set anymore to get their dailies footage into the hands of editors.
“We pretty quickly realized that if we use MASV and give people a Portal, they can upload their rushes from anywhere,” he explains. MASV relies on a global network of 150-plus servers powered by Amazon Web Services, for the highest performance and reliability possible. “It doesn’t have to be the same place where our boxes are, and because of all the automation tools, once the client sends it out they can forget about it and we handle the rest.”
Long says it was this flexibility which first got his attention when shopping around for a large file transfer service. “This is the thing we need,” he says he remembers thinking while scrolling through MASV’s REST API and developer documentation.
“MASV is like the Stripe of large file transfer”
“MASV is like the Stripe of large file transfer,” he explains, adding that the platform’s easy scalability and pay-as-you-go payment model were other big selling points as he explored the solution without wanting to commit long-term right away. “It just gives you the ability to do stuff yourself. It’s not locked down. It’s got an API. You can customize everything.”
Salon uses MASV Portals to easily collect large files from clients
The integration of MASV into the SalonSync workflow has been a huge boon for Salon, which now uses MASV as its default workflow for getting dailies footage from set – whether the set is in the U.K., the U.S., or even further afield. Long says it’s been a major bonus for ad-hoc requests. “Just the other day, someone said: ‘Quick, I need to get some media from L.A. to London. What can I do?’ And within two minutes I was able to set them up with a MASV Portal transfer link.”
This flexibility has even allowed Salon to expand its reach beyond the U.K. more than ever, taking on high-profile projects in separate countries or far from editors’ physical locations. Thanks to MASV, Salon’s partners can seamlessly upload material from set quickly and easily from anywhere with a connection.
“For shows doing the post production here in the U.K. but shooting in another country, MASV has provided the ability to get their media to editors fast,” he says, adding that MASV also helps make Salon’s solution stickier over the long term. “We never got involved in those transfers before. But now we can really get involved from set to edit, and we’re able to set up that entire workflow for them.”
But at the end of the day, Long says, the main benefit of MASV Portals and automations is the time saved not having to shuffle large files between various sets, storage solutions, editors, and other post-production staff.
“No one has to worry about it – the files just come into our system and editors can start working. So they’re saving hours.”
“No one has to worry about it – the files just come into our system and editors can start working. So they’re saving hours, because generally rushes get uploaded overnight and in the morning they’re ready to work. So there’s no more spending one or two hours every morning managing all that media.”
Because the MASV file transfer process is so easy, he says he doesn’t get file transfer-related technical questions from clients or collaborators anymore – even though he only sends out a brief, three-bullet-point email explaining how to use MASV to new collaborators.
“I don’t need to give them instructions on the rest,” he explains, “because it’s quite obvious when you open the app where you put the files. No one yet has called up and said, ‘Oh, I’m stuck. What do I do?’”