• Tech & Tools

Case Study: Digital movie premiere with MATE

The film industry remains under pressure due to Corona. Film shoots have to be postponed, film premieres and trade shows cannot be held as usual in front of a live audience, as access to cinemas and locations is not possible due to current regulations, or the conditions for holding such an event are not economically feasible due to a severely limited number of participants.

Organizers have the possibility, to master the crisis by creative solutions. Together with the communication agency monteundvogdt- Communication from Berlin GmbH, which also specializes in the holistic implementation of premiere events in front of large audiences, MATE developed a solution.

From the cinema screen to the home screen

If the mountain can't come to the prophet, ... then the premiere will come to the guests' homes. As logical as this option may sound in today's "streaming generation," there are various issues and risks to consider: "leaks," the illegal recording and sharing of films and content before the actual release date. A major economic risk for the film distributor lurks here, which is why a recording that appears on the Internet must be clearly attributed to a participant.

What is still difficult in the case of a cinema premiere and can be limited by the use of surveillance technology in the cinema auditorium and the handing over of recording devices before entering the auditorium is no longer a major problem, even for non-professionals, thanks to modern technology in the case of a live stream. Thus, a solution for securing the film was needed.

How digital guest management became copy protection

For the first digital tradeshow (presentation of upcoming titles to buyers and cinema operators) of a film distributor in Germany, the registration of the guests and the guest management was done with MATE. In the first step, each of the 620 participants received a confirmation email after successful registration and their personal access code two days before the event. After closing the registration, a guest tribute (in this case the guest name) was rendered over the stream, making the original footage and the guest name inseparable. Thus, recordings and illegal copies, are immediately attributable to a participant.

The name of the participant was positioned over the stream.

The difficult thing here: The name could not simply be superimposed on the film within the website, as it can be removed. A grip into the trick box is necessary!

Thus, the MATE team was faced with the challenge of having to render 620 different versions - one for each participant - of the film. In initial tests, the team then came up with a duration of one month, just for rendering 2 hours of film. Through various tricks and parallelization (processing all the videos simultaneously on multiple servers), they were then able to reduce that one-month duration to just a few hours.

We want to know more - An interview

To get an even better insight into MATE's approach to this, we asked Matthias Heicke, CTO of MATE, a few questions about it.

Matthias, one of the challenges was the individual copy protection by a watermark. How did you solve that?

Matthias: From the beginning, we planned to render the watermark directly into the film and not just "overlay" it. For this, the original movie is taken and a process is triggered for each guest, so that an individual movie is created for each guest, uniquely signed with their name. The edited out video files have a randomly generated file name so that they cannot be opened randomly without the correct link.

How could a simultaneous start be guaranteed with so many servers and streams?

Matthias: The created files are stored on our Content Object Storage (COS) at IBM/Frankfurt. For each guest, a livestream is now created from this film, which broadcasts the appropriate film part at exactly the right time. This enables a live experience and builds another barricade that makes sharing difficult. Only a 90-second time window is "broadcast" (this serves as a buffer and allows a smooth display even with fluctuating Internet connections).

Links can be shared quickly, as we know. How was it guaranteed that only one user could watch per link?

Matthias: Each viewer gets an individual invitation - via a link with a unique guest identification number one opens the website. If someone else opens the page with the same link, the first visitor is automatically logged out (this allows you to easily change your device if, for example, the battery of your notebook is empty) but only a maximum of one viewer can use a link at a time.

Film premieres: More than just a video

In order to maintain the live character of premieres and to include another security barrier, the film is not simply embedded as a video, but played out as a live stream. Thus, every viewer is at the same place at the same time and possibilities like countdown, live polls or chat rooms round off the premiere feeling.

A few words from our client

Die nun schon langjährige Zusammenarbeit mit MATE hat sich auch in diesem Fall ausgezahlt. Die im ersten Schritt definierte Aufgabenstellung hat sich in der konkreten Umsetzung des Projekts immer wieder erweitert. Auf alle Herausforderungen folgten Lösungen, die teilweise unser technisches Verständnis sprengten. Als Startgeber und Erstanwender bauen wir mit MATE nicht nur auf einen Dienstleister, sondern haben mit ihnen einen Partner, welcher mit uns gemeinsam probiert, immer noch ein Stück weiter zu gehen. So wurde aus der eng gefassten Ursprungsidee ein Produkt, welches sowohl rein digital, aber zukünftig auch für hybride Veranstaltungen genutzt werden kann. Unsere Anforderungen waren:

  • Live Character
  • Manipulationssichere Namenseinbettung/Wasserzeichen
  • Verhinderung von Doppelnutzung der Zugangscodes
  • Stabile Wiedergabe, auch bei hohem Nutzeraufkommen

Die hohen Sicherheitsanforderungen haben zu vielen kleinen Details und Entwicklungen geführt, die unseren Kunden sofort überzeugt haben. Zu jeder Neuentwicklung gehören aber auch Rückschläge, welche in den Tests immer mal wieder vorkommen können und auch wichtig sind. Das Entwicklerteam von MATE hat sehr viel Herzblut in das Projekt gesteckt und am Ende konnten wir eine grandiose Premiere feiern.

Das Ergebnis hat überzeugt und wir denken schon gemeinsam weiter. Neue Features werden den Einsatz auch Abseits von Premierenfeiern möglich machen, aber schon jetzt nutzen wir mit MATE ein digitales Tool, welches vom Save the Date bis zum Ausspielen von digitalen Inhalten als Live-Stream perfekt miteinander in einem System verzahnt ist und das macht sich bezahlt, wie Kundenanfragen zeigen.

Conclusion

MATE is not only a stand-alone guest management tool, but can be smoothly and without much technical effort, linked via interfaces with other products, e.g. platforms for live streaming. In this case, the guest data collected through the MATE registration form on the event website transferred seamlessly.

Would you like to use our tool for such a case? We will be happy to assist you with this.

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