Written by Shona Smith on Nov 5, 2019. Posted in Interviews

Spotlight on FOCUS exhibitor Film Locker

FOCUS talks to Keiran O'Brien , CEO of Film Locker, first time exhibitors at FOCUS 2019.

It is your first time exhibiting at FOCUS, what brings you to this year’s event?

Yes, this is our first time at FOCUS. We were motivated to exhibit by a combination of factors including the scope of the audience, but for us the ability to shout about the environmental benefits of what we do was the main draw. It’s so exciting to see the industry start to take notice of their contribution to global warming and try to find some practical long-term solutions to it.

Can you tell us a little about Film Locker, and the services you provide the entertainment industries?

We provide a back-up storage of rushes and masters to the media industry, mainly broadcast production and advertising. Our methods are much more secure than storing one copy of the material on a failure-prone hard drive, and we’re also much cheaper and eco-friendly than putting everything up in the cloud. We’re also DPP Security awarded and we’ve set the industry standard in best practice protocols.

As an Albert certified Sustainable Supplier, you are exhibiting in the Green Zone. Can you explain why Film Locker has this sustainability status?

Firstly, Albert have been beating the drum for sustainable production for years, trail blazing and keeping the pressure on the industry to look inward on its environmental impact. It was a huge moment when we certified as ‘Sustainable Supplier’ by Albert proving that our method of storage is extremely low carbon but also highly sustainable.

Our process produces as little carbon as possible, but we then buy offsets the remaining few kgs of CO2 produced in the process – making our service to our clients carbon neutral. The alternatives, storing data on hard drives is just not an option for professionals, the fail rate, if they’re not spun is around 15% on average, over three years. Saving all the data in the cloud is also a poor option as its expensive and creates huge amounts of CO2, around 90,000kg for every 10 terabytes stored for five years. 

Our alternative method is using low carbon LTO tapes, twin copies, verified, stored in separate low energy, secure locations. We provide an annual certificate to our clients showing how much carbon they have spared the planet by using us. In one case, an agency client saved the equivalent of around 632 tons of CO2, the same as around 1,275 return flights to Europe, or heating 100,000 houses for a day.  We take all the pain and labour out of storing the data, properly catalogued into projects for the time production companies or agencies need. If they need it back it can be recalled in a day. We also ask that everyone re-uses their hard drives, they are a multiple use product, and use up so much of the earth resources to produce, so they need to be used to their full life span, not sat on a shelf storing data.

Are there particular features of the Film Locker’s service that would particularly interest our audience?

Data security! We’ve seen broadcast clients store their data on single copy hard drives, then come back to it a few years later and find they’ve lost parts of it as the drive has failed. It’s certainly a problem, where do you store all that data? It’s so bulky when on hard drives and it needs to be kept for five years as a standard, so our solution is perfect for them. Plus our fees are an easy cost to budget for, data storage fees are now becoming standard when factored into the pre-planning.

What productions have Film Locker been involved with recently?

We are not able to disclose what data we hold for security reason but across our business we work with TV, advertising and brand content creation companies including Hungry Bear Media, Spelthorne Community TV, large advertising agencies and brands.

Keiran O'Brien

Keiren O’Brien spent his early career working his way through the production ranks for some of the world’s best television, commercials and film makers. After this technical and creative apprenticeship, he became an award-winning music video, commercials and TV director.

Like many great ideas Film Locker was born in 2012 from a personal need for Keiren. Two specific moments of terror and panic revealed that despite now shooting on digital formats no one was taking care of that precious data long-term or setting in place a rigorous but simple process that were practical in the high paced world of production.

The fateful words ‘we should start a company to make sure no one loses their digital-film data again’ led to Film Locker being founded in 2012.

Keirens previous experience in production offices, on set and in edit suites meant he approached Film Lockers offering in reverse to many ‘technology’ companies. He looked at what Film Lockers clients needed from a potential service then matched a technological and secure storage protocol to those real-world needs. This approach means that Film Locker is first and foremost a service company, helping companies big and small to make sense of their long-term secure data archiving needs.

Our service guarantees that once a client completes a project all that’s projects data is secured offline, to a defined I.T protocol and will be returned to a client in its original form ready to work with; regardless of the constant shifts in technology.

Film Lockers also strives to guarantee that this achieved with lightest of environmental touches, leaving as small a CO2 footprint as possible and helping all our clients to reduce their supply chain emissions over many years.

FOCUS 2019 takes place on the 3 & 4 December at the Business Design Centre, Islington. Register here for your free delegate pass to be able to meet with Film Locker, and many more sustainable production resources located in the FOCUS Green Zone.

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