Managing digital resources

When he started the avalanche digital video recording, not only changed formats for capture, this forced to use storage media that seemed appropriate in principle but have fallen short over time.

By Luis Pinto *

When we talk about managing video files, we must consider the compatibility with industry-standard formats, integration with editing systems and other audiovisual systems, speed editing, easy implementation, management options must be effective, and count with high availability and redundancy, so should be the ideal way to manage digital resources and headers television broadcast solution.

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Among the developments generated to handle all the data attached to the video clip, the MAM was created by its acronym in English (Media Asset Management). The MAM is a management system for audiovisual content management tools and transcoding of digital material help groups working to catalog, share and protect all resources and projects, and optimize all files. Today we can find on the market many MAM solutions, presented in a modular way, which eventually can have comprehensively covers all areas of audiovisual business.

These Content Management Systems covering all this variety of workflows, usually implemented in large production companies and broadcast content for its implementation required strong amounts of initial investment. But many companies do not have such a complexity of workflows to cover but they need to organize and manage their audiovisual content with a cost commensurate with their activity there too. For these companies, there are also highly scalable solutions and low cost that can accommodate your production needs, we must assess it is the one that fits to suit our needs and budgets.

In the field of television broadcast content managers are needed for different areas of production: production of news, event recording, preparation of parts for programs receiving external information, intake contents and quality control, documentation and file, dubbing and subtitling, repair advertising, preparation programs, rights management, administration and management control, programming grids, rundowns broadcast, publishing multiplatform IT content (OTT, web, IPTV, ...) etc.

Among other things MAM should help perform various tasks such as:

  • Organizing audiovisual content in a filing system
  • Keep track of each file and project
  • Convert the contents in as many formats as needed
  • Help users quickly find the appropriate file
  • Protect the filing system with appropriate access permissions assigned to each user
  • Export and distribute content in any format
  • Exchanging material between the archiving system itself and external processing solutions, editing and broadcasting.

At the time of purchasing one of these systems, you should consider aspects such as:
Scalability, Infrastructure suits your needs, whether for a small group of local work to a large international company, solutions range from a server, and a local workstation to dozens of servers and hundreds of clients distributed across a WAN. Ideally, your MAM system can use multiple storage arrays and multiple servers running various types of components together, this to ensure load balancing or redundancy as required by their work. Remote servers must communicate and synchronize with each other via the Internet or a WAN. Ideally, there should be no limit to the system architecture.

Supported formats, MAM must be compatible with several formats, saying compliant I mean this must acquire natively various open formats industry standards, such as encapsulants files (MPG, M2P, AVI, F4V, MXF, GXF, MOV, XDCAM , MP4, TS, WMV, WAV, M4A, P2, Microsoft Smooth Streaming) and Codecs (MPEG2, DV, DVCPRO, without compression, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO100HD, H.264, AVC, AVCIntra, Apple PRORES, IMX, VC-1 , PCM, AAC, WMA) in this way not only prevents the loss of quality in the files, but also the time spent to convert from one format to another.

ProsecutionThe video processing engine integrated MAM is recommended that fast and has more features than many specific products transcoding files. For large systems can be deployed in a topology server farm with load balancing, it allows us to generate low-resolution files automatically transcode between file formats for imports, exports, at any time between the two actions, or according to a certain schedule.

Associate multiple transcoded versions of the file to the original content, to distribute them instantly in any format; Cut, cut, paste and merge video files for basic video editing; Include additional audio channels, surround sound and packaged in TS and adaptive bitrate formats for Internet distribution.

If the MAM feature image precision, the created files and transcoded can pass directly from low to high resolution during playback, or low resolution files can be used in editing software and move to the timeline later with versions high resolution, without damaging the editing, will definitely save man hours for all processes.

Compatible with different storage systems, The limit a MAM system to a particular type of storage can lead to injuries during the operation, so I recommend that you can use connectivity NAS, DAS, SAN via Ethernet, fiber optic, iSCSI and SAS. Also, use tape drives and libraries as a backup and nearline and offline storage. The role of management lifecycle information (ILM) to automatically move files between storage systems 1, 2 and 3 level based on the frequency of access or any other rule defining processing is not like a news archive file to conservation.

Speed, A very important asset is time, the speed with which access to information is essential if the MAM is fast, users can start working with the contents very beginning the import. Videos can be played, trim and cut before they sell out even copied to the storage system. There are systems where videos can be edited while being captured and metadata can be entered manually or automatically during or after capture. That's speed.

Another important feature is the client user interface, which is regularly completely virtual. All objects, folders (bins), resources and even miniatures are read from the database, so you can quickly browse folders with hundreds of resources. In addition, MAM, users can work with nearline and offline files as if they were online, keeping low-resolution versions accurately image in HDD storage systems.

For all this we have spoken a reality, the MAM system must be present ease of use, its interface must be simple and intuitive. Something so simple can be to import the material is enough to drag files to the client interface or copy them to a folder control. Basic information about the clips, such as format, popularity and location can be displayed in the thumbnail, and all metadata should be available through the user interface with one click. Clips that can be played directly from the interface or from a content player, allows users the play at the speed they prefer, and score points and areas using keyboard shortcuts.

Metadata and searchesTo quickly retrieve content archiving system, MAM allows administrators to create fields, unlimited categories and types of metadata.

The resources can be organized into virtual folders for easy access. From the same file, you can create virtual resources with different metadata. Searches can be free text (Google style) or products with any existing metadata. Frequent searches can be saved search folders to keep them on hand at all times. Optionally, users have even the possibility of image searches to locate a specific image from all pictures and videos archiving system.

Export and distributionMAM allows users to distribute a large amount of multimedia resources across multiple locations. The files can be made available to subscribers to download them from the web through a web client or through a browser equipped with personalized customer service. During an export, the files can be automatically transcoded on the fly in multiple formats. If the exported files to be imported into an external system, you can create custom reports in XML metadata and automatically exported along with the files.

SecurityBy default, access to files is restricted to users who use Desktop Client permits independent and individually assignable user to add, reproduce, edit, download and delete resources. The permissions can be assigned to a specific project, folder or file, or even for individual metadata fields. You can authorize users to request a specific permission, if granted, gives them rights to a single occasion. There is the possibility of limiting parts of resources to video or audio, hiding sensitive information to certain users.

Management, What we seek with the MAM is that the filing system is organized by projects that contain media files, metadata and security. In an installation of MAM there may be several projects with different types of storage media, archive servers, and user metadata fields. For security and management MAM Administrator, all actions must be recorded, along with the data of the place, date and author. This record must be able to view, sort, filter, and easily export share. All disposal operations should be virtual so that administrators can recover data from the recycle bin.

* Luis Pinto is technical / commercial adviser TVyVideo + Radio.

Quoting products and technical services for Latin America

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