Four must-haves for modern media workflows: Enhancing your MAM solutions


Laurent Fanichet
by Laurent Fanichet
Issue 97 - January 2015

It's always been about the struggle to manage lots of assets and adapt your MAM to suit in the world of digital media workflows. In the early years, enterprise storage infrastructure couldn't keep pace with the demands of SD, so the first non-linear editing systems were turnkey solutions with proprietary file and file system formats. In the last decade or so, IT-based solutions have finally caught up, and open solutions for shared storage are now readily available at price points affordable for even boutique post houses.

So now that we've made the shift from digital SD to HD, there's the push toward the quality viewing experience that 4K brings. At the same time, new avenues for distribution are driving workflows to provide quick and direct access to all content for monetisation and reuse, not just work-in-process content. For most facilities, this means implementing new strategies to enhance their MAM and existing workflow, starting with four key issues to consider before making any decisions.

1. 4K content and the need for speed

At IBC 2014 in September, virtually every storage vendor claimed to offer a solution for 4K workflows. But what are they truly offering? 4K technically is just a frame size - 4096 pixels x 2160 lines for cinema or 3840 x 2160 for consumer-but to achieve the quality that people expect from 4K, you need more than just a high-resolution image. You also need a frame rate of 24 frames per second or greater, and a compression codec that doesn't degrade the 4K image quality. After all, to your creative team 4K is 4K raw, not a low resolution codec like most vendors were offering.

The dirty little secret is that it's difficult to stream 4K content at this rate without dropping frames on a shared storage system, so to support their 4K raw claims some workflow storage vendors are reverting back to direct attached storage or proxy editing. Going that route requires modifying your MAM workflow for 4K to download locally for edit instead of accessing directly from shared storage. That means giving up to the collaborative environment that's shortened your production cycles so you can meet the tight deadlines that drive this competitive industry.

The good news is that there are industry-standard, high-performance solutions available that don't require you to disrupt your workflow with tedious downloads and uploads to and from direct attached storage. So when you investigate storage for 4K workflows, your key questions should be: What frame rate does it support? With which 4K codec? Is it 4K raw? Does it work with shared storage or only local storage? How many concurrent streams can it support?

2. Ingest, distribute and the need to scale

Higher-resolutions workflows are not just about increasing storage performance, they're about increasing storage capacity by 3-4 times more than HD, depending on codec. And that's not the only trend that is driving the storage explosion. Much of the storage demand starts right at capture, with live events now being shot with more cameras, and in feature production, with cameras less likely to be shut off between takes.

In facilities that turn projects frequently, the large-scale file creation that happens when files are ingested or file deletion when a project is completed often conflicts with times when users need high-performance access. If the storage can't handle it, facilities are often forced to set up "delete windows" of limited file system access. With tight production deadlines, this can make the difference in being on schedule or off.

The heavy storage consumption continues through the workflow with transcoders spitting out more distribution formats for more connected devices, and content owners creating more second screen content for both live and on-demand markets. And if you're storing content in single-file-per-frame formats like DPX or generate large numbers of files as in VFX, your storage will need to scale accordingly without degrading performance.

So in addition to asking what a storage system's capacity is, you should ask: How easy is it to expand capacity? What's the maximum number of files (not just TB) this storage system can support? Does access performance degrade as the storage fills, as the number of files increases or as files are deleted?

3. Monetisation and the need for longer-term access

At a time when there are more ways to monetise and reuse content than ever before, keeping digital assets accessible to production teams has only become more challenging due to these capacity demands. The all-too-common strategy is to store as much content on high-performance storage as budgets permit, then move older content to offline tape archives as storage fills. In many facilities, unused raw footage is simply deleted after the project is complete with no regard for its future potential.

With a storage architecture that allows content to be stored on less expensive, but secure, digital media, content owners can capitalise on enormous revenue opportunities. The trick is ensuring it still allows direct, seamless access by production teams. Popular storage options include object storage-based solutions, which offer disk-speed access to petascale content, and LTO/LTFS digital tape solutions that are an even more economical choice, particularly for content owners that want to store copies offsite for disaster recovery.

You'll need to find a solution that integrates into your workflow and is economical even after you factor in management. Key questions to ask include: Which types of archive media does the storage system support? Is there automation to migrate content to the archive based on policy? Can archived content be quickly, easily and directly accessed by users? What are the limits to the archive's scale?

4. The need for the cloud

Content production has never been a simple process, but the number of moving parts and scale involved has grown to global proportions. There's more pressure to transcode and deliver content worldwide on more platforms that ever before. And do all this without the added complexity of making and transmitting duplicate copies between remote teams.

That's why many content producers are looking to the cloud to share content across distributed teams. The sticking point is that most public cloud offerings were designed as development platforms for software vendors to build applications and services around and have little, if any, integration for the complex multistage workflows that are common in media production.

Public clouds often require users to adopt new unproven and unfamiliar tools and move assets between stages of the public cloud without careful regard for security or QA checks.

The ideal solution moves the same workflow your team uses today to the cloud so your team can work remotely, sharing content stored on economical, robust storage with the scalability, flexibility and security your team needs. Key questions to ask: Was the cloud built specifically for the demands of media workflows? How much will my workflow or users have to change their daily processes to access cloud-based content? Are the workflow tools for ingest, editing and transcoding available in this solution? Will they work with lower bandwidth connections?

In a business where bigger is always better, and change is the only constant, you need higher performance, greater scale, easier long-term access and the distributed access of the cloud.

You can't afford to do anything else but go big, or go home.


Tags: iss097 | MAM | media | workflow | post production | 4k | Laurent Fanichet
Contributing Author Laurent Fanichet

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

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  • MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

    MULTIDYNE Silverback 4k at NAB 2015

  • Apantac Mi-16 UHD Multiviewer at NAB 2019

    Apantac Mi-16 UHD Multiviewer at NAB 2019

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

    Panasonic Lumix GH5 at BVE 2017

  • Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami 8k camera at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

    Ikegami HQLM-3120W monitor at IBC 2016

  • Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

    Ikegami UHK-430 camera at IBC 2016

  • Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

    Video Devices PIX-E at IBC 2016

  • Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

    Sound Devices Wingman app at IBC 2016

  • JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

    JVC GY-LS300 at IBC 2015

  • AVIWEST at IBC 2015

    AVIWEST at IBC 2015

  • BBright at IBC 2015

    BBright at IBC 2015

  • Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

    Thomson Video Networks at IBC 2015

  • Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

    Lynx Technik at IBC 2015

  • JVC at BVE 2015

    JVC at BVE 2015

  • Grass Valley at BVE 2015

    Grass Valley at BVE 2015

  • Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

    Gearhouse Broadcast at BVE 2015

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

  • Tektronix at IBC 2014

    Tektronix at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics technology at IBC 2014

  • Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

    Cooke Optics talk anamorphic at IBC 2014

  • JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

    JVC GY-LS300 prototype at IBC 2014

  • MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

    MultiDyne SilverBACK at IBC 2014

  • BBright at IBC 2014

    BBright at IBC 2014

  • Hitachi at IBC 2014

    Hitachi at IBC 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck DP-HR range at IBC 2014

  • Ateme at IBC 2014

    Ateme at IBC 2014

  • Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

    Matrox Monarch HD at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Software-Defined Video at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies HEVC solutions at NAB 2014

  • Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

    Elemental Technologies Multiscreen Solutions at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

    Matrox Mojito at NAB 2014

  • Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

    Matrox Capture Card at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

    Guntermann and Drunck at BVE 2014

  • Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

    Philip Bloom on Tour in Belfast

  • Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Cinegy on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Miranda on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Snell on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

    JVC GY-HM600 series camera updates at IBC 2013

  • ATEME at IBC 2013

    ATEME at IBC 2013

  • Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

    Multidyne SilverBack, BullDog and Spider at IBC 2013

  • Cinegy at IBC 2013

    Cinegy at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

    MultiDyne: SilverBACK at NAB 2013

  • Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

    Quantel Pablo Rio at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • AJA at BVE 2013

    AJA at BVE 2013

  • JVC at BVE 2012

    JVC at BVE 2012


Related Shows
  • Media Management discussed at BVE

    Media Management discussed at BVE


Articles
The Making of Zero
Keith and David Lynch

The Brothers Lynch explain how they created the sinister atmospheric world for their new sci-fi short

In a post-apocalyptic world where humankind has emerged victorious in a war against artificial intelligent machines, a young girl dares to venture into the unknown. This is Zero, the new sci-fi short film from acclaimed British writer-director duo The Brothers Lynch which has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tags: iss139 | blackmagic design | davinci resolve | editing | grading | grade | mk2 zeiss | superspeeds | cinema 4d | molinaire | Keith and David Lynch
Contributing Author Keith and David Lynch Click to read or download PDF
REVIEW Canon UJ111x8_3B UHD Lens
Andy McKenzie Shooting in ultra high definition and high dynamic range has become the preferred option for all television productions with a potentially long commercial life. The hir-ing charge and indeed the outright purchase cost of cameras of this standard are not significantly greater than those of high definition standard dynamic range models. With half the world's news reporters now able to capture UHD video on their mobile phones, why give the production crews anything less?
Tags: iss139 | canon review | uj111x8 review | lens | zoom | digisuper | uj90x9b | hdtv | ccu | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
Increasing Diversity in the UK Indie Market
Sam Addo

London director Sam Addo tells us more about how he aims to change the status quo when it comes to onscreen diversity with his new feature, Cards on the Table.

“Over the past thirty years, filmmakers have made movies telling a wide range of stories, however, in my humble opinion, those with disabilities, from the LGBTQ+ community and or those from ethnic minorities remain underrepresented on screen. For example, it is rare to find a film where the lead character has a disabil ity, and that underrepresentation is worrying.”

Tags: iss139 | cards on the table | feature | diversity | blackmagic | ursa mini pro 4.6k | lut | davinci resolve | Sam Addo
Contributing Author Sam Addo Click to read or download PDF
Post Production - Keeping Track
Alex Macleod One of the most important things to consider when beginning a new edit, is keeping track of where all your various media assets are - not only their location on whichever storage drive you chose to work from, but also where you file them away in your project once imported.
Tags: iss139 | premiere pro | editing | shotputpro | post haste | Alex Macleod
Contributing Author Alex Macleod Click to read or download PDF
The Future of Broadcast Connectivity
Jamie Adkin The use of KVM equipment has been essential to meet the evolving needs of the broadcast industry for many years. Over that time, many in the industry have recognised the importance of using IP-enabled KVM to break down technological barriers and enable real-time access to visuals wherever and whenever they’re needed. These components are vital parts in live production environments in particular.
Tags: iss139 | adder | kvm | ip kvm | Jamie Adkin
Contributing Author Jamie Adkin Click to read or download PDF