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

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Submitted by Lee Griffin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The challenges of media workflow automation
Dave Clark The media workflow challenge has never been more complex, and it's growing. In response exploding consumer demand for high-quality, engaging programming, media operations are under the gun to create content and deliver it to an ever-growing range of platforms and devices. Managing video assets - that is finding them, accessing them, and using them efficiently and effectively - is one of the biggest barriers to success in today's environment.
Tags: iss126 | automation | workflow | cloud | on-premise | hybrid | mam | square box | Dave Clark
Submitted by Dave Clark Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Ad servers and switching solutions
Peter Blanchford Hardware-based ad servers and switching solutions have been around for a long time and, broadly speaking, do the job just fine.
Tags: iss126 | starfish technologies | ad server | ts splicer | ts switch | gop | Peter Blanchford
Submitted by Peter Blanchford Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
IP Based Remote Production
Ed Calverley Over the last few years Suitcase TV has been getting involved in remote production at the software layer, and I want to talk about some of the ways we have been getting involved in remote production, including a specific trial that we did last year with BBC Sport for the Euro 2016 tournament in Paris.
Tags: iss126 | remote production | IP | jt-nm | smpte 2110 | suitcase | Ed Calverley
Submitted by Ed Calverley Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Dressing Room - shooting steamy scenes
Josh Portwine W's latest factual entertainment series relies completely on the ability of fixed rig filming setups to make cast members forget their inhibitions. Described as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, "The Dressing Room" gives TV audiences unprecedented access to team-sport dynamics off the field of play by inviting them into the hidden world of dressing rooms at venues across the country.
Tags: iss126 | aw-eu70 | aw-rp120 | stv | motion content group | shooting partners | Josh Portwine
Submitted by Josh Portwine Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation - part 1
Dick Hobbs - new Imagine you are the director of the Champions League Final, knowing that 200 million people will be watching your every decision. Or you're directing the Eurovision Song Contest. Or even, to be honest, the Tunbridge Wells local news opt out. And at live minus 30 seconds, all the screens in the monitor wall suddenly go black then show a demand, in broken English, for 300 Bitcoin.
Tags: iss126 | iabm | british airways | ransom | bitcoin | cybersecurity | cots | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Media Production Show and other news
Duncan Payne So, the 2nd Media Production Show has been and gone. Hands up who went to Islington by mistake? I know at least two people who did. Their secret is safe with me! For me, the sign of a great trade show is when I come away really enthused about an innovative use of existing technology or a brand new product. When I find something that combines both these things, then I'm a very happy man.
Tags: iss126 | adamantean | finance | leasing | mps | ptz | sam | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 Review
Ben Sherriff The Canon Cine range of lenses have been around for quite a few years now. The CN-E Cinema Prime lenses became an early alternative to using PL adaptors or the Zeiss Compact Prime lenses. Other than that the choice was rehoused stills lenses or maybe if you were lucky a set of Zeiss super speeds. The cine lens set became a cost effective offering for sharp prime lenses with clear and accurate markings for proper functionality.
Tags: iss126 | canon | review | cn-e | 18-88mm | t4.4 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Lighting - the stuff you do not see
Tama Berkeljon Lighting is the stuff you don't see that makes a difference in what you do see. How the audience feels about a character and whether the scene is scary, tense or upbeat are communicated by the quality and placement of light. Lighting can take the drama to a whole new level - think about film noir with all those shadows on the wall.
Tags: iss126 | outsight | ghost in the shell | led lighting | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Integrated and automating marketing campaign production
James Gilbert ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. It operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and delivers its content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand via the ITV Hub. ITV has the largest share of the UK television advertising market and its family of channels attracted a total share of viewing of 21.4% in 2016, the largest audience of any UK commercial broadcaster. ITV's main channel is the largest commercial channel in the UK, delivering 99% of all commercial audiences over five million.
Tags: iss126 | pixel power | itv | marketing campaign | James Gilbert
Submitted by James Gilbert Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
TV Futures
Jane Lawrence When I was younger my dad used to encourage me to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none. One of those clich© things parents hand down to their children. However, as I have grown and gone through different stages of education I have found this little piece of wisdom has followed me. Don't get me wrong, being amazing at one thing is a great skill to have, but for me having a good understanding of everything is also vital.
Tags: iss126 | tvfutures | ccitv | portsmouth | preditors | Jane Lawrence
Submitted by Jane Lawrence Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Implementing an IP workflow
John Smith -new The eventual move to incorporate IP into your infrastructures is an inevitability. However, with justified concerns about interoperability and uncertainty about which vendors are best placed to help organisations achieve their IP media networking and content delivery goals, is it any wonder there is hesitation about moving forward? Broadcasters very wisely, don't want the pain without the gain!
Tags: iss126 | medialinks | ip | mdp3020 | gateway | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Monetizing OTT
Oliver Botti Competition in the TV arena is hotting-up for traditional broadcasters with even ESPN, a strong-hold of sports TV, seeing a reduction in subscriptions with the number of American homes paying to get the service declining by more than 12m since 2011. With Mintel reporting that the subscription video streaming market in the UK is due to exceed revenues of GBP 1 billion (EURO 1.37 billion) by 2019, and account for 38% of the total UK video market, traditional broadcasters clearly cannot afford to turn a blind eye.
Tags: iss126 | ott | moentizing | fincons group | Oliver Botti
Submitted by Oliver Botti Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Understanding the process of video production
Joseph Adamson In this article I will focus on understanding the process of video production. The use of miniaturised video equipment and understanding the capability of the kit chosen for the job will be mentioned. The video production process is a road map, which not only helps the producer to minimise problems during production and achieve professional results, but also saves time.This process can be tricky to understand and many videographers are self taught, including myself.
Tags: iss126 | video production | wasd | ail | africans in london | Joseph Adamson
Submitted by Joseph Adamson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Advances in LED lighting innovation with Rotolight AEOS
Rod Aaron Gammons There's no doubt that lighting plays a critical role in videography, filmmaking and photography. It's the area of content capture that brings added creativity to shoots, whether that's filming a wedding, producing a commercial or making a movie. Much like cameras have evolved over the past few years, lighting has also evolved; from the traditional tungsten, through to the use of LEDs. Of course LEDs have been revolutionised too, now delivering powerful, cost and energy efficient solutions to creatives.
Tags: iss126 | location light | led lighting | AEOS | rotolight | anova | neo | Rod Aaron Gammons
Submitted by Rod Aaron Gammons Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audience engagement with advertising in an OTT world
Hank Frecon Adapting to how we advertise in an OTT world starts by reaching audiences on every screen with tailored content. Most consumers viewing habits include multi-tasking and juggling different activities at the same time, particularly the younger viewing audiences who tend to watch in a more fragmented, on-demand manner. The task of monetizing content in a way that suits this method of viewing pushes monetization strategies to adopt new technologies, so first let's look at the opportunity.
Tags: iss126 | ott | advertise | acr | source digital | Hank Frecon
Submitted by Hank Frecon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The 7 Steps to Saving Film
KitPlus We live in a world where - thanks to everything from smartphones to cheaper professional gear - more and more footage is being shot today than ever before. It's a little known fact, however, that as more movies are made, archived physical film works all over the world are in danger of being lost to the damage of time. The Library of Congress alone has documented that only 20% of U.S. feature films from the 1910 and 1920s survive in complete form, and according to European Parliamentary Research, as of 2014, 21% of European film works were held in archives, yet only 1.5% was digitized.
Tags: iss126 | bmd | film scanner | cintel | blackmagic | goldcrest | davinci | grade | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
360 degree video storage requirements
Dave Frederick Swim with bears, run with the bulls, get a pads-eye view of a rocket launch: 360 degree video production, also known as cinematic VR, makes these and many other bucket list-worthy events more accessible than ever. The format has evolved into a powerful storytelling tool, and one that changes not only the way in which visual experiences are shaped, but also the way in which media consumers perceive and interact with video content.
Tags: iss126 | 360 degree | vr | storage | vfx | ssd | san | nas | quantum | Dave Frederick
Submitted by Dave Frederick Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Remote Production - Speed, Control, Infrastructure
Ian Cookson - new Remote production gives broadcasters the ability to capture a wider range of live events, such as regional sports, news or music festivals, and mix them in a remote facility hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Tags: iss125 | calrec | live production | pac-12 | artemis | Ian Cookson - new
Submitted by Ian Cookson - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine