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Content storage, security, archive and management         by George Kilpatrick, Technicolor T he media and entertainment industry is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of financial pressure. This comes from not only the turbulent economic era in which we are living, but also from increased competition and the need to repurpose content for consumption on different platforms and devices. In order to succeed, businesses need to do more with less, making use of archived material, monetisation and also ensure the most valuable asset – produced content and footage – is kept safe and not misused. However, many companies will struggle to do this by themselves due to restrictive cost or lack of expertise. A good option is to outsource these functions to a specialist firm. Why is outsourcing archiving to a specialist firm a good option? Outsourcing the digitisation of archives is proving popular for broadcasters and production houses with a large back-catalogue of footage on tape or film. This valuable asset can consist of raw, unedited material right through to finished content that has already been broadcasted. While some may consider digitising on an ad hoc basis, with teams of researchers looking through old tapes for any content deemed worthy of monetisation, this is inefficient and at best could result in the most valuable content being missed. Digitising the entire archive in bulk is a better option to make digital searching and extracting much easier. Many back-catalogues could contain several thousand hours of footage so such a large undertaking ideally needs to be outsourced to a specialist, who is likely to have the expertise and economies of scale to make this cost effective. A digitised archive enables production houses and broadcasters to insert footage easily into newly created content and opens up the back-catalogue to viewing by those looking to purchase material for use in their own programming. This is possible through creating a lower-bit proxy of the footage and making it visible online via some form of b2b portal. 76 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE International sales teams and buyers can view archives remotely, thus maximising monetisation opportunities. What about storage? How much will be required? Many businesses in the media and entertainment industry are already creating a large amount of digital collateral. This comprises not only the finished deliverable versions of productions, but the source used to create it; all of which needs a large amount of digital storage. To demonstrate how much this could be, it is worth considering the size of an average feature to be exhibited in digital. The uncompressed deliverable for a two hour feature at 24 frames per second (FPS) is around 2TB. The current digital cinema standard limits the bit rate of the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) JPEG2000 image stream to 250 megabits per second (Mbps), which means that the resulting DCP deliverable created from the 2TB would be 160 gigabytes (GB). Combining the different deliverable versions of a feature – 2D, 3D, high frame rate, subtitled/dubbed – as well as the source, easily results in an overall storage requirement approaching tens of TB for a single feature. In the broadcast industry, while the amount of storage required per production is lower - roughly 3GB per hour of final production - the overall amount of material created is going to be far greater. Should storage be outsourced too? To store the vast amount of data generated by broadcasters and production houses a large amount of hard disk space is required. Those that opt to do this in-house need to purchase hard drives, servers and racks, which need to be stored in a climate-controlled environment. What also needs to be considered is the servicing and possible replacement of equipment, as well as the expertise to ensure effective management. Then there is the issue of backup – what happens if those disks are damaged in some way, such as by flood or fire? A cost effective alternative is to ask a specialist post and content management house, such as Technicolor, to host this content and provide the b2b portal and asset management service.