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We’ve all heard the term Big Data – essentially the immense amount of data that requires more than human interpretation to get something out of it. Now if we apply the same rule to video data, you’ll undoubtedly see the humongous amount of video content out there. Media Asset Management (MAM) takes the “Big Data” of video content and makes it much easier to store and organize so you can find find the desired assets in the library of content - as well as many more features.
What does media asset management mean?
MAM – the processes and software utilized to manage large volumes of video and multimedia files, supporting the broadcast and film industry that produces humongous amounts of large and rich media files, with the intent of maintaining a centralized, reliable media library for storing and administering the enormous flow of data.
In the digital media realm, an Asset Management System is any system that is used to tag, catalog, and then be able to track bits and pieces of media and auxiliary files. You can think of it as Windows Explorer or the Mac OS Finder that does “asset management by the OS” – rudimentary tracking and finding files for you.
These particular systems use metadata indexing to tag, find, and retrieve files from different storage sites.
In contrast, think of asset management to be able to talk and work with various hardware and software solutions, like interfacing with non-media technologies. These systems can automate routine processes such as media movement, transcoding, outbound delivery, and can extrapolate context and similar search-based results.
In the media and entertainment field, you would find the trinity of asset management – DAM, MAM, and PAM. Theoretically speaking the DAM – Digital Asset Management is all-encompassing covering sub-categories of MAM – Media Asset Management and PAM – Production Asset Management. At the outset, DAM functioned as a graphics, photo, and file library but eventually became to support rich media assets and video production processes.
As we are concerned with MAM – it deals with the nitty-gritty low-level processes that are associated with the running of any system – facilitating in storage, management, and access to digital data besides streamlining creation and distribution. MAM was created to assist in video production and still serves best in rich media content management workflows.
However, these lines separating the trio have blurred over time. For example, if we take the case of Avid MAM – it handles to a great extent, all the advanced automation and business processes.
It's a well-suited solution for broadcast, television producers and government agencies, to media institutions, sports networks, and brands – virtually anyone building libraries of digital content. In most environments, the overwhelming amount of content cannot be ingested and organized properly. The goal of all of them remains the same however multifaceted the requirements might be: the safe, scalable archiving of video and media files, with easy, efficient and reliable access.
An effective MAM implementation can certainly reduce errors, manual processes, and costs with just-in-time retrieval of material from MAM. Robust access to archived content and security of the content should be the utmost priority of a MAM solution. From ingesting to playout and archiving, the tool is used to manage, review, process, and publish the content – enabling broadcasters to improve upon creativity, boost efficiency, and lower the cost of operations. It makes access to material democratized and not just confined to a library with requisite access to anyone with the required rights.
The first question that comes to mind is how can legacy archives proficiently be transitioned to a MAM deployment? Experts believe the first step towards an efficient transition is to maintain assets and any related metadata. The process may encompass the ingesting of digital or analog tape with additional data like data and photos of the tape label. In case the legacy content is already digitized, consider moving it and its metadata on to a stable storage location that can be efficiently transitioned into a MAM deployment.
An important thing to remember is to identify critical data reliant on the condition of the data. The process can involve quality control, sound restoration, and correction of picture and audio defects. For the classification of data, business owners should take part in articulating the criticality of diverse material to be managed by the asset management platform. With the identification of old material, the process of classification should be carried on for new material and implemented.
The next stride should be to create and define a set of rules to categorize legacy and everyday material, including all data points that anyone in the future could use to find the material. You can deduce the rules by asking the end-users the question – how would they search for a piece of content? Depending on the context of their use you’ll find the same content is searched for in different ways. Now apply the rules and outline what metadata will be associated with such kind of material that will go under the MAM deployment.
Don’t try to do everything in a single step i.e. protect, segment, and enrich. First attempt to protect the content by transforming it into digital form. After that, operators in diverse localities can segment and enrich the content, distinguishing it for user convenience.
Some of the biggest challenges faced when deploying an asset management system is ensuring the proper sizing, material to be adopted by the AM system, conversion, and tagging with relevant metadata such that finding could be easier than a manual library. The amount of content generated now can only be handled with a MAM solution, the nature of work may change over time but we will still be using these to manage assets. Netflix and YouTube - for example are widely recognized MAM platforms.
MAM vendors and aggregators can track the material they are bringing on their platform such as licenses and cross-index material from various sources, which helps users find what they're looking for. The MAM should be planned to cater to functional needs and offer a standard procedure to merge the content archival at all locations. MAM is likewise offered as a SaaS (Software as a service) model, which doesn’t need upfront Capex. And can handle metadata, several subtitle and dub files, and a lot of other data that is required for linear and non-linear play-out.
While some gurus recommend, when you have a large quantum of legacy content, the most reliable way to manage media assets is to run both the new and old systems parallel for some time till all the migration process finishes. Thereby giving user access to both new and legacy content. Although, migration of legacy content and its integration with MAM can be a challenging task.
The best possible manual descriptions and transcriptions should be done by skilled archivists, which in turn will optimize the accessibility of the content. To ensure smooth accessibility, migrate all the existing metadata and proxies for legacy assets. As a part of the ingest process, technical and descriptive metadata should be generated. Besides, cataloged metadata should be included to enrich the content for better results during searches.
Using either local or cloud-based resources, automated scene, object recognition, speech transcription and segmentation can be applied at much less expense, with robust speed and larger volumes of content. At the basic level, the method should be to associate related files to the assets, because these files are already there and only need to be ascribed to provide rich descriptive metadata. This process offers access to a large number of files and enables advanced automated or manual access.
With effective cloud-based media asset management, the content becomes the center of the business. Virtualizing the content supply chain allows users and stakeholders to access content anytime, anywhere, and virtually on any device. MAM systems have rapidly evolved to handle the increasing volumes of content, users, and playout platforms. With such an extent of rapid digitization, MAM with its resourcefulness, fits the expanding digital world perfectly.
ProMAX Ingest to Archive MAM Production Solution
ProMAX is A global leader in integrated workflow technology for creative and broadcaster media organizations for more than 20 years, bringing the most efficient, cost-effective and reliable solutions for the industry. ProMAX with its Platform Version 5 brought robust and efficient features in one single platform, for users to manage everything smoothly from ingest to archive in no time. The prominent features include: (see it in action here)
- Integrated catalog tracks folders, files, and metadata from ingest to archive.
- Improved media asset management system offers automatic metadata indexing, user-defined metadata values, saved and advanced searching options.
- Integrated LTO tape structure for backup and archive, MD5 checksum, pre-generate proxies afore archiving.
- The platform supports integration with Adobe Premiere Pro CC to access platform GUI and the searching tool from within Adobe editing environment.
- Custom encoding, user-managed transcoding and Storage Group Snapshots for file versioning.