By David Schleifer, Chief Operating Officer at Primestream
The introduction of new technology can bring a combination of benefits and challenges for both manufacturers and customers. For instance, the shift towards digital-file based systems has sped up processes, multiplied creative options for production tools, and enabled collaborative workflows that would not have been achieved with film or tape. Even though broadcasters now have the ability to capture more media than ever before, this movement has brought new challenges to storage and asset management retrieval.
Before the introduction of digital file-based systems, broadcasters had to worry about storage space and whether the media would deteriorate over time. There is still the issue of space with new technology, but now space is calculated in bytes, mega, terra, petabytes and more, which makes data management more complex. The systems employed to store all of this data also need to migrate over time, so archive migration is constantly being developed to create new and denser technology.
The biggest challenge is in digital-file data management. Broadcasters now have more files to store along with information to accompany these files. When looking to source material for a particular project, content providers need to have the ability to search and retrieve the files based on metadata. This can include, notes logged at the time of use, or clips used in the final edit, from the same source code and used in the final edit, as well as who used it and when it was used. Therefore, when it comes to a broadcaster retrieving media, they would prefer to access particular pieces in order to get on with the task at hand but enabling this workflow starts earlier in the process.
Primestream works with several archive vendors to guarantee the ability for broadcasters to move and manage media over time, as well as supporting cloud-based infrastructures. This includes Object Storage solutions such as Amazon S3, SwiftStack, and Cloudian that enable an infinite amount of storage and the ability to easily scale up or down based on needs.
Archiving with Object Storage solutions integrated also enables for archives to be accessible from anywhere, perfect for remote and multi-site workflow. Additionally, to accelerate Cloud archiving and restore jobs, several file acceleration solutions such as FileCatalyst, IBC/Aspera and Signiant can be integrated with Primestream to do just that. However, metadata is still key and this is why adding metadata throughout the process is critical as it will build a layer of metadata that will stay with an asset throughout its lifecycle and enable quick turnaround workflows. Primestream has developed a file-based tagging tool that makes it easier to add coherent metadata to files on the system including source material, the clip or the project. This makes it easier to maintain data integrity and all metadata will stay connected to the media as it is migrated.
VICE Media is a perfect example of Primestream’s storage and asset management installation. The multi-national media and broadcasting company turned to Primestream and adopted a comprehensive media asset management (MAM) solution to bring efficiencies to its editorial and delivery workflows. The solution needed to integrate with VICE Media’s existing workflow, which integrates many third-party systems to deliver nonlinear editing, metadata tagging, archival and delivery workflows. It also had to be scalable in order to allow VICE Media to fulfill its ambitious growth plans.
The solution also enables VICE Media to capture content anywhere in the world, and quickly make it available to hundreds of editors in production centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Toronto and London, for publishing and broadcasting across VICE Media distribution points that include VICELAND and VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Since May 2017, more than one million assets have been added to VICE Media’s Primestream MAM deployment, which has enabled the company to grow its archive with no storage limitations.
Ultimately, when broadcasters think about storage it’s important for them to look at the workflows leading up to that moment when they archive or retrieve the asset. At the time of retrieval, features like partial file restore and broad codec support make it quicker to reuse assets but the real value is always in the broadcaster’s ability to find the original asset in the first place.