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Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)

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Marvin Holdman
Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 2:57:58 am

I am wondering what everyone is using to manage these terabytes of files we are presently generating? Our company has tried a couple of solutions and are trying to decide which system we will eventually end up with.

So....

How do you store and cataloging all of those clips you are generating?

More to the point, how do you FIND those clips after they've sat on your hard drive for a couple of months?

Also, is anyone storing their footage off-line? As in Blue Ray Disk? Data Tape? DVD's? Other?

And for those working in in larger facilities... are you completely tapeless? Why and when are your plans for it?

I will let a few post come up before I share some of our experiences with this problem. I think it might be interesting to see how others are dealing with the management of this enormous amount of data. Thanks in advance for sharing.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Andy Mees
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 11:28:09 am

Yes completely tapeless up to a point ... we still have a large ingest area with decks of every flavour, HD and SD feeds coming in etc but ultimately it all ends up on the server (and eventually deep archived to/through the DIVA).

How does one catalog it ? For large scale operations, not surprisingly, people with a specific skill set (Archivists, Librarians etc) are paid to do the job. On a smaller scale then you utilize those in your company whose job/skills most closely match the needs ... just remember, a MAM is just a big database of metadata linked to your media, and that metadata needs to be relevant. Garbage In Garbage Out.

How does one find it ? As noted, its a big database. "Finding it" is its raison d'etre ... just remember the Garbage In Garbage Out thing and you'll be fine.

Storing footage offline? It males sense as and when, and the format depends on you. DLT is common.


What kind of MAM are you looking for? There are so many out there of every shape and size its hard to recommend without knowing some of those specifics that you're holding back.

Have a look at Quantum's StorNext Storage Manager maybe.
Best
Andy


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olof ekbergh
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:44:00 pm

This is from an old post back in January http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/142/862377

I use FW 800 drives for archive storage of projects files and footage (2 sets) in a different building. This is for quick reloading onto RAID and BU of current large projects (we have some that we have been working on for years).

All non tape footage is burned to DVD single layer, dual layer or Blueray depending on how much footage there is (4.3, 8, 23 or 46GB). I see this as my "tape" library, we also have hundreds if not a thousand or so Beta, DVcam, DVCpro, and even MiniDV and HDV tapes stored in the same climate stable room. Most of them (OK less than half) are also in Databases for searching. But all new solid state footage goes in the DB.

Screen shot of DB:


Olof Ekbergh


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Stephen Lovett
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 12:30:07 pm

Marvin,

I'm at the front end of a Final Cut Pro server deployment. We needed additional storage, so I'm replacing our current server that hosts our Small Business Server 2003 with a 16TB array that will host both SBS 2008, and be the archival storage for the xserve that hosts FC Server.

(the network model in Windows server is quite different between 2k3 and 2k8, and I'm still working through that)

I'll let you know more when we've had it up and running a bit.

Steve



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Will Griffith
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:15:31 pm

We are a small shop. Two edit bays and two EX3s. No SAN, just xRaids and xServes on a
gigabit network. Running Final Cut server to manage video and images.

Here is what we do with our media.
1. Open SxS Card in XDCAM Transfer
2. Tag w/Metadata
3. Transfer (wrap in QT) to Edit Bay RAID
4. Backup to BluRay or DVD-5
5. Copy Clips from RAID to Final Cut Server using a watch folder or direct drop into FCS
6. Type in search terms and hope we spelled things correctly. :)

Other than a dub to BetaSP occasionally, I guess we are tape free.

Final Cut Server is what you make of it. If I could spend 2 weeks configuring it,
I'm pretty sure I could automate everything we do. :)

Right now it is pretty nifty because I can be anywhere in the world and convert a ProRes
1080p :30 Spot to a WMV or even an MP3 on a borrowed PC laptop. Just need Java and Quicktime. It's not perfect, but there is a lot of potential.


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 13, 2009 at 1:45:12 pm

We're setting up an iMac with a big FW800 RAID box that is shared over gigabit network. This machine will be the center of our ingesting to keep things centralized and standardized. Only the Quicktime rewraps of our footage will then go out to the edit stations. We keep burned discs (DVD-ROM now, XDCAM data discs later) in a giant fire-safe. We also have an automated semi-daily backup to SAN running on all our Macs, video and otherwise. That backup doesn't do video files (we still use a central Capture Scratch directory to store video files on our FCP machines) but only project files etc.

It's a work in progress, but we're feeling pretty good about it. We have an Access database set up for logging taped footage, we're going to try to work our tapeless footage into it as well. Our hierarchy is going to be set up to correspond footage folders on the RAID to a physical disc in the safe in case of a meltdown. Our office manager used to do database work for a living, so I'm confident we're in good hands.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 14, 2009 at 2:57:10 am

Thanks for all the input.

We have been working on implementing a MAM for the last couple of months and were coming up on a meeting to review where we were, and what our other options might be. I have suspected that many are still managing these files the way that tapes were managed. It's been very difficult to find those who are attempting to manage this new form of media as more of a pure data management problem.

We have implemented a system that combines an on-line, near-line and off-line solution. Media in the field is collected and logged via laptops. Upon return to the main office, it is moved to a near-line SAN drive and the log data is appended to the central database. Editors retrieve the metadata from the central database, retrieve the footage from near-line storage to their machine for editing and complete their projects.

Upon completion of the project, it is archived and moved off-line along with the original footage and all media accumulated for the project. Part of the archival process the editors are required to do is append the central database with all ancillary media media used for the edit.

Currently, we have an 8 terabyte SAN drive for near-line and a Sony Petasite for off-line. After initial attempts to work with a Sony HDXchange, to manage the XDcam footage, we have abandoned it, due to it's rigid limitations.

Currently, we are using a combination of CatDV and Calibrated Software codecs to manage the media. So far, it seems to work very nicely, provided you use more modern hardware for the implementation.

We have found this to be a very viable solution in a house that uses a wide mix of computers, camera's, legacy media and editing systems.

Again, I appreciate your input on this and hope that there may be some benefit in this discussion. In asking around here, and other places, it would seem that our industry is in a state of flux, with no one really able to say how is best to manage this new media. It seems there are plenty of "computer" people who have clear ideas on how things should be, and many "old school tape style archival" people who have their opinions as well.

Closer observation of this trend has made me realize that the problem we are having is the older, more experienced people in this industry, are VERY resistant to relying soley on computer based storage of their media, while the younger, more computer literate people are simply too inexperienced in video production to really understand the criteria around which such a system needs to be designed.

While I am certain that this will eventually be worked out, I fear it is going to take time for the newer generation of production people to develop enough experience to design viable systems. I seriously doubt the "old dogs" will learn these "new tricks" and that's a pity, because while their knowledge is great, the youngsters have a serious lack of respect for the older generations reluctance to embrace this technology.

I realize this is a bit of an editorial, but it does relate back to "how we manage our assets". Perhaps I should have made the subject of this thread, "How we change the way we think".

Thanks for your patience with my literary indulgence.




Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Ed Kukla
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 14, 2009 at 4:50:11 pm

marv
what were the limitations of the sony HDXchange you didn't like?


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Marvin Holdman
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:19:29 pm

Proprietary long form GOP mpegs for storage. Limited output. Only capable of managing XDcam footage, could not manage any format other than MXF (via the proprietary format mentioned above). Limited data entry capabilities. Restrictive license structure for ingesting. Limited field logging capabilities. Will not export or import data.

I could go on.

Bottom line... it's an expensive and incomplete solution.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Will Griffith
CatDV
on Mar 14, 2009 at 7:44:24 pm

Can you explain your current use of CatDV? We have it, but
have never implemented it since we got FCS.


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Marvin Holdman
Re: CatDV
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:26:32 pm

Sure. Currently, we are using CatDV in conjunction with Calibrated Software's MXF codec. We convert our files to MXF for NLE and log this footage via CatDV. We offline our original BPAV folder (of which the files have the same names as the MXF files) and send our logged MXF files to near-line storage (a SAN server). The footage is logged with various metadata like job order, client, description, shooter, ect.

Once logged and placed on near-line storage, the catalog of the footage is published to the CatDV server, where anyone in the production department can query the data. At this point, it is ready to edit. The editor opens the catalog (via the server) selects the shots to use, copies them to a folder on their local drive and edits. Upon completion and approval of the edit. The editor appends the catalog with any additional media accumulated during the edit (like VO, script, music bed, graphics, ect.) updates the catalog on the server, archives the project and deletes the MXF files.

The BPAV folder is already in off-line storage, and can be retrieved for future conversions, should updates be needed.

It should be noted at this point that we are waiting for upcoming MP4 codecs which will allow us to skip the MXF conversions process. When these come out (hopefully within the next 30-60 days) we will edit and log directly with the MP4 files. This will present a challenge, as the Sony BPAV file structure is quite cumbersome. We are currently working on an automated script that will strip the MP4's from the BPAV folders. While we may retain the BPAV folder (minus the MP4's) We're really wondering why.

We love the results we get from the EX cameras, but Sony's determination not to be compatible with anything else but Sony, is a real pain. While the EX Clip Browser is an ok piece of software, compared to many other packages design to manage media, it is sadly lacking. As quickly as we can, we are trying to abandon this proprietary and restrictive software. Our feeling is that if we get out of the "world of Sony" for managing our media, we will have a much more versatile and useful system. Even with the MXF conversion process, we find that CatDV is a much better solution to manage our media.

Aside from the initial production, we also rely on CatDV to manage our deliverables. The playback machines at our transmitter uses MPEGs and CatDV does a magnificent job of managing them. As I mentioned before, edits require a wide variety of media to complete and the CatDV product ends up being a single source to query ALL of the data associated with a project and it's deliverables.

Hope that helps to answer your question. If you were looking for anything more specific, give me an email and I'll let you know. So far, we like the system very much. I will say that it runs MUCH better on Mac's than PC"s. There are a few other limitations that we have found, but nothing that is a deal breaker.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Marvin Holdman
Re: CatDV
on Mar 15, 2009 at 11:33:11 pm

BTW, I think it basically does the same thing that FCS does. We just have such a mixed environment that it was not feasible. Frankly, I would have preferred FCS, but have to work with what I found when I arrived here. While my preference has always been Mac, I walked into a house of PC's. Interestingly, I was brought in because they couldn't get all of these PC's working. While we're hoping to eventually transition to Mac's, it is going to be a long, slow process (can you say, economy?) The reason that I recommended the CatDV system for this facility was two fold; 1. It is cross platform and scalable 2. Data can migrate easily out of this system, should we decide on a different database in the future.

You may find CatDV useful in the field, for logging and organization. I originally acquired it to manage time and date information from DV tapes. I've found myself using it a great deal.

Marvin Holdman
Production Manager
Tourist Network
8317 Front Beach Rd, Suite 23
Panama City Beach, Fl
phone 850-234-2773 ext. 128
cell 850-585-9667
skype username - vidmarv


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Will Griffith
Re: CatDV
on Mar 16, 2009 at 12:27:38 am

Thanks man. We bought it for the DV tape recognition, which worked really well, BTW.



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Morakinyo Animasaun
Re: Media Asset Management Systems (MAM)
on Apr 18, 2010 at 9:12:43 pm

Hi Marvin,
I work for an IT company who has been engaged to deploy an iSCSI SAN for a media company. The media company uses Sony HDXChange which they want to integrate with an external storage array (iSCSI SAN). We are not getting any help from Sony. can you offer any help?


Brgds,
Morakinyo Animasaun
Equipment Hall


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