Are you new to Media Asset Management and wondering what it is all about? Media Asset Management (MAM in brief) is for most people an unknown term. We want to give a brief introduction into the world of Media Asset Management and explain a few great benefits of it for someone who is new to the topic and wants to get started with the basics.
Is your hard-drive(s) full and you already tried transferring digital material to the cloud, which still did not solve the issue since the storage quickly gets expensive? Are you storing your content on several USB sticks and/or hard-drives and struggling to stay on top of where specific files are stored and spending a lot of time on searching, moving and trying to manage versions of the content? Not to mention the problems related to sharing content or cooperating with others during production. Worried about back-ups? These are often some of the first problem that occur when the need of a MAM system starts to be topical.
What is a media asset actually?
Media Assets are simply put all digital picture, video or audio files – also simply called content in many contexts. We all produce such media assets when for example taking pictures with our mobile phone, a camera or a drone. When the quantity and/or size of media assets grows, or there is a need to work with media assets in business context, there is quickly a need for a software that can help keep order of all the media assets, optimize the use of them in various contexts, such as sharing them to others, saving them on a cloud or collaborating with others during production. We will glance through a few of the most relevant added values of Media Asset Management and why it matters to everyone, both private persons and companies, who produces media assets.
#1 A MAM SOFTWARE CONNECTS AN UNLIMITED NUMBER OF STORAGES AND PROVIDES ACCESS TO THEM THROUGH ONE SINGLE INTERFACE
Digital storage is a topic of its own, with multiple solutions available. We will not dig deeper into the actual storage solutions here. It is however a topic for anyone who works with a larger number of media assets. A typical situation is that the material cumulates over time, resulting in a jungle of hard-drives and USB sticks that are all their own entities and require resources to stay on top of. A NAS device (Network Attached Storage device) can offer several benefits related to for example back-ups or easy access to the material. However, to get the most out of any storage system or combination of multiple storage units, a Media Asset Management software provides a very easy and simple way to connect all storages and to access them through one single interface – for as many users as needed. This can be said to be the most basic added value that a professional MAM software can offer to anyone. The interface we talk about here is simply a browser-based user interface. Our software can be installed on any device that runs on Linux (x86_64 Intel or AMD) Architecture. The Flow can also be installed directly on selected NAS device from the producer QNAP.
#2 A MAM SOFTWARE WILL SAVE YOU ENERGY COSTS AND ELECTRICITY
Digital activity naturally consumes electricity, digital storage space and Internet lines. It therefore matters to use efficient hardware that minimizes the use of electricity as much as it matters to optimize the digital processes so that they in turn minimize the use of both hardware and cloud storage as well as the capacity of Internet lines. A professional Media Asset Management software, such as Flow, will optimize the use of all these three parts so that the user efficiently can manage its content from a cost and energy point of view. More about this topic in our previous article Green Tech concerns every organisation
#3 EASILY FIND CONTENT WITH METADATA AND PREVIEW IT VISUALLY
Metadata and the advanced search functionality related to it is one of the key features of a professional MAM software. This is also one main thing that sets a MAM software apart from for example a Digital Asset Management (DAM) software. With a MAM software you can “find your stuff” and visually preview it in the search field.
Metadata is basically various types of information about content that can be the name of a file, the length of a video clip, GPS locations used in production, language and the date when it was produced. In our coming articles we will dig deeper into the topic of metadata since it is such an interesting topic of its own. More advanced metadata becomes relevant when working with larger volumes of content or in a business context. The Flow software allows detailed metadata for each content that not only is useful related to search, but that can also be used to link together related material or to find materials from the Archive (storage place for material that is no longer actively used). In addition, metadata is important during the production phase when there are multiple versions to manage.
#4 OPTIMIZING FILE SIZE AUTOMATICALLY TO SAVE STORAGE SPACE AND ENABLE SMOOTH SHARING
Without getting into the highly technical world of Media Asset Management we want to introduce the automated transcoding function that the Flow software contains. This function is something the user does not have to interact with, it operates in the background without requiring any user activity, but it is another of its key functions that distinguishes a Media Asset Management system from several alternative solutions such as Digital Asset Management systems or online video services (focusing on sharing/distributing content) or file transfer tools. The transcoder will automatically optimize the format and size of any content stored in the system. The benefit of this is that you can send optimized file sizes without blocking Internet lines, share videos without them getting stuck while viewing and use a minimal storage space.
#5 WHAT SERVICES WILL A MAM SOFTWARE REPLACE?
While so many users are unfamiliar with Media Asset Management and how it could make their life easier, they instead turn to different online services that do small parts of what a complete MAM system does, and that mostly also with poorer performance than a MAM system. This quickly gets expensive compared to working with a MAM system that eliminates the need for many smaller services. Such services are:
- online video services focusing on only streaming or distributing video content
- collaboration tools that only store a derivative (proxy) of the file, which makes the file unusable for future post productions. This type of a service also does not enable deep archiving, making it impossible to access the original files when needed.
- file transfer tools do not offer any media management services with basic features such as previewing, transcoding or with metadata mostly not being available. Files are therefore transferred with unoptimized format and size, without important file information that is needed for basic MAM functions.
#6 A MAM SOFTWARE OFFERS UNLIMITED SCALING POSSIBILITIES AND FUNCTIONS AS A CONNECTING POINT TO OTHER SOFTWARES
When you get started with Media Asset Management and want to dive deeper into all its possibilities, the next level includes automated functionalities that are set up through workflows as well as integration of numerous other systems and platforms (such as Edits, QC, existing Transcoders) or specialized online services (such as file exchange or CDNs). The modular DNA of the Flow software allows the user to scale the system without limitations and to do this step-by-step as new additions are needed. Contact us to hear more!