More and more customers request that we provide them with a MAM system. There is clearly a need to manage an exponentially growing number of clips, used in OTT, social networks, governments or news agencies. Our dilemma was between implementing an existing full-blown MAM system, or developing a smart catalog, easy to use, and geared towards automation and efficiency.

Acronyms

DAM stands for Digital Asset Management.

And what is a Digital Asset? In our context of broadcast recording and re-purposing (re-distribution), a Digital Asset is any audio/video file, that was recorded in some digital format, and which is intended for redistribution to some viewers with rights to watch it.

In the broadcast industry, we refer to the term MAM, or Media Asset Management, which is a subcategory of DAM.

MAM system would have to handle not only the physical storage of the assets, but also their capture (ingestion, input), categorization (annotation, tagging, ordering, Metadata), retrieval (search, preview, extraction), and finally distribution (format transcoding, user rights, physical delivery). A MAM system would necessarily include capabilities to encode, decode and transcode Video and Audio formats.

Typical Workflows

When we researched the requirements of our customers, we identified two workflows that represent the majority of customers’ needs.

One is the News Clips Workflow, which consists of identifying news stories in the various (TV, Radio) channels and to tag them with keywords and description for possible future use.

The second is the Clips for OTT workflow, which extracts any story from the linear broadcasted channels (e.g.. sports event), creates a clip, adds annotations, and distributes the clip to various Media (e.g.. TV Channel Website, Facebook, etc.).

DAM workflow

There are also some specific workflows, for example, government regulators are interested in Clips of Violations workflow, but this can fall within the general workflow of News Clips, provided that we allow them to apply specific Metadata keywords.

Main Functions

For these specific workflows, we have identified three important functionalities.

  • Custom Metadata
  • Rich and flexible formats
  • Simple and easy to use video editor

Custom Metadata

The most important requirement is the ability to attach to every asset, a set of Metadata.

Metadata is any information that describes the Asset. There are three types of Metadata:

  • Descriptive Metadata, which describes the Asset in terms of content. It will include title, description, number and description of parts, author, keywords of people subjects and objects.
  • Structural Metadata, describing some technical aspects, what video, audio and text tracks are included, the quality, bitrate, resolution or version dates.
  • Administrative Metadata, with information to classify and manage the asset. The source, the destination, the users groups, DRM info (Digital Rights Management).

Custom Metadata Screenshot

Actus invested significant efforts in offering a practically unlimited Metadata management tool, with the ability for each customer to create its own specific fields, lists and links to existing databases.

Rich Export Formats

With more than 200 installations worldwide, we need to handle requirements pertaining to about every existing Audio and Video format.

We are using industry standard tools that allow transcoding into practically any format. Some of the somewhat odd formats that we cover include export to Transport Streams, or MXF exports, with multiple audio or closed captions.

Simple Video Editor

Actus developed a professional version of its Clip-Factory video editor to cater for the needs of these two workflows; News Clips and Clips for OTT.

The Clip-Factory-Pro editor is intuitive, can be learned in a couple of hours, and will allow a number of useful video editing functions, including:

  • Blurring the face of a  person
  • Muting some spoken words
  • Blurring a logo, or replacing by another logo
  • Adding pre-roll or post-roll

Using our Multi-Quality™ technology, the user can work on a low-resolution proxy of the main asset, and all editing will be automatically reproduced on the high-quality (up to Full HD, 16 Mbps) version. The main advantage here is the ability to use low network bandwidth during editing, but still export a high-quality, frame accurate asset to the final destination.

Storage Philosophy

When designing the storage component of our Catalog MAM, we identified two different types of storage for two different workflows.

  • Library Asset Management System, with the objective of storing very large quantities of assets, most of which are never used again, typically archiving months of TV broadcasts and rarely searching and using some assets. This is all stored in H.264 mp4 and AAC.
  • Production Asset Management System, where the emphasis is on editing and distributing some specific assets, very near to the moment where they are being created (“Near Live”), with specific workflows and project management, and with quick access to a database of specific assets.

Main Functions

For these specific workflows, we have identified four important functionalities:

  1. Custom Metadata
  2. Rich and flexible formats
  3. Simple and easy to use video
  4. Automation and scripts

Custom Metadata

The most important requirement is the ability to attach a set of Metadata to every asset, Metadata is any information that describes the Asset. There are three types of Metadata:

  1. Descriptive Metadata, which describes the Asset in terms of content. It description, number and description of parts, author, keywords of people, objects.
  2. Structural Metadata, describing some technical aspects, what video, audio are included, the quality, bitrate, resolution or version dates.
  3. Administrative Metadata, with information to classify and manage the asset. the destination, the users groups, DRM info (Digital Rights Management).

Actus invested significant efforts in developing a practically unlimited Metadata management tool, with the ability for each customer to create their own specific fields, lists and links to existing databases.

Rich Export Formats

With a growing base of more than 200 installations worldwide, we need to be able to handle requirements pertaining to almost every existing Audio and Video format.

Rich Export Format

We are using industry standard tools that allow transcoding into practically any format. Some of the more unusual formats that we cover include export to Transport Streams, or XDCAM 50 exports, with multiple audio or closed captions.

Simple Video Editor

Actus developed a professional version of its Clip-Factory video editor to cater for the needs of these two workflows; News Clips and Clips for OTT. The Clip-Factory-Pro editor is intuitive, can be learned in a couple of hours, and will allow a number of useful video editing functions, including:

  • Blurring the face of a person
  • Muting some spoken words
  • Blurring a logo, or replacing with another logo
  • Adding pre-roll or post-roll content

Simple Video Editor

Using our Multi-Quality™ technology, the user can work on a low-resolution proxy of the main asset, and all editing will be automatically replicated in the high-quality (up to Full HD, 16 Mbps) version. The main advantage here is the ability to use low network bandwidth during editing, but still export a high-quality, frame accurate asset to the final destination.

Automation and Scripts

The Actus Clip-Factory-Pro comes with an API that is both powerful and intuitive. The user can write a script, or program a script, by any of the other systems, using readable XML tags, and simply drop this script into a hot-folder. The script will be executed automatically and the resulting clip (for example a clip of all the stories in the evening news) will be delivered to a number of destinations (FTP, CDN, Facebook, …)


 

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