According to Avid’s Jim Frantzreb, production asset management (PAM) systems allow producers, editor and reporters to work together easily, streamlining the overall content creation process and, at the same time, lowering expenses and creating increasingly flexible workflows
Today’s broadcasters and media companies must keep pace with an ever-increasing need to create content in the field, the newsroom or the studio and publish immediately to all audiences.
Newsrooms and other deadline-driven content operations need up-to-the-minute access to clips, scripts, and archived materials regardless of where they’re created or stored.
Scattered workgroups need to contribute to multiple versions of projects and stories that are tailored to address different local and national markets. Additionally, content must be delivered in multiple formats, bit rates and resolutions for viewing across broadcast, Web and mobile devices.
To meet these challenges, broadcasters are re-inventing the way they create and aggregate content. They are seeking a more coordinated, efficient and inclusive workflow that facilitates collaboration across every segment of broadcast operations-from planning through delivery to billing, legal and archiving — while ensuring version control and metadata tracking to maintain productive, error-free workflows.
Making assets more available
Effective collaboration of this sort, particularly in fast-turnaround news and high-volume television production, relies on shared access to media.
For real-time, collaborative workflows encompassing all stages of content creation, a new breed of asset management technology has been developed — production asset management (PAM) Systems-focused more on production process management than traditional media asset management (MAM) systems.
PAM systems contain rich media databases that work with shared storage systems to deal with the complex relationships of clips and sequences; render files, and pre-comps, not to mention still images, motion graphics with alpha channels and layers; voice-over files, multitrack soundtrack files, sound effects and so on-at a multitude of resolutions, for multiple workgroups in production and non-production roles.
PAM systems understand and track the complex, changing relationships between these assets and hide this complexity from users, allowing them to focus on collaboration and creativity. They integrate directly with production tools such as NLEs, newsroom computer systems and production servers, supporting transcode, transfer and archive functions as they relate to real-time production workflows. Additionally, PAM systems are designed to respond to user interaction in real time.
The ability to streamline the overall content creation process with PAM systems proves beneficial for the following reasons:
- Users can locate the right media faster because it’s online, searchable and provides immediate access
- Version control ensures that production elements are current and synched, so team members don’t waste time shifting through out-of-date materials
- Editors, producers, assistants and journalists can swiftly and effectively contribute to stories and projects at whatever stage in the workflow their participation is needed
- Management and other stakeholders can review and pre-select media in user-friendly UIs, which reduces editing time
Furthermore, PAMs lower expenses because:
- Stories and projects take less time with better coordination between contributors
- Resources are more efficiently utilized and consolidated or pooled
- Media usage is maximized across an organization or station group because assets are easy to find and access
Increasingly flexible workflows
Currently some PAM systems offer some degree of location-independent capabilities. The Avid Interplay 2.0 platform leverages wide-area network (WAN) technology to give users anywhere, anytime access to all content.
News environments are prime examples of operations that can benefit greatly from location-independent workflows. During major events, these operations are bombarded with new material at tremendous velocity.
Depending on the size and type of organization, groups may have many individuals tackling the media simultaneously, writing multiple stories at the exact same time. As raw footage is winnowed down to a smaller number of useable clips, all team members must know the status of those clips in real-time. PAM systems update asset status dynamically, which increases productivity in the edit suite and throughout production by providing a constant view of project activity.
Knowing that they’re working with the most current (and approved) version of an asset saves time and reduces errors and rework while making it easier for others to contribute and collaborate effectively and efficiently.
PAM systems to meet the needs of today’s production environment
PAM systems give broadcasters and media companies the tools they need to meet the challenges of fast-paced, high-volume production, maximize their ROI, lower costs and boost productivity. Remote, real-time media access and version tracking opens the door to new, highly efficient, collaborative workflows that aren’t tethered to a specific facility or location.
Producers can browse media, review and approve clips and leave comments for editors. Assistants can log footage from anywhere. Journalists can quickly search remote or local media storage sites, select and transfer clips in the right format to incorporate into the story from in the facility or on a laptop in the field. And business administration teams can get the information they need, when they need it, regardless of where they’re located.
In short, comprehensive, integrated production asset management accelerates workflows, increases efficiency and boosts the bottom line.
Jim Frantzreb is senior market segment manager for broadcast at Avid. He may be reached at [email protected].