Asset Management | So Many Files

Oct 1, 2011 10:00 AM, By Mel Lambert

ASSET MANAGEMENT FOR STREAMLINED POST-PRODUCTION

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Kevin Collier, director of engineering, post-production services, at Warner Bros. Studio Facilities, Burbank, Calif.

Kevin Collier, director of engineering, post-production services, at Warner Bros. Studio Facilities, Burbank, Calif.

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Consistent naming conventions are a major headache when initiating and maintaining asset-management databases. “It’s a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge,” Clark says, with a knowing grin. “You are constantly culling data and updating asset information, only to find more waiting to update when you think you are done!”

 Ed Elliott, Technicolor’s senior solutions architect, Digital Delivery Group

Ed Elliott, Technicolor’s senior solutions architect, Digital Delivery Group

“We tailor our storage and asset-management according to different classes of user,” says Kevin Collier, director of engineering, post-production services, at Warner Bros. Studio Facilities, Burbank, Calif. “We utilize various group-rights available via the Linux operating system to keep users from accidentally stepping on one another; editors and mixers have carefully assigned rights to parts of our online storage. For example, we might digitize an edited picture as a proxy file so that editors can cut sound effects against that version; they can only access the images, however, with sufficient rights. We add various levels of granularity to provide enhanced security for our assets and those of our third-party clients. And we generate a high-quality digital picture file to our in-house standard for the dub stages. To prevent unauthorized access, the file is only accessible from a separate, private network [on the server] at the locked projection booth.”

Warner Bros. Studio Facilities has standardized a four-character file-name header that defines the film or TV project, and then adds more characters to define the file’s revision or version number. “Users can log onto our proprietary, password-protected servers—what we refer to as the PPSnet—and see a folder-based [interface] that is divided into separate areas for editorial and stages,” Collier continues. “Editors locate the sound and image files they need, and then, if authorized, pull them off the server for access on local drives and then push them back as edited files with appropriate file-name revision numbers so that each digital asset is unambiguously labeled. Deeper-level folders hold, for example, pre-dubs, stems and final masters,” the latter sub-divided into English-language, foreign-language, M&Es and so on.

Separate disaster-recovery and archive mechanisms ensure that these assets are continuously protected and accessed long after the project is completed. “Our Disaster Recovery comprises a mirrored copy of the main RAID-5 server on a back-line array, which is updated daily,” the director of engineering says. “We have approximately 500 terabytes of spinning storage on which we keep material for the life of a project, and then, following the release date, will stream it off to an LTO tape library, which is a snapshot backup of the mirrored server. Then we perform a digital archive to twin sets of LTO tapes and a set of DVDs holding the mixed stems and print masters. Why DVD? Who knows if the DAWs we use today will be around in 10 years’ time; we selected an archive format that lets us recover flattened files from a film or TV project.”






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