Asset Management | So Many Files

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



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Jim Frantzreb, senior market segment manager at Avid

Jim Frantzreb, senior market segment manager at Avid

Robert Smith, systems and media engineer at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Digital Studios division, stresses that a successful asset-management scheme requires accurate and consistent metadata. “We use a proprietary naming system,” he reveals. “Because of the degree of specificity we need in sound editorial, the file names can become rather long. For Sony projects, we use a powerful renaming tool to provide consistent titles for dialog and effects files, for example, before transferring them to specific sub-folders within a main project folder. To ensure full compatibility across all asset management, our archive program also uses the same nomenclature.” For third-party projects, Sony retains the originally supplied file names because such media metadata is not held on the database.

Kelli Clark, senior facility engineer at Fox Post Production Services

Kelli Clark, senior facility engineer at Fox Post Production Services

Like other post facilities, Sony Pictures opted for a high-speed Quantum StorNext server in a RAID-5 configuration for local storage. “We have about 300 terabytes of local online storage and access to much larger off-site cloud-storage options,” Smith says. “We also have an 8-terabyte cache for the tape archive, which has become read-only. When a file-retrieval request is made, Store Manager pulls that material from tape, writes it to the 8-terabyte cache and it becomes available to fulfill the work order. We are now writing all of our new incoming material to off-site cloud storage at the Digital Media Center. That material in the cloud is then written to LTO5 tape and, after a period of time, deleted from the spinning media.” The off-site location uses Isilon Systems storage and the Sony Petasite tape library.

“Our proprietary utilities provide secure access to dailies, projects needing approval and other marketing material we need to send out to remote facilities via the Internet from Sony Pictures’ Digital Media Group,” Smith continues. “The asset-management system links directly to our databases to provide worldwide fulfillment of sound and picture elements.” Sony Pictures uses ClearStory Systems’ ActiveMedia platform to create digital systems for transporting, sharing and organizing stock footage and related marketing materials with post, print and finishing houses.

At FotoKem, a Burbank, Calif.–based post facility, senior VP of technology Paul Chapman says, “Currently, assets are ingested and cataloged using our existing physical asset-management system,” but that process will be automated in the near future. “We have a large combination of RAID-protected systems with more than 600 terabytes of spinning storage holding our video and audio files,” he explains. “Our editors pull down these files to a local workstation using our work order–controlled system, and then push them back after project completion. We use a storage area network for real-time playback of uncompressed materials that need enhanced bandwidth for large video files, and more cost-efficient network-attached storage for less-demanding local storage. We archive to LTO4 and LTO5 tape.”

Technicolor provides a wide range of creation, management and delivery services for entertainment-content providers. It also recently announced the creation of a new film/broadcast post-production facility at Paramount Studios’ lot in Los Angeles, including ADR, Foley and dub stages. The new facility will use Technicolor’s file-based digital workflow, connecting to other facilities around the globe via Technicolor Production Network (TPN).

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