Application Programming Interface; a set of interface definitions (functions, subroutines, data structures or class descriptions) which provide a convenient interface to the functions of a subsystem. They also simplify interfacing work by insulating application programmers from minutiae of the implementation.
Long-term storage of information. Pictures, sound and metadata stored in digital form can be archived and recovered without loss or distortion. The storage medium must be both reliable and stable and, as large quantities of information need to be stored, low cost is of major importance. Currently many are using magnetic tape. However there is also ongoing use of optical disks including DVD and Blu-Ray Disc formats and further developments are emerging.
Today, the increasingly IP and Ethernet-connected environments involving many video formats, including digital film, mean that data recorders make good sense. Archiving systems built around the current LTO-5 and LTO-6 data recorders are increasingly proving to be efficient and effective for media applications. The formats include backward compatibility to the previous LTO type. And with the tape cartridges offering 1.5 and 2.5 TB for LTO-5 and LTO-6 respectively, there is useful capacity.
Removable CD-size optical discs potentially offer quick access and denser storage as well as long-term reliability. The Archival Disc system, expected in 2015 from Sony and Panasonic, offers 300 GB with a roadmap to 1TB storage per disc.
For archiving stills and graphics there is far less need for of strong compression as the volume of data will typically be much smaller than that for video. CDs and DVDs are convenient and robust, giving near instant access to all stored pictures.
Traditionally, material is archived after its initial use – at the end of the process. More recently some archiving has moved to the beginning, or even before, the production process. An example is news where, in some cases, new material is archived as events happen. Later subsequent editing, etc., accesses this.
With the worldwide expansion of television channels everywhere, including online and mobile services, archives are increasingly used to help fulfill the huge demand for programming.
Recording material into a system, such as a nonlinear editor, as a background task. Thus the foreground task may continue uninterrupted and when one job is completed, the next is already loaded, potentially increasing the throughput of the editing system.
A method to help find required image-based material such as stills, graphics and video clips by showing many reduced size images together on a screen so enabling a quick selection of required material. For moving video, a timeline may be also be available so clips can be shuttled, so allowing the full sized images to be brought to use pre-cued.
Browse/edit facilities are used in newsroom systems to provide video editing for journalists on their desktops. The material is stored on a browse server and distributed over a network to the many users. Details differ between models but some allow frame-accurate shot selections to be made with the resulting ‘cuts decision lists’ used to conform a broadcast quality version.
Common Internet File System is a platform-independent file-sharing system that supports rich, collaborative applications over the internet which could be useful for collaborative post production workflows. It defines a standard remote file-system access protocol, enabling groups of users to work together and share documents via the Internet or within intranets. CIFS is an open, cross-platform technology based on native file-sharing protocols in Windows and other popular PC operating systems, and is supported on other platforms, so users can open and share remote files on the Internet without installing new software or changing work methods.
CIFS allows multiple clients to access and update the same file, while preventing conflicts by using sophisticated file-sharing and locking semantics. These mechanisms also permit aggressive caching and read-ahead/write-behind without loss of cache coherency.
CIFS also supports fault tolerance in the face of network and server failures.
In Quantel’s Genetic Engineering teamworking infrastructure, the Sam data server virtualizes media on-the-fly to give third-party applications instant access to all stored media using the CIFS protocol for no-API, out-of-the-box connectivity.
Digital Asset Management is about managing and controlling the receiving, cataloging, storage, retrieval, distribution, archive and deletion or removal of digital assets. In the media world these assets are typically digital video, audio and images. DAM could help to access materials needed to make a new program. The program is then an asset in itself which can be handled by MAM – media asset management. With thousands of TV channels now broadcasting or narrow casting, TV programs made for one channel may well be useful to others.
Content is worthless if you cannot find it. If you can find it easily and have rights to use or sell it, it has value. The content will vary in size from a whole movie, to a few frames of news footage. Digital Asset Management (a.k.a. media asset management or digital asset warehousing) is about the storage and use of both digital content and its metadata. The latter comprises descriptions of the content, such as text and thumbnail images, stored in a database for easy searching and management. The metadata is linked to the content files, images or video to allow retrieval.
File Area Networks are a shared storage concept that stores shared files in multiple locations. However the user is not aware of where the files are located; they are simply accessed as if they were local or single site storage. The IT industry is actively pursuing this concept in order to provide organizations with strategically central data sources that are geographically agnostic, which can lead to considerable resource savings.
FANs also have potentially broad applications in post production and broadcast. It is not impossible to imagine a post house with a ‘front door’ in the city where clients can come and watch their job progress, driven by a creative at in his country retreat – perhaps with the storage itself in a third location. Broadcasters with multiple sites (perhaps local stations or subsidiaries) are also looking at FANs with great interest.
A discontinuous transfer process which treats each transferred item as a single block, neither divisible into smaller, independent elements nor part of a larger whole. As the transfer process has a recognizable beginning and end (unlike streaming) it is possible for the complete transfer to be checked and any errors corrected. This is not possible with a streaming process.
File transfer requires material to be complete and clearly identifiable. When handling time-based material, such as video and audio, the complete file has to be available before transfer can start. If the whole clip is a single file, this cannot be transferred until all the material is complete. However, if the clip is sub-divided, for example into frames, the transfer can start immediately after the first frame is completed. This becomes important in time sensitive applications such the live editing of highlights while the event is still taking place.
See also: Streaming
Production Asset Management could be considered as a subset of MAM It is intended to co-ordinate the work of all stages involved with post production, and so ensure it runs efficiently and meets planned deadlines and budgets. It can enhance collaboration and manage down to a detailed level for edit suites and media storage, and manage those contributing other elements, such as special effects. Management of items such as the original video, audio, EDLs, proxies, versioning, content protection, backup, can be included. But PAM is not tightly defined and some say that it ends when the media file is ‘flattened’, with all the effects, corrections, cuts, mixes, etc, are applied and resolved to produce one layer of video and the finished tracks of audio.