Simply put managing video is just storing the captured data in an organized manner. Content Management System (CMS) is a term coined for software components that help us handle the jumble created by accumulating digital assets. To make processing easy the key is to have a consistent scheme for content organization. As simple as this may sound in today’s projects where there are multiple participating parties it is not quite so easy to achieve.
The most common method to organize video is doing it chronologically. This time-based approach is very well suited for linear media like video. However metadata tags are a more versatile way to describe the assets. If descriptive and coherent keywords are found the right files can easily be summoned from the archives even years later. Multiple methods can be used side by side, but the important thing is to preserve the information in ingest and if possible find and add all relevant information.
As perfect digital duplicates can be made there is no inventory in the digital lager. The only inventory we can keep is according to the metadata tags ie. how many clips on “dogs” or “1980s” do we have and so on. The basic concept is easy to comprehend, but life never really is quite this simple. Decision-making processes in film-making should also be behind categorizing. So as boring as management systems sound they really are at the core of all productions.
It would be nice if clear distinction could be made between where management ends and where processing starts. However that is not a straight forward task today. Most NLE vendors provide solutions that attempt to integrate digital asset management (DAM) directly into editing tools. New features are released for controlling ingest automation and contributor rights. On the other end of the spectrum broadcast automation suites are really end-to-end publishing apps for running full television stations.
One advantage the channel management or live mixing systems have over NLEs is much better integration with other production elements in the chain. Specific camera angles or subjects on display can be used to trigger overlay graphics or other effects. In such environment with live capturing and mixing video could both be considered essential part of managing content. Both functions are used to select chapters or viewpoints for publishing. Material captured with multiple cameras are mixed to one feed.
The same end result could also be reached with off-line editing on NLE system, but much better interfaces for integration would be needed. It is likely that this evolution will start from said work flow tools. Multiple people take part in the productions and thus the first to come is likely to be integration of full-fledged community tool. There would be immediate need for concurrent version system (CVS) as used in software development projects. Unfortunately attempts on building such systems on top of propriatory vendor-specific solutions has held back progress.
The most important thing in evaluating management solutions is ensuring open import and export protocols. For added points the system can be compared on having open interfaces for interacting with content on the system. Making sure these two things are available guarantees real alternatives for the future. It will be possible to change from platform (mac/pc/unix) to another. It will be possible to use third party services. Most importantly it will be possible to leverage better negotiating position and drive down the price for future purchases.
Third party services are really the best part of the Internet revolution. Previously it was hard to find additional components, but now a simple search will give you hundreds of results for plug-ins and such. In the future it will possible to achieve some spectacular results by using processing results over the network. Management of visual data has been tremendously challenging and written descriptions have been needed. If open interfaces are secured areas like searching for items in visual data maybe solved by some service provider on the net.