MAY 18, 2022

Optimizing Storage for In-House Media Production, Part 3


Corporate media production teams that produce high-quality video content—whether for marketing, corporate communications, or internal training—rely on implementing the right systems to support these projects. That includes having the proper storage solutions.

One crucial element is optimizing storage for an expanding inventory of video and other digital media assets. However, even this can get complicated; the media production team is most in need of media storage, yet the IT or technology team are the ones most often implementing and supporting any solutions. This can leave both teams feeling at odds with one another. However, it doesn't really have to be that way.

In this three-part series, we first visited the world of the IT/technologist to understand their concerns. We then looked into the creative production side to explore the demands of their tasks. Now, let's bring both teams to the table and find ways to balance their needs and find a fit-for-purpose media storage solution that suits everyone.

Time Is Money

Balancing the needs of the IT/technology team with those of the media production team is made easier by the fact that both groups' most important needs naturally complement one another. One of the toughest hurdles for any IT team asked to implement new systems is often the cost—how does it fit into the company's technology budget? For those producing the video, one of the greatest needs is finding tools that help them to work more efficiently and collaboratively, which saves them time.

This can work out well for both teams; in concretely measurable ways, time is money. Providing tools to help the video teams work more efficiently can ultimately save the company money, making a media management system a win-win for everyone.

It is true, of course, that the cost savings will be seen over time, and not every decision-maker will be comfortable with the up-front investment. In those discussions, it can help to keep in mind the additional benefits of a good media storage implementation, such as improved workflows and collaboration. This isn't just a simple balancing of a formula. The eventual return on investment will also come with multiple less tangible and harder to quantify—but still vital—points of improvement. If it seems difficult to find agreement on up-front costs when some of the benefits down the road are hard to quantify, then it can be beneficial to focus on what is quantifiable. The return on investment is likely to be well past a simple 1:1 calculation. In one technology paper, HCS Technology Group provided an encouraging estimate of how much an asset management system will give back: "Digital asset management (DAM) saves not just time, but money. Research indicates that the ROI on DAM is between 8:1 to 14:1." Those kinds of numbers can help steer a discussion in a positive direction for everyone involved.

When it comes to choosing new systems and technology for a company, it can feel as though the team tasked with maintaining the technology budget—usually the IT/technology team—and the team asking for the additional tools for the job—in this case, the video content creators—are in conflict. However, the truth of the matter is that tools that increase efficiency also, in turn, save money. Rather than being on opposing sides, the two teams actually have the same goal. Bringing that knowledge to the table can lead to a more productive and ultimately more successful discussion.

The Ultimate Nightmare: Lost Data

For IT and video production alike, the worst-case scenario is lost data. Whether it's a loss of data in a database managed by the IT department or lost media assets needed for video production, the idea of losing mission-critical data brings a chill to the spine across the board. This is another area where optimizing storage for media asset management is crucial.

As HCS Technology Group pointed out, "The average creative person looks for a media file 83 times a week and fails to find it 35% of the time. Their research shows that digital asset management solutions will drop that figure to 5%."

A piece of media that can't be found is no more useful than a piece of media that doesn't exist. A proper media asset management system can help ensure media gets properly cataloged with metadata to make it easier to find. Media asset management systems also contain tools for managing proper backups and archiving, so that each piece of media is not just easy to find but properly stored and protected. Any system with these capabilities requires storage designed for media to work effectively; the move to media-centric, shared storage sets the stage to implement further solutions for video creation.

The Right Tool for the Job

Part two of this series discussed how the specific needs of the media creation team, including the media formats and editing systems they rely on, is key to approaching these discussions. When exploring options for media storage, make sure any options you consider meet those needs:

  • Do the storage drives offer read/write speeds (or throughput) sufficient for the type and resolution of media your team will be using?
  • Will the overall system "speak" to the editing systems and other media software you already have in place?
  • Are additional necessary features in place, such as cloud-based access to media and media management tools?

Remember: Rome wasn't built in a day, and your media storage solution doesn't have to be either. An implementation plan can work in stages, with the most crucial needs put in place first. For most teams, the minimum first step should be at least ensuring that all media storage is specifically designed for that purpose. Additional systems and features become easier to put in place when a foundation has been laid for them. After that, exploring the most urgent pain points in the existing systems can guide teams' discussion of what steps to take next.

What has hopefully become most clear, though, is that it's possible to balance the requirements of different teams involved in video production. All decision-makers can come to the table as one team with a unified goal—producing the best content for the company as efficiently as possible.

  • Amy Leland Headshot

    Amy Leland is a film director and editor. Her short film, Echoes, is available on Amazon Video. She is an editor for CBS Sports Network.

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