Please wait, authorizing ...

Don't have an account? Register here today.


How to improve file management

The administration of the audiovisual archive requires very peculiar controls, which differ greatly from conventional inventory management. The video collection of any TV production operation is a very fragile mobile asset, constantly circulating between the different dependencies that use it.

Case #1: A scoop obtained exclusively by the channel is confirmed and seven people waste almost half an hour finding the material to edit the note, because someone kept a tape in the wrong box.

Case #2: Half the staff wants the file to be organized in chronological order. And the other half prefers to be sorted by topic. Of course, everyone would be satisfied with the material appearing when it is needed...

Case #3: By an unfortunate coincidence, the two managers of the archive get sick at the same time, and in the midst of the resulting chaos it is discovered that the file has been sorted by rather peculiar criteria... that no one understands.

While those in charge of the archive take care of the integrity of the material they have on their shelves, the tapes are exposed to the rigors of use and abuse by their users, who do not care much about manipulating them with the care required to ensure their conservation. A linear videotape archiving system has restrictions: every time a user needs to locate a shot they must transport some tapes to a specific site to delay or advance them and place the exact points they need.

- Publicidad -

This represents an effort that is repeated several times each time the material is used. And as efficient as the classification is, there are always inaccuracies that force you to review tapes that are not going to be used, but are subjected to manipulation in a video recorder. In short, each query to the file involves an overall deterioration that can be alleviated with a conscious effort of classification, but it cannot be completely eliminated.


It is very possible that the same agency handles storage, traffic, acquisitions, copying, recycling and distribution of images recorded on tapes of different formats. Faced with the problems posed by this management, managers tend to apply traditional inventory control systems, and implement rigorous stock control methods, based, for example, on the barcode.

These procedures are very effective for physical stock control, but by themselves they are only the beginning of a content classification effort. Knowing that in those one hundred and twenty cassettes are all the chapters of the telenovela does not help much when you have to find the scene of the first passionate kiss of the protagonists ...

In practice, archives managers are often subjected to divergent management systems to control physical stocks and contents. The administration usually integrates the content of the video library to the list of assets of the company, places the collection of cassettes next to the bins and typewriters, while those in charge of the file are forced to implement material management systems with conventional database applications, or with specialized software without connectivity support.

There are certainly integrated solutions to systematize any TV operation, but they are usually beyond the reach of companies in our region. This creates a vicious circle in which archives are condemned to inefficient management, due to the lack of development of management systems appropriate to their real needs.

Then aberrant situations appear, such as when the memory of the company depends on a small database with a wonderful backup (backup) on floppy disks or in the head of an archive manager who any day can decide that it is better to look for work elsewhere.

- Publicidad -

New media, new forms of management

The current pressure to migrate to fully digital production systems offers an interesting opportunity to rethink file handling. In the commercial software market there is a marked tendency to develop specific applications for the management of collections of audiovisual material in multimedia environments.

Companies such as Cinebase, Pioneer and Dubner, to mention a few, offer specific solutions to manage digital assets, integrable to larger processes of digitization of TV operations or conventional file management in a linear environment.

In general, they all assume that the file acts on two levels: first, a large physical repository of tapes that can be accessed for use in relatively short periods of time. Of course, this file must be rigorously cataloged to ensure the efficiency of its operation.

The second level is based on media servers that are fed with material taken from the physical archive, to meet the demands of users. Of course, the effectiveness of such a system lies in the accuracy of the information contained in the catalogs of the archive and, a very important function, the ability to enrich these catalogs with the daily feedback of users: valuable information that can be applied to an effort to validate or complement existing data.

Up to this point no really innovative element appears, apart from the possibility of random access to the material, which can provide the use of media servers. In fact, as the most cynical administrators would say, an expensive video server may well be replaced by two efficient officials serving the public at their respective windows.

- Publicidad -

What, then, is the appeal of an archival system capable of managing audiovisual material in a digital environment? Precisely, take advantage of the media management capacity of the most recent computerized systems to enrich this management.


The basic proposal of these providers is to complement the textual databases with metadata, that is, audio and video segments, information about time codes, history of use of the material, cross-references, links to other databases, any type of information that can enrich the descriptions and make a more efficient classification.

Consider implementing a file query system based on low-resolution digital versions of material available in an organization's tape collection. This material can be stored on low-cost media, such as rewritable optical discs, compact discs, or any other format that is convenient. It could even be handled on medium-capacity video servers. And if the organization is satisfied with still images, which serve to describe each shot, it would be perfectly possible to use conventional equipment.

This material could be consulted from any personal computer connected to a conventional local network. In fact, the networks and equipment available today can perfectly support these applications. For users, the possibility of visual consultation can be very attractive, from their workstations, without the need to transport huge quantities of cassettes.

On the other hand, reviewing material in a virtual, non-linear environment can streamline work and significantly aid tape preservation, while paving the way for migration to a fully digital production environment.

Other possibilities

Digitizing the archive catalog opens up very interesting perspectives. Some solution providers for newsrooms propose systems that allow offline editing of material from any workstation. If the facility can digitize the material simultaneously in online quality, it will have reached the point where each reporter consults sources, interviews by video conference, writes his texts, records sound and edits his material, all from his personal computer.

Other companies have concentrated on solutions to facilitate the work of classification, by automatically detecting scenes on ordinary personal computers. And although it seems fantastic, some more are dedicated to developing complex artificial intelligence systems that, in the near future, will allow image queries without visualizing the material, because it will be enough to ask questions such as "how many ronaldo penalty shots do we have on file?".

The next developments will probably refine search systems, to take advantage of new digital media manipulation technologies originated in the accelerated development of the World Wide Web and the constant decrease in costs of the most suitable hardware to implement these multimedia applications.

Returning to our reality...

Despite all these advances, we must not lose the right perspective. A textual database can include valuable metadata, timecode information, useful keywords, and rigorous descriptions of the material.

All these elements can collaborate to immediately improve the management of files, and will serve to facilitate migration to a digital environment. Any effort in this regard will be profitable sooner or later. On the other hand, the sophistication of the available resources does not change the most important factor in the administration of its archive: the criteria of the people in charge of cataloguing the material.

The success of any content classification effort lies in the proper selection and description of the material, and this is true whether the file is handled with pen and paper or using the most advanced digital equipment. Do you know who is handling your file right now?

No thoughts on “How to improve file management ”

• If you're already registered, please log in first. Your email will not be published.

Leave your comment

In reply to Some User
Suscribase Gratis

Visita a MEDIA5 durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con MOISES MARTINI Empresa: MEDIA5 Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LIVEU durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con JOSÉ LUIS REYES Empresa: LIVEU Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LEYARD durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con DIMAS DE OLIVEIRA - CAMILO MADRIGAL Empresa: LEYARD Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a LAWO durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con Noach Gonzales Empresa: Lawo Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023

Visita a IGSON durante NAB SHOW Las Vegas 2023

Entrevista con IGOR SEKE Empresa: IGSON Realizada por Richard Santa Evento: NAB SHOW Las Vegas Abril 2023
Load more...

Ultimo Info-Boletin