Philip Grossman discusses Digital Asset Management
Here are the questions asked:
- How are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
- How does an organization focused on the weather use Digital Asset Management?
- What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
- What advice would you like to share with DAM Professionals and people aspiring to become DAM Professionals?
Henrik de Gyor: [0:01] This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today I’m speaking with Philip Grossman. Philip, how are you?
Philip Grossman: [0:10] I’m doing good.
Henrik: [0:12] Philip, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Philip: [0:15] Well I’m the Senior Director of Content Acquisition and Management at The Weather Channel. My job and role entails managing and overseeing all of the technologies that support all the assets internally to the organization.
[0:28] I’m responsible for all the equipment that helps see the physical assets come in, the video and audio and stills come in, get processed, get stored. Enable the editors to access them, to do their magic and assist in pushing the assets out the other side whether that be live broadcast to television or to digital, or mobile, or to the web.
Henrik: [0:48] How does an organization focused on the weather use Digital Asset Management?
Philip: [0:52] In our world we have both television, so we are one of the largest and one of the most distributed television networks in United States, over 100 million households. We also have one of the most widely download applications, the weather.com app, as well as our weather.com website. Through all of those we are an asset‑centric organization, obviously video and stills.
[1:15] In our world we have 22 hours of live programming per day roughly that we fill with digital assets, whether that be things we create ourselves, long‑form programming that comes in from third parties, or in some cases what we call user‑generated content, people in the field who have a passion for weather who send us video and still images.
Henrik: [1:36] What are the biggest challenges and successes with Digital Asset Management?
Philip: [1:40] Biggest challenges is just that the diversity of the assets themselves. We jokingly say that I have two states. I have stuff that needs to come in and become our house format, and then our house format that has to go out to h.264 for distribution. One of the biggest challenges is just to be able to manage the vast array of formats that come in, and normalize them so they can then process through.
[2:05] Not only do we have formats, then we also have the wonderful hi‑def versus standard def, 16:9 verse 4:3. In order to enable our teams to work efficiently we’ve go to overcome those issues. This is probably one of biggest challenges. Then the second is rights management. For us because we have the combination of material we create ourselves, as well as material provided to us by third parties or end users, we have to be able to manage when this content can be used.
[2:32] Some of it can be used on television. Some of it can’t be used on television, some on the web, but some on television and the web, but only on the web for four days, on television for 14 days. It took an intricate rights management process, which again goes back to the asset itself. At the end of the day, it’s the Metadata, it’s all in the assets.
[2:48] That’s probably one of the other challenges. For us, success is being able to increase the sheer velocity of material we’re able to bring in as raw material to allow our editors and producers to create interesting material out of.
Henrik: [3:03] What advice would you like to share it with, DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Philip: [3:08] I’d say probably the best piece of advice is start small. When I say small, I mean start at the core asset itself. It’s an object. That’s where you should build and move your processes around.
[3:20] You could say, “Well we just do video.” OK. start with the video as an object or as an asset, and then start to identify what kind of video do you have? When you have SD and HD, all of a sudden your object model becomes larger. That’s really the key to any asset management system. The joke is how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
[3:37] Same concept, start small, understand the objects that you have to manage, and then some that you can build your rules and metadata and everything else around, and the system will become complex on its own. If you start by trying to boil the ocean and figure out I need it to do this, I need it to do that, you’re never going to make it happen.
[3:54] Start with the asset itself. Figure out all the metadata that goes around that asset, then that metadata in of itself helps determine what you’ll be able to do with it. Say, “I got to be able to make sure that it doesn’t play on the web.” Then that has to be a field that says, “I’m not allowed to play on the web.” That sort of drives the model and workflows.
[4:13] Almost every automated workflow today is based around the metadata that you have with your assets. Those are probably the two biggest keys I would say in creating a system. Try to build things that have what we would refer to as level of abstraction. If I build one, giant, massive system, the larger that system gets the more difficult it becomes to make changes to that system or the inertia required to make changes to that system.
[4:37] If you build highly flexible, light‑weight components, that do one specific thing, or two specific things, then you string them together through what we call level of abstraction, you build a much more flexible system that allows you to grow. Right now we’re in a hi‑def world, two years from now we may be a 4K world, and three years from now maybe an 8K world.
[4:57] If you build a system that’s what you’re doing today, it’s not going to be future proofed by building things are abstracted and that’s what we call service orientation, or service‑orient architecture that allows you to build much more flexible systems.
[5:10] Think of it, Legos. Build a lot of little Lego blocks that you can reassemble anyway you want. If you try to build one giant Lego, it’s an inflexible model.
Henrik: [5:19] Good points. Well thanks, Philip.
Philip: [5:21] Yep. Thank you.
Henrik: [5:23] For more on Digital Asset Management, log onto anotherdamblog.com. This podcast is available on Audioboom and iTunes. Thanks again.
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