AWS Media Blog

Close encounters of the 5th kind: An introduction to SAM, DAM’s new relative

Authored by John Thuotte, Strategic Sales Manager at 5th Kind, and Jack Wenzinger, Global Solution Architect, Media & Entertainment Partners at AWS. The content and opinions in this post are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.

Today, an entertainment studio is likely using disparate systems for script management and review of dailies/rushes while other systems are used for digital and retail product workflows. More often than not, these systems don’t play well with together, which presents a fundamental challenge to overall studio management.

Studio asset management (SAM) systems consider the entire workflow of a studio project from script to final distribution, including concept art, pre-production, dailies, editorial, marketing, and most everything in between. The architecture of such a systems needs enough structure to be useful across an entire organization, and must also provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate specific departmental needs.

An optimized solution provides different departments with the same set of files at the appropriate stage of an asset’s life, with the proper user-experience for different types of users. For example, the workflow for an approval process by a creative director on a film is much different than the approval process for photographs taken of an actor on set. The system should serve as a central hub for multiple departments, service many asset types, and scale as the studio grows. The solution must be relevant to film production, keep up with creative and marketing teams, and likely support a distributed workforce. Security is paramount, as the IP that studios deal in is the heart and soul of their business.

CORE by 5th Kind is a secure studio workflow management system that utilizes metadata-driven architecture to centralize and secure all digital files, improve collaboration, eliminate duplication, simplify access to all digital assets, and reduce costs by consolidating disparate solutions and simplifying the reuse of assets across the entire organization. This flexible solution can be customized to meet a wide range of requirements for review of dailies, marketing distribution, collaborative reviews and approvals, and asset and access security across multiple departments. CORE is architected to support multiple workflows in a studio environment, differentiating itself from other asset management solutions that focus only on individual studio workflows.

At the heart of the CORE solution is a metadata-based framework. A flexible tagging platform allows customers to quickly and efficiently set up taxonomies, powering faceted search to align with customer need. This greatly improves a studio’s ability to search, utilize, and monetize its assets while also using rich metadata to power automated file and user access rules.

CORE is built on a foundation of open APIs that integrate with other services like Adobe Premiere. An event-driven layer provides a mechanism for automating specific tasks like transcoding and archiving without diving into source code. CORE also utilizes Kubernetes to establish a services-based architecture that benefits from modularity and focused service deployment. The architecture provides a standards-based framework and tremendous scalability when running on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Working with AWS provides 5th Kind with media and entertainment industry expertise and resources to implement best practices. AWS also provides guidance in migrating data and workloads into the secure AWS cloud from on-premises infrastructure.

With AWS and CORE from 5th Kind, studios such as Marvel have mandated studio-wide digital archive policies and have created a library with millions of secured, organized, and searchable files. CORE allows studios to mandate a minimum set of metadata tags such as production, company, department, category, and asset type. Embedded metadata and unlimited custom tag values can be applied, allowing files to be organized and searchable according to any department-specific naming convention.

CORE also allows a studio to start with a specific workflow. For example, NBCU wanted a modern approach to managing its dailies workflow with the possibility of consolidating other siloed systems down the road. With this in mind, the company implemented CORE for dailies today, with the knowledge that it can aggregate other departmental workflows in the future.

As for business benefits, a major studio that implemented CORE for dailies review is paying less than its previous solution for more users, with more flexibility, better mobile support, enhanced security, more control over its own assets, and the ability to self-manage simple tasks like resetting passwords and adding users.

Another major studio that implemented CORE studio-wide shared 6.5 million files with over 2,500 companies and 27,000 users in 2018, estimating a savings of $1.5 million through efficiencies and repurposing of assets across multiple productions. The ability to avoid miscommunication was also cited as another primary source of cost savings, as the right people and departments can access correct, approved versions of assets at appropriate stages of the workflow and approval processes.

The data tsunami of today’s digital age challenges businesses to implement solutions that optimize digital asset management. From securing and organizing files to metadata-based access controls and collaborative review, 5th Kind sets a new standard for an AWS-integrated studio asset management solution. With AWS providing access to a global cloud full of opportunity, 5th Kind is well positioned to support studios in their asset management evolution.

Interested in learning more? Check out the 5th Kind website.

Jack Wenzinger

Jack Wenzinger

Jack Wenzinger supports technology partners in the Media & Entertainment Vertical for AWS, accelerating their adoption of AWS in media operations and services to support their customers. Jack works with executives and technology owners to address their technical and non-technical transformation challenges, providing domain expertise for cloud adoption and achievement of key business objectives. Over 20 years spent defining digitization, MAM, and media workflow solutions for studios, broadcasters, sports, news, and government agencies. Jack is always ready to talk cloud, MAM, metadata, classic car restoration, big dogs, jeeps, Rush or other epic rock bands.