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What does an end-to-end video management solution look like?

By: Lydia Bird

Setting up and curating a video library is a relatively straightforward process, especially when you employ a dedicated media asset management (MAM) system. In fact, an ‘end-to-end’ process, from initially choosing a MAM (see the ‘Setup’) to potential revenue generation (see ‘Commerce’), tends to follow these eight simple steps…

Step 1 – Setup

The first step is to create a portal with which to share your content. Not all MAMs are built in the same way, but Imagen uses a browser-based system so it’s accessible at any time, from most devices, and by whomever you assign permissions to.

You can also completely customise the look and feel of your content portal, so it’s in line with your company branding, and with as much or as little user interaction as you like. You can also design your own bespoke workflow using a built-in nodal workflow manager, which lets you add further functionality as your needs change.

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Step 2 – Video capture

Generating content is easier than ever, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, digital cameras and IP (Internet Protocol) devices that can shoot high-definition video. However, investing in DSLRs or professional video cameras will at least ensure the raw footage is of a high quality at 4K or higher – you can always resize and compress it into a smaller file format, but you can’t upscale low-resolution video. These raw, uncompressed files can then be safely archived for reuse later on.

Step 3 – Ingestion

The next step is to upload the content to your library, a process known as ‘ingestion’. Uploading content can be time-consuming, but the Imagen platform has a host of media management tools to help speed it up.

Files can be ingested either singly or in batches, and can be done via a web browser, a ‘watched’ hot folder, directly from Dropbox and OneDrive, or from a specified storage device using a REST (Representational State Transfer) interface.

If you’re generating live streams, these can also be ingested using RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), and once the stream is complete the entire file is stored online. Video is automatically encoded during ingest and can be stored in multiple resolutions and file formats depending on your needs.

Step 4 – Tagging

Tagging is the act of adding additional information – metadata, annotations, chapters and so on – to your content, making it more easily searchable and ultimately more useful. The better the metadata, the more efficient the search and the easier it will be to find content later. (Your future self will thank you for it!)

For example, by adding names, dates, topics, time-based notes, star ratings and even emojis, you can search for a specific section in an hour-long presentation or a single incident in an entire sporting event. Imagen’s system also supports artificially intelligent facial recognition and a speech-to-text system that automatically adds transcriptions in a number of languages.

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Step 5 – Sharing

With your content uploaded, tagged, and safely stored in the cloud, it’s time to share it (which is, after all, the whole point). Imagen’s browser-based interface features a high-quality media player with which you can play back clips and audio files, make edits, and watch live streams – it even support picture-in-picture.

Links can be sent to clients and colleagues, and clips shared on third-party web pages. The Imagen platform also includes social media tools enabling you to easily publish clips to Twitter and Facebook, driving traffic and engagement.

Step 6 – Curation

The advantage of using a media management system over the likes of YouTube and Vimeo, or a traditional file sharing system like Dropbox, is the ability to stipulate who watches what and when.

With Imagen, you can provide dedicated portals for your workforce, your clients or the general public, and precisely limit their availability and functionality. You have the freedom to give specific people or groups the ability to tag, edit, upload and download videos, to limit what sort of content they can have access to (full-res or proxies), or set up a secure public portal where anyone can watch specially curated clips, but nothing else.

How you provide that access, and to whom, is completely up to you.

Step 7 – Analytics

At this point you could easily sit back and relax with the satisfaction of a job well done. But who’s looking at your content and how often? What’s popular and what’s being overlooked? Are you providing the right material to the right audience?

This where the art of analytics kicks in, enabling you to precisely monitor engagement levels and react accordingly. Imagen’s tabbed dashboard provides a simple graphical overview of various indicators, split between media storage, user activity (linked to Google Analytics), download/playback figures and so on. All these statistics can be viewed by a defined date range – weekly, monthly, user-defined – and enables you to optimise your library, workflow and, hopefully, income…

Step 8 – Commerce

Not everyone uses their media library as a source of revenue, but if you’re hosting a large amount of content, Imagen provides the tools you need to capitalise on it.

For example, it’s simple to set up a credit system – where each clip requires a certain amount of credits to download – a subscription service for video-on-demand, or single ad-hoc payments. You can charge by the clip or on a time basis (down to cost per second), and provide special deals for packages of content. With secure payments handled through Stripe, you can make your content library work for you, without really doing anything.

From ingestion to monetisation, this is what an end-to-end video management platform looks like.

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