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What is video content ingestion?

Video content ingestion is the process of getting your video assets onto a media asset management (MAM) platform. Sound easy? Far from it. Not all content ingestion processes are created equal and not all MAM platforms work in the same way.

By: Dominik Elmiger


Ingesting video content into a modern digital asset management (DAM) platform typically involves a careful and thorough process to copy or transfer assets across. But there are deeper considerations beyond clicking the ‘upload’ button that can make life much easier for media managers. In short: the details matter.

What is content ingestion?

Content ingestion is the process of getting information onto a database or storage system. In the case of a DAM platform, that means the transfer or copying of media assets from their original location into digital storage.

Sometimes content ingestion is as simple as uploading a single file, but more typically it involves the automated upload and processing of many. Ingestion workflows are designed to satisfy requirements for the DAM and its users, so they often involve additional tasks such as metadata extraction, transcoding, resizing, or other file operations.

Crucially, in the case of a DAM, the source materials may include archive footage stored on legacy and analogue formats. In these cases, the video ingestion workflow needs to include a recovery or digitisation stage – for example the transfer of old film stock, or the scanning of a photographic library.

Why is content ingestion important?

The quality and completeness of content ingestion is fundamental to the smooth operation of any asset storage system. It’s critical to capture all relevant assets, but also to ensure that they’re stored with the metadata and other contextual information needed to find and retrieve them on demand. This metadata can include: date, data type or location; title, creator/author and keywords; plus technical information such as its file type and size. 

Just as importantly, the ingestion process determines the initial access permissions allocated to assets. Getting this right is vital to protecting valuable IP.

Despite its importance to an initial rollout, content ingestion isn’t just a one-time consideration. Whenever stakeholders create, iterate or archive assets, in bulk or individually, the system needs to ingest them. At a user level, it’s important that ingestion should be self-serving and intuitive – for example, through a branded web interface, or by automating uploads from a local storage medium.

What does video content ingestion look like?

With responsibility for securing assets and delivering them in multiple formats, media managers face particular challenges when it comes to video content. But a well-designed video ingestion process, supported by a powerful DAM, offers multiple opportunities to automate, accelerate and improve content delivery.

When it comes to video, a typical content ingestion workflow might look like this:

  • Organise – identify where assets currently are, who they belong to, who has access
  • Examine – what file formats are you using, for which purposes? What transcoding or conversions will you need?
  • Prepare – create the taxonomy you’ll use for metadata. Build users, permissions, etc.
  • Import – upload assets to the DAM manually and via scripted actions. These might include resizing, transcoding or conversion
  • Verify – confirm asset integrity and availability

While successful ingestion depends on careful planning and data wrangling, some DAM platforms offer automated tools that add immense value. These can include metadata extraction and creation, which ensures that assets are tagged with the standard and custom data that makes them easy to index, search and recover. Imagen can even carry over tags from other systems, making it easier to consolidate multiple systems or metadata practices.

Other automations take care of intensive tasks such as transcoding video into new formats. For example, a DAM solution might automatically create extra lightweight and web-friendly proxies for everything from audio waveforms to media stills. Instead of having to download a huge video file, users can subsequently preview or check a detail via a quick, web-based viewer, dramatically saving time.

Comprehensive ingest features can extend beyond the initial population phase too. For example, if you’re collecting media from multiple contributors, integrated review and approve tools will let you control the content submitted to the platform. And again, some leading systems can automatically generate the right file versions for online playback and instant delivery.

The easy life for media managers

With more teams using more tools to create and share more content, media managers have their work cut out for them. Nothing is more important than consistently managing content as your teams create, store and retrieve it. Imagen’s structured standards, easy-to-use interface and transcoding automations mean that gathering, managing and delivering media is intuitive for every user.

Through document ingestion and beyond, Imagen helps media managers move away from repetitive, task-driven processes. Instead, they can focus on helping shape, structure and inform media management practices across the business, to ensure no media is ever lost, forgotten or underused.

Download our latest technical specification to discover how award-winning Imagen keeps your media safe for the long term, engages your audience, and maximises the full value of your video.

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