Managing video content in DAM How digital asset management software can improve your brands use of video assets

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2 Managing Video Content in DAM Faster connection speeds and improved hardware have helped to greatly increase the popularity of online video. The result is that video content increasingly accounts for some of the most valuable marketing assets that a company has at its disposal. The ability to properly manage these assets has become more important than ever. This white paper will provide guidelines, tips, tools and best practices for managing video content to have the greatest possible positive impact on your company s performance. Increasing role for online video Online video is playing an increasingly important role in both business-to-consumer (B2C) and businessto-business (B2B) marketing. According to comscore, Americans are watching more online video than ever with over a hundred million viewers per day in the United States in 2011, a 43 percent increase over The number of videos viewed per month rose from million to 43.5 million and the number of videos per viewer rose from 175 to 239 per months over the same period. Meanwhile, the average viewing time per video rose from 5 minutes to 5.8 minutes. 1 But as videos play a larger and larger role in marketing campaigns, many brands are facing increasing challenges in managing and distributing online videos. Online video typically takes up one or two orders of magnitude more space than images. Online video also requires substantially more bandwidth to distribute than other media. Online video is associated with a number of unique challenges, such as the need to deliver it in a format that can be viewed by all users in a world that is far from standardizing on a single video playback format. A crucial first step in the management of online video assets is the use of a digital asset management (DAM) system to provide a central repository for managing, storing and distributing video content (as well as other types of digital assets). Videos are available in the system for use by those who are authorized (members of your organization, external partners, the press, etc.). Software-as-a-Service DAM systems make it possible to serve up online video to large numbers of users without bogging down in-house servers. True DAM systems can also automatically convert video to the different formats required. 1 Nielsen and comscore chart rise in online video, Connected Vision, February 12,

3 Use of codecs and containers Digital videos can take up enormous amounts of storage space and network bandwidth. Each second of uncompressed high definition video is made up of approximately 30 images, each 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels. Codecs (the term is derived from code/decode ), shrinks the size of video files by filtering and compressing the video and audio. The same codec used on your end to code or compress a video file for storage and transmission must be used by the viewer s system to decode or decompress the video when the video is viewed. There are hundreds of different codecs with different advantages and disadvantages for different applications. Since there is no standard codec, video marketers must normally offer video coded with several different codecs in order to ensure that as much of the potential audience as possible view their video. Codecs compress video using two primary methods. Intraframe compression compresses a single frame in isolation using the same methods as tools such as JPEG that are used to compress individual images. Interframe compression is potentially even more powerful because it operates on a sequence of frames. One common method of interframe compression is to compare each frame in the video with the previous one. If the frame contains areas where nothing has changed, the codec simply indicates that those parts haven t changed, avoiding the need to store the duplicate information. AVI, MOV, and other files are containers that can contain files encoded with many different codecs. One MOV file might be encoded with an mpeg 1 codec, while another might be encoded with a DV25 codec. So to say it s a QuickTime movie is not enough. What kind of QuickTime movie is it? One of the important features of a codec is its bitrate which refers to the number of bits that must be transmitted every second to play the video. The higher the bitrate the higher the bandwidth requirement, so codecs are designed to strike a balance between efficiency and quality. The bitrate is equal to the file size of the encoded video divided by the playing time. For example, an 80 Megabyte (MB) file with a playing time of 10 seconds requires a bandwidth of 8 Megabytes per second (MBps). One Byte is equal to 8 bits so this video has a bitrate of 64 Megabits per second (Mbps). 3

4 Storing video for online viewing A key benefit of a cloud-based DAM system is its ability to use different codecs to code video files without the need for redundant use of your storage. One of the major questions that is faced by every company that uses online video is what versions of the video to store in the DAM system. One issue to consider is whether the DAM system will be servicing only those who need access to finished assets (as opposed to also being used by those who need access to raw footage. If video editors will be storing files in the DAM, then the DAM should be prepared to receive raw footage straight from the camera as well as B-roll. B-roll is the supplemental or alternate footage intercut with the main shot in an interview, documentary or other video (often to add meaning to a sequence or disguise the elimination of unwanted content). Another question to consider is what quality level of a video to store in a DAM. Just 10 seconds of standard definition DV-quality video (or less than 3 seconds of HD video) will occupy 50 Megabytes the size of a typical high-res image from a digital SLR camera. If you do the math, you see how storing video can eat up hard drive space very quickly. One way to combat this is to store what are called mezzanine files in the DAM software. They are compressed videos that take up less space than the full-res files, but are high enough in quality to be used to create the highly compressed videos typically used on the web. For example, if you decide to use mpeg 2 as your mezzanine file for a 10-minute video, it will look completely normal if burned to a DVD, while only taking up a fifth of the disk space the full-res DV version would. You will see virtually no visible difference in the quality of the flash video created from the mpeg 2 file compared to one made from the DV file.. A key advantage of DAM software is its ability to do video conversions on the fly. So there s no need for you (or your video production company) to provide more than one version of video. But although a DAM system can do conversions as needed by the user, it takes time to convert video and the longer the video the longer the conversion takes. If storage were free, then we could store a copy of the video in every possible format and quality level that a user might ever require; although, even then, this would be a 4

5 version control nightmare. But if you have a large number of videos this approach will probably take up too much space. Instead, the recommended approach is to save converted videos for a certain period of time so they can be accessed without any wait time while they re hot or in high demand. By default, the Widen Media Collective DAM system saves converted videos for seven days. Users can change this value depending on the availability of storage. Also, when marketers upload videos that are expected to generate a lot of traffic, they can preconvert these videos to the most popular formats so they are available for immediate download by viewers. The Widen Media Collective is preconfigured to provide users with a series of download options. Users can also set their own conversion options. For example, Knaack, a manufacturer of jobsite storage equipment, uses a 7-inch LCD monitor for point-of-purchase (POP) video presentations. This monitor uses a special video format: an AVI container with DivX codec in 720x480 widescreen. Widen easily configured their DAM system to produce a new format for playback on this device. An important advantage of DAM software is the ability to provide embed codes for videos in websites that point back to a single video file maintained in the DAM. This approach simplifies the management of video assets. In the event that the video changes, you need only update the asset in your web-based DAM system; the changes will be reflected anywhere your video is embedded. When your web visitors click the link to view the video, the file is served from a content delivery network that can easily scale in bandwidth to handle spikes in demand. Your site visitors will not suffer any performance issues even when hundreds or thousads of people are accessing your digital assets at the same time (assuming the servers hosting your assets can handle that kind of bandwidth). Emergence of HTML5 The emergence of HTML5 is another factor to consider in deciding how to manage online video. HTML5 is not a codec or container, but rather a new version of the HTML language that, for the first time, allows the browser to support video playback. HTML5 makes things simpler for users by eliminating the need to download a third-party plug-in in to support video playback. The challenge for the marketer is that different browsers support different audio/video formats. Currently, browser support for different formats is scattered. No single codec is supported by all major browsers, so if you want your video to be viewable nearly everyone, you should consider converting it into both the WebM and MP4 formats. On the mobile side, both ios and Android only support MP4 video (although Android 4.0 introduced limited support for WebM video). ios devices do not support Flash video. Android enables Flash players but they are not always preloaded so the user might need to download the player. It s also worth noting that over 90 percent of ios users are on the two latest versions but only about 4.5 percent of Android users are on 3.0 and 4.0 combined. So it s important to support older versions of Android. 5

6 Roles and permissions DAM software allows you to set up various levels of user access (via roles and permissions, in the case of the Widen Media Collective). For example, set up a role for editors and give them access to raw footage and B-roll asset groups and native conversion formats. Set up another role for sales and marketing channels and give them access only to the finished, edited videos asset group and normal conversion options. Metadata is data about data. The term refers to tags, descriptions and other information attached to videos, images and other assets, and it makes those assets easier to find in your asset library. Good metadata is the key to avoiding lost time searching for existing assets and recreating them they aren t found. Some typical metadata fields for video include: Product name/number/info Key people in the video Type of video: product demo, customer interview, software tutorial, etc. Editor/production company Where production files live Information about any licensed footage, images, music, talent Copyright info 6

7 Conclusion Marketers are devoting more time and effort into producing quality videos so naturally the management of this video is becoming increasingly important. The tips provided in this white paper should provide a good head start on making the best use of existing and future digital video assets. 7

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