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Updated: June 24, 2013 20:39 IST

The importance of storage in the media, film industry

DILIP PATIL
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Dilip Patil
Dilip Patil

With the aid of technology, studios can use their film archives for a range of projects

Industries that deal with media and content are always abuzz with excitement. They are creative, innovative and of great economic and social importance. The primary focus of this industry is to provide entertainment: to do so, it has to stay in tune with changing trends.

The key to this is to manage and react to the challenges of globalisation and the digital shift. The digital shift offers new opportunities for the industry to recoup investments through the exploitation of new distribution channels and devices. New techniques result in efficient distribution, open new markets and lower costs for the consumer. In addition, taking full advantage of opportunities to distribute media and content across borders will be essential to maximise audiences, readers and revenues.

Digital spending

Digital spending, which is the acquisition of media products in a digital format, has tripled worldwide, according to a new JRC report. With the increasing number of digital platforms and growing global interest in the Indian film industry, films are being distributed and watched more than ever before.

Preservation

This brings up the question, why digitisation? Digitisation is the conversion of material into an electronic format that allows easy access, sharing and searching. It is considered a preservation strategy as it ensures the protection of materials that are in a fragile format.

Digitisation enables worldwide access, without the need for a person’s physical presence with the source material.

With material being everything to a media industry, storage and easy retrieval of this material is of high priority. If footage is lost owing to hard drive failure or disc corruption, then the entire project could be lost. It results in enormous cost to the company and detrimentally impacts distributors and audience. It is necessary to guarantee that all assets are protected.

Single solution

To ensure this, there is a need for a single solution capable of archiving an expanding film catalogue for future audiences. With a good storage solution, studios have the flexibility to access and use their film archives for a range of media projects across platforms such as YouTube and iTunes. With these platforms being accessible to millions of film lovers, having an easily accessible film catalogue that is searchable down to the level of the single frame is critical to ensure global distribution.

Packaging

Specific film files should be delivered to dedicated workstations where the IT team can package the film or film clip in the appropriate format for upload, thereby ensuring maximum exposure for the entire catalogue.

To elaborate on the actual need for these solutions, even film industries have adopted technology to help store footage.

Companies can gain the ability to integrate digital asset management software with the help of storage solutions such as the Dell EqualLogic. Using storage arrays, tagging process is automated and it eliminates what is otherwise a time-consuming manual task.

Snapshot restoration

Another huge advantage that a film industry can get out of a technology vendor is a snapshot restoration. This feature was found in an EqualLogic SAN, where a single frame that may have been corrupted can be restored. This is a much better alternative to restoring an entire film.

Technology such as this saves a sizeable amount of time and ensures that no delays occur during a film’s promotion and distribution. Due to continued technical innovation within the media industry, the increased use of computer-generated and computer-altered imagery and a greater demand for high definition films, storage requirements in the media industry will rapidly increase. With a good IT solution backing up creative content, the industry’s growth will be unstoppable.

(The author is General Manager, Digital, Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd.)

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