Skinny MAM – What you’ve always wanted in a media management solution….and nothing you don’t

A MAM philosophy for a world requiring nimble production workflow from any location
By Sunil Mudholkar – VP Product Management – EditShare

Media Asset Management Systems are everywhere. There’s a small MAM at the heart of every video editing system (NLE). These are, after all, essentially databases whose reports are in the form of a timeline. And, on a larger scale, in every modern media production facility there will be one form of asset management system or another. Most of these solutions have grown over time adding features and functions to a monolithic software stack that may end up providing the set of features you are looking for. However, these monolithic systems also end up with a lot of stuff you don’t need, and consequently, things you don’t want to pay for. 

As more remote production workflows are supported and as media production workflows move to the cloud, the requirements of a media management system also change. One way to address these new requirements would be to continue adding to the stack. However, this isn’t actually helping solve the problem. 

The better path:  Skinny MAM

There are two essential parts to achieving skinny software, and hence Skinny MAMs. These are microservices and APIs. Microservices are the smallest possible fragments of software that still do something useful. An API is a standardized way to exchange data between software, including microservices.

Let’s just drill down here into what exactly defines a microservice. How do you distinguish a microservice from another, similar-looking piece of code that isn’t one? Simply this: ask what it does. If, in the description of the functionality of a piece of software there’s an “and” (as in: “it does this and that”), then it’s not a microservice. You can’t use an “and” when it only does one thing.

Microservices would be of little use if they were like single cell amoeba, floating around in an electronic sea, with no means to communicate with each other. That’s where APIs change everything. APIs are standardized, published interfaces to software modules. And because they’re public and fully documented, there are no surprises: if you send the right data through an API, it will respond with whatever it is you’ve asked for, as long as you stay within its capabilities, and obey its rules.

APIs aren’t just used for communication between microservices: they are for liaising with the outside world as well. This makes a microservice-based Skinny MAM incredibly flexible. All kinds of external services have APIs, so building a highly customized workflow becomes simply a matter of integration. New and previously untried workflows become dependable solutions, not science experiments, simply by selecting from the API a la carte menu.

Our Flow media management solution embodies the characteristics of the Skinny MAM.  It is lightweight, modular, and open – composed from the start as a set of microservices and complemented with a robust set of open APIs. Our strict adherence to a solution composed of microservices and APIs, allows us to deliver all the advantages of this modern architecture. 

Applying microservices and APIs to collaborative video editing workflows

Imagine an educational establishment that uses Zoom for online teaching. Even though Zoom can record sessions, the options are limited and quite inflexible for anything other than a broad-brush approach. However, Zoom has a useful API that can talk to EditShare’s Flow (a Skinny MAM). It means that a far more granular approach is possible. More importantly, it means you can make use of Flow to edit and manage the content of your Zoom recordings leveraging Zoom as an input to build your content.

Another example: Closed Captions.  Legally required in the US, closed captions contain text that can be utilized as metadata for the related video content. Since they exist with every piece of video, it makes sense to capitalize on the information they contain, treating them as free, instant metadata. Flow’s openness allows you to connect with third party speech to text APIs, allowing you to build a system that will programmatically search for video footage according to what is being said in the closed captions.

There is an almost limitless roster of ways that the Flow APIs can be used in combination with external data and other services to create an extended palette of capabilities.

A complete solution suite

EditShare’s Skinny MAM approach is the key to secure an open MAM functionality that’s also able to integrate with best of breed third party hardware, software and services, without any compromise.

Flow sits at the top of the MAM technology stack. It’s equally at home on-premise and in the cloud, but it’s not the only part of the EditShare technology suite. At the other end of the stack, there’s storage, which can be implemented in on-prem, cloud, or hybrid configurations. Like Flow, EditShare’s file system and storage management layer, EFS, has a full set of APIs. This set of APIs not only connect with the upper levels of the stack, but also allow EditShare users to work across storage platforms, with full redundancy and scalability, while maintaining superior performance.

It’s easy to get started.  Contact us at https://editshare.live/skinnymam/ to try our Skinny MAM for free until July 1, 2020.