mam san and archive page one of one


Since Apple wasn’t at NAB this year, I had a little extra time to more thoroughly check out MAM (media asset management) software and SAN (small area network) solutions as well as investigate archiving alternatives. On the MAM front I have become pretty well acquainted with Apple’s Final Cut Server software so I had something with which to compare as I went from vendor to vendor. I sat down for demos of MAM applications from Apace, blue order, empress emam, and Square Box.

I looked for MAM software that seemed flexible, integrated well with Final Cut Pro, and was easy to use. The Apace, blue order, and empress systems are web based, which is nice for universal access, but the most flexible, integrated, and efficient seemed to be the Square Box software called CatDV. I was able to chat with the owner, who has taught media asset management classes for Apple, about file based workflows and media management.

I was given a demo of CatDV by an editor that works on reality TV out of LA. One of the reality shows he cited was Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. I know . . . crazy huh. I guess Dr. Drew shoots with 10 cameras. They had over 600 hours of P2 footage for one episode. Try keeping all those files straight. They use CatDV.

I also looked at companies that configure SAN systems and software.

EditShare has a very good turnkey system that relies on their software and hardware. They specialize in mixed Avid and FCP editing environments and integrating the two. The EditShare system is very impressive but you are locked into their server hardware.

MetaSan by Tiger-Technology is a software only solution. They provide the software. You or someone else provides the server. MetaSan is often named as working very well on a small network. See a review here.

Another SAN solution that is getting a lot of buzz among FCP users is Maxx Digital’s Final Share.

The end of the process from ingest through to final output is of course archiving. When my discussion with the CatDV people was taking the turn toward archiving, they directed me to an LTO company. Cache-A makes LTO drives. LTO drives have become the go to standard for long term media archiving. One of their partners is CatDV. CatDV is integrating their cataloging software with Cache-A.

Cache-A has many products in the works. Many that have not shipped, but they seem to be very tuned in to the specific needs of video and media companies. The unit pictured above is a portable unit with firewire 400 and 800 and ethernet connections. It is a single tape unit. The tapes are 800Gb in capacity. This unit, used in conjunction with the CatDV software, could provide the archiving hardware as well as a cataloging system that would keep track of the archive library of LTO tapes. The Cache-A deck creates a directory for each tape that shows individual files. These files can be quickly retrieved and are accessible at the file level.