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Manager+Agents Use Cases Part 3: Creative Workflows

Sep 24, 2018 By Meg Cater

This blog is the third in a series covering the most common types use cases for Manager+Agents. Signiant’s flagship product and the gold standard for scheduled, lights-out, automated transfer of large files between geographically distributed locations, M+A is the core transport backbone of most major media companies.

The use cases covered in this series also include: Part 1 content distribution; Part 2 content contribution, aggregation and ingest and, coming soon; Part 4 cloud workflows; Part 5 sports and Part 6 applications outside of Media & Entertainment. It’s important to note that all of these examples involve business-to-business media workflows; Signiant technology is not typically involved in delivery of content directly to the consumer.

Using M+A for Creative Workflows

Manager+Agents software plays a key role in the creative process for most of the produced media assets that consumers see on television, in theaters, or online. Fast, secure electronic transport of media content between various locations and commercial entities is an essential element of modern production and post production.

The journey from raw camera footage to finished media asset involves many processes, some of which occur in series and some in parallel. Certain of these activities are talent-driven, undertaken by creative professionals whose artistic sensibilities add crucial value to the finished product. In contrast, some processes are purely technical and can be fully automated – while others lie somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.  A Manager+Agents system can provide the underpinnings for all of these processes.

The more premium the asset, the more likely that a large number of different, highly specialized companies will be involved in the creative process. For a high-end feature film, dozens of different specialty post production firms may provide services ranging from basic editing to digital effects, sound production, colorizing, etc. Even after the program master is finished, the asset is likely to move around the world for localization. Localization might include voiceover, subtitles, and/or closed captioning in various languages, along with compliance editing to align with varying laws about what kinds of content can be shown to the public.

The M+A system owned by a creative entity is likely to be operated in a more agile manner than systems owned by large content distributors and aggregators. A film production company might, for example, schedule regular transfers for the duration of a production to send rough-cut footage every night from an on-location system to a production facility. During the day, deliveries for the post production pipeline will be scheduled on an as-needed basis when the content is ready for the next step. Timelines are usually tight and resources are usually at a premium, so the granular controls available in the M+A system can be essential. To meet multiple deadlines with the available bandwidth, the operator may need to use resource controls to prioritize a certain file delivery, followed by two more in parallel.

For high-end productions, security during the creative process is of paramount importance.  The creative community depends on M+A to provide secure transfer, as well as a detailed chain of custody record.