Award-winning Advertising Agency, 72andSunny, which has made the top 10 of the Ad Age Agency A-list for the past couple of years, including being ranked as number one in 2013, was looking for a simple way to manage vast and growing catalogue of media assets. The agency turned to Los-Angeles based media asset management consulting group, XPlatform Consulting, to help them find the right solution for a very specific set of challenges.
Evaluating the market
72andSunny currently has more than 450,000 historical assets and more than 3 million files currently In production, ranging from editorial, print, motion graphics, sound design, and video assets. The agency needed a way to catalogue and manage those assets, making them easy to find.
At the same time, compatibility was a key concern, as the platform would need to manage assets across multiple storage platforms, and geographical locations, whilst integrating seamlessly with various non-linear editing system to ensure an efficient process.
72andSunny undertook a two-year analysis with XPlatform Consulting, evaluating all of the top Media Asset Management solutions on the market, to determine which would best fit their requirements. It was particularly important to identify a solution that was enterprise grade, based on open standards, and had a flexible API that would allow 72andSunny to integrate it with an existing internal file based workflow automation system.
Cantemo Portal was selected as it ticked all of those boxes, integrating with existing workflows, whilst providing an easy to use web based interface for easy search, and all in one solution. It also offered the best price for performance and was the easiest solution for a self-install.
The evaluation was extremely thorough, looking at a whole host of important requirements, and Cantemo Portal shone through as the best solution to perfectly fit 72andSunny’s requirements.
The project has two very distinct phases, the first of which is complete and was concerned with implementing Cantemo Portal and applying its functions to the 450,000+ historical assets.
72andSunny has 700 users worldwide, therefore the easy-to-use web interface of Cantemo Portal was vital to ensuring that the process of searching for individual assets is simple for any of those users, and accessible, regardless of geographical location.
72andSunny also have a number of files in different formats, therefore support for decoding and encoding those formats, including RED, Apple ProRes, and Avid DNxHD, was also crucial.
Of course, security is a key concern, especially for assets, which are yet to be approved. Therefore, outside of cataloguing its assets and providing search and discovery, Cantemo Portal need to provide enterprise authentication and authorization integration with Microsoft Active Directory (AD). Cantemo Portal allows controlled access to assets based on a users role of AD Group. It also provides 72andSunny’s IT administration with the ability to generate auditing reports on user access.
The integration between Cantemo Portal and Aspera’s transfer service and file based workflow automation system allowed us to not only create a searchable catalog of all our historical assets, but also to implement automated workflow for distribution and archive.
The second phase is still ongoing, with 72andSunny working to automate all in-progress files, of which there are more than 3million. Once complete this stage of the process will ensure that users within all offices will be able to share and review assets between themselves, as well as sharing with clients from within Cantemo Portal.
Ensuring a seamless, automated workflow was an important part of the project. 72andSunny wanted to ensure that assets could be automatically archived or distributed, making the manual process for its staff all that more simple.
Therefore, using Cantemo Portal, 72andSunny has developed its own custom workflows. It uses the file transfer service, Aspera Orchestrator, to ingest files into Cantemo Portal. Within Portal, the next stage is also automated, including cataloguing of those assets, inserting and extracting the specific metadata (for easy search), transcoding and distribution to Amazon S3 User Aspera Enterprise Server.
Integrating the production system was an important part of ensuring everything could be managed in one place. Therefore the Cantemo system has been integrated with Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro CC, and Avid Media Composer. The users can open a specific asset or project from within Cantemo Portal directly into the Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro NLE software. Thanks to some clever automated import processes; annotations, rough-cut edits and metadata are all transferred along with the asset, giving users a complete overview of each individual item.
The production team are able to make any necessary edits and then save the project back into the MAM, complete with appropriate metadata and full media source tracking so they can easily find it again next time it is required.
Often it is required to deliver assets in different codecs for client review or final delivery, therefore users at 72andSunny use Portal to generate those files in different formats.
All about the look
Naturally, for an Advertising Agency, especially one, which can count some high profile brands as customers (including Samsung, Google, Activision and Smirnoff, amongst many others), the look and feel was extremely important.
Cantemo Portal can be easily customized by the customer, which means 72andSunny has been able to create its own custom themes, which can also be tailored to each individual client where necessary.