Media Asset Management at Eclair Préservation Charlotte CoppejansMarch 15, 2023 Operational Excellence in Archiving and Preservation Eclair Préservation, is the industry leader in France and beyond when it comes to preservation and archiving services. In its position as the oldest film lab in France, Eclair Préservation currently manages a massive collection of 157.897 digitised items for a total of 17PB of digital media and counting. Eclair Préservation’s mission is to allow their customers, predominantly in media and entertainment, to securely preserve, expose and monetise digital and analogue assets. Given the sheer volume, Eclair Préservation was obliged to industrialise its Media Asset Management (MAM) operations, thereby eradicating manual work. As a result, Eclair’s customers can now directly access several key Media Asset Management (MAM) functions without further intervention from a servicing department. Achieved More transparency: a customer base of 180 high-end producers and counting directly interact with the MAM solution made available to them by Eclair Préservation No-code workflows: 50 workflow templates with each several parameters provide unlimited functionality to operators and archive producers Storage: a wide range of 10 different storage options and configurations allow customers to seek an optimal balance between cost and performance Time saved: 13.750 hours or 2000 days of otherwise manual work Eclair Préservation at a glance Using Limecraft since 2019 Currently managing 157.897 digitised assets Managing over 5 million assets (offline and online) for a total of 17PB of storage Ingesting another 3000 assets per month 180 clients actively using the system Processing around 55000 workflows a year 600 workflows a day The Needs Eclair Préservation serves a range of diverse clients with preservation services and archive operations. The purpose of archive operations is to help customers manage and exploit their inventory. Before using Limecraft, Eclair Préservation was using an in-house developed MAM solution. Several issues hampered smooth operations, including excessive manual work, and inconsistent data, and thus it was difficult to retrieve and reuse material. To overcome these challenges, Eclair Préservation set out on a mission to deploy a novel MAM approach, using a hybrid architecture with on-premise storage linked to a cloud-based workspace. The reason for this approach is clear: the security liability and the cost of fork lifting to and managing several petabytes of storage in the cloud would be prohibitive. Yet exposing assets on local storage via a cloud-based workspace allows them to engage directly with customers, thereby eliminating the need for a complementary servicing department. Long-term objective The long-term objective was to create a dedicated workspace for each customer of Eclair Préservation using a customised ‘consultation’ profile. The fact that customers can follow up on the day-to-day operations executed by Eclair Préservation, forced them to raise data quality to a maximum and demonstrate maximum operational excellence. Therefore collections are only exposed after several iterations of semi-automated data cleaning and verification. The goal remains to expose a preservation workspace to customers in the shortest possible timeframe. Using Limecraft, and relying on its ability to jumpstart a workspace based on pre-defined production templates and workflow profiles, new subscribers can be onboarded in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks, and at marginal cost. To achieve this particular goal, several key steps must be completed in the proper order before exposure, including but not restricted to the reconciliation of different sources of metadata, data cleaning, indexing, and eventually digitising the item. These processes are automated to a large extent using the no-code workflows engine of Carrick-Skills, thereby supervised by skilled Eclair Préservation operators. The standard workflow involves ingesting the data, conducting a thorough cleaning process, and finally exposing it to the public via the Eclair workspaces. Approach The specific choices taken by Eclair Préservation were driven by two key requirements. First and foremost, a hybrid (on-premise and cloud-based) operating environment was essential to expose media on local storage via a cloud-based workspace to avoid excessive transcode and file transfer operations. Secondly, Eclair had to look for a solution that had the potential to scale to very large numbers of users and managed media. Therefore the ability to rapidly onboard new customers and large cohorts of users at marginal cost was a critical success factor. Limecraft has been offering hybrid operating environments since 2013. Original media, often in high-resolution, are typically hosted on storage managed by the customer, who has the freedom to operate to use cloud-based storage optimised for large volumes, cold storage on-premise, nearline storage, or a combination of these. Web proxies are used in the online workspace for logging, archive production, pre-cutting, and collaboration in general. Upon export to post-production, Limecraft can securely access the media stored on such local storage end executing a partial retrieve. This approach creates significant savings in bandwidth and online storage consumption. It helps the customer minimise the number of complementary transcodes and file transfers. And, because it is a tightly controlled environment, despite great accessibility, it is much more secure compared to any other alternative. “What I appreciated about both Carrick Skills and Limecraft was their attentive and responsive approach. They truly understand our needs and concerns”, says Laurent Nikolli, technical director at Eclair. The second point of the chosen approach is equally important. Given the very large numbers of assets and users, scalability was a critical success factor. Hence the need for a commercial model whereby the number of users is not factored in. More subtly, new customers have to be onboarded and content operations have to be executed with minimum human intervention. Rapid deployment is possible due to the use of pre-defined “boilerplate” workspaces. These workspaces guarantee compatibility with all sorts of file formats including DCP and IMF, and the underlying no-code workflow system by Carrick-Skills is equipped with 50 workflow templates that can be easily replicated. Finally, as suggested above, the possibility to store the bulk of the original media on local cold storage, allows Eclair to scale to several hundreds of petabytes of storage. 💡What is a boilerplate workspace or workspace template? A workspace template is a generic workspace with pre-defined settings that can be easily replicated to save the time of starting a new workspace from scratch. It reduces the time for deployment of a new production from days to hours. Pre-defined settings may include but are not restricted to the following settings: encoding parameters, metadata models, cron jobs, 3rd party interactions, etc. More info “Limecraft listens well to our requirements and makes sure it delivers Eclair Préservation a solution fit for the purpose,” says Stéphane Ewbank, responsible for digital activities at Eclair Preservation. The Business Case While the scope of work was enormous and the solution we were looking for was truly innovative, the project was brought to success by dividing it into smaller and manageable parts. More like agile development. An incremental approach, whereby each delivery created new opportunities and new operational advantages, which allowed us to validate and further improve the business case step by step. says Edouard Prévost, co-founder at Carrick Skills Using the agile implementation method rightfully adopted by Eclair Préservation, Limecraft and Carrick-Skills connected to the ERP system, retrofitted existing thesauri, critical to efficiently navigating content in large workspaces. The solution offers 10 different storage options, allowing subscribers to balance cost and performance. And Eclair Préservation offers semi-automated data migration and housekeeping processes, supported by AI and whereby minimum human interaction is incurred. So eventually achieving the goals of digitising and exposing inventories, at marginal cost and without the substantial intervention of a service department Today, Eclair Préservation serves over 180 clients using the system; 40 more are scheduled for onboarding. With more than 50 parametrised workflows, each with five or more parameters, the possibilities are endless. Conclusion By choosing Limecraft and Carrick-Skills as the foundation for their Media Asset Management operations, Eclair Préservation was able to deploy a solution which is infinitely scalable in terms of the number of users and the size of the inventory. Additional media, customers, and workflows can be hosted at marginal cost, due to the hybrid on-premise – cloud-based operating environment and the ability to use boilerplate workspace templates to jumpstart new customers. The industrial approach eradicates manual work, which is a key enabler of said scalability. As a by-product of choice to allow customers to interact directly with the content operations, Eclair was forced to raise the bar in terms of operational excellence. About Eclair Préservation Eclair Préservation, a subsidiary of JMS holding, is a leading French company that specialises in preservation services. Their mission is to securely preserve and manage both digital and analogue media for the film and television industries.