Has anyone had experience with any of the few really good software
packages that are available for recording studio management? The best
ones are very good at managing everything from inventory to tape
libraries, including track sheets, track notes, even console and
outboard gear setup and management. All the gory details of sample
rates, noise reduction, etc. are a natural part of that. I'm not
suggesting that anyone use the packages for managing very large audio
archives, just that there may be some real lessons to be learned (for
that matter, also learned not to use) by examining how people have
already tried to solve this in the commercial world.
I agree with Richard about option #3 personally, but it seems to me that
it is the only way, nasty as it is, that has real long-term legs to it.
What we really need is a program (s) that seamlessly link databases with
the audio file / text / visual (whatever type), and doesn't require a
database expert to operate. I can't see how that is really possible any
other way, what with changing digital standards. While I live in fear of
the deadly 'single database file', it at least, if planned properly,
could be arranged so that as ASCII information it could be imported to
any reasonable future database. Further, until everyone everywhere
agrees to exactly what would be included in META information without
exception, there could be no way of conforming older files to the
'standard' without opening and changing every file. Better to make the
file and handle it as little as humanly possible. Databases can do
global changes rather more easily.
I know, I know, IT .... Nasty stuff just keeps getting in the way ! ...
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Richard L. Hess
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 9:54 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] .wav file content information
As usual, Scott and John make some very persuasive points.
But, there is a huge leap from putting metadata in the BWF file to
running a database. Let's name the database: it's a digital asset
management system or media asset management system. Buzzword software
that delivers less than it promises in many iterations, sadly. I'd love
to hear good responses about MAM software.
In reality, I think there are three levels (perhaps more)
(1) Essence (to use the SMPTE term) and metadata in one file.
This is the BWF as well as the MXF and AAF approach. This was, to
one of the big paradigm shifts when migrating from dBase III to
Access. Separate files vs. all-in-one.
(2) Essence and metadata in one folder
This is perhaps the easiest to deal with, but doesn't scale
all that well
(3) Essence in a file system, indexed by a MAM system. The MAM system
holds all the metadata while it merely points to the essence.
the essence file names become totally NON human readable.
(1) and (2) can be managed by mere mortals. (3) requires an IT
But BWF begs the question. Do you insert the album jacket scans at 450
dpi in the file? What happens when there are multiple audio threads? Can
you put 24 tracks in one BWF? I'm not sure. If nothing else, you'll run
out of space.
Some of the BWF specs seem to limit it to 48ks/s. What about higher
It's possible, but what about interchange?
Richard L. Hess
Quoting Scott Phillips <[log in to unmask]>:
> One would think that the LAST thing anyone would want to do is resave
> a complete audio archive file simply to add new text data. Why chance
> any alteration or corruption of the original audio file ? This is
> particularly true since the 'new' file won't byte for byte match the
> original, how would one reasonably (I.E. quickly) verify the new file
> against the original ? I would agree with John, a 'loose coupling'
> allows for a proper revision history to be kept as well without any
> risk to the most irreplaceable part of all... the audio. The adding of
> an ID number when the file is first generated solves that.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of John Spencer
> Regarding the usage of MYSQL or other database applications, remember
> that the relative size of the metadata "stack" will be MUCH smaller
> than the resultant audio files. We prefer to link the metadata record
> with a unique ID in the BWF header that we also record in the metadata
> database. By "loosely coupling" the two, you can add/ make changes to
> the individual metadata record without having to load the audio file
> I would be more concerned that the metadata that I was collecting was
> structured in a manner that would allow for it to move into other
> database environments without re-keying the information.