While sharing many features with a typical MAM (Media Asset Management) system, PAM (Production Asset Management) solutions have a number of unique requirements.
First of all, production workflows introduce some new “objects” to manage, most obviously the production projects themselves. Like other managed media, we need to be able to store, search and find metadata about projects but we also want to understand the relationships between projects and the media used in those projects. When a PAM (Production asset management) is able to understand the contents and context of a project, as opposed to very simply managing the project files, it enables some useful functionality such as archiving (and restoring) projects, including all associated media, and importing/exporting complete projects from/to external or offline systems. In many cases, media will be used in multiple projects, so the PAM also needs to be aware of this to make sure that links aren’t broken by media being moved or deleted when still in use.
In many cases, it’s also possible for the PAM system to orchestrate processes that might otherwise have needed to take place in the video editor. A good example here would be the rendering and publishing of projects. Depending on the content and complexity of the production project, this can take a lot of time, and that’s time that the editor themselves isn’t able to do their primary task, editing.
Where multiple users in a workgroup are collaborating on production projects, a PAM should support this with collaboration features, such as being able to see which users are interacting with projects, or project locking to prevent other users making unwanted changes.
In order to preserve quality, the production processes also typically use the highest available resolution and bit-rate media. To reduce network and storage load, it is common for organizations to use lower bit-rate “proxies” in some editing and other tasks. The PAM needs to maintain the relationships between the high bit-rate media and proxies through all the processes mentioned above, as well as knowing when to direct users to a proxy (e.g. for preview) vs. the full bit-rate media (e.g. for render). Finally, a PAM solution can incorporate a streaming server that enables those proxies to be delivered to the user, enabling remote workflows.
Depending on the size of the workgroup or enterprise where the production asset management is deployed, there may also be other requirements in addition to the core features mentioned above.