This week’s Tools Spotlight interview is with MediaSilo VP of Product Management, Erik Freid. MediaSilo is an emerging Cloud-based platform for video asset management, multi-user collaboration and file sharing and distribution. MediaSilo 3.0, unveiled at this year’s NAB Show, introduced hundreds of new features and a unique user interface based on plug-and-play widgets. These “Pods” as they are called, give users a flexible toolset for interacting with content.
The Cloud asset management and collaboration space has become really crowded in the last couple of years. In a nutshell, what makes MediaSilo stand out from the other platforms?
I think we stand out in a number of ways, but here are two:
- First and foremost is our comprehensive toolset, whether you need to send out a link for someone to view, or collaborate with colleagues, once in our system you can do anything with your asset.
- Second is our API, which allows integrators to come up with some very interesting workflows based on our platform. Some deployed examples include: hosting your own content but using MediaSilo to access them; federating multiple local DAM deep archives; and creating a “Virtual SAN,” whereby your SAN can be synced up overnight and mirrored onto MediaSilo, so that you can have access to your SAN from anywhere.
One of the striking new changes in the new version of MediaSilo is the modular and customizable user interface. At the heart of it is the Pods feature. What are Pods and which ones have users found the most useful?
Pods are encapsulated functionality. This allows us to speed up development of new features as well as deploy custom features to client-specific accounts, without having to rewrite the application.
The pod that is most popular is the QuickLink, which allows you to send out a link that is aware of what device it is being played on (desktop or Mobile) in order to automatically play the appropriate version.
QuickLinks can be made very secure (requiring MediaSilo Username/Password), more secure (on the fly password) or public (no password) depending on your permissions and need. Each has options for allowing feedback and the ability to download a source file, as well as setting the link to expire.
What is the PaperCut feature, and is it available yet?
PaperCut is the ability to leverage our timecode-per-word transcription service and create, preview and manipulate a papercut based on text copy/paste.
A producer and editor can collaborate remotely and come up with a rough cut before ever setting foot in the edit room. Once complete, PaperCut will allow you to export an AAF, EDl, or XML to then bring in to an editor, relink to the source content and have a rough cut complete.
We expect to release this feature by early fall.
What are some well known companies that use MediaSilo? How do they use it?
A company we can mention is the Atlanta Falcons, who use MediaSilo to manage their promo department and web video content.
Our clients range from major broadcast and cable networks throughout the US and Europe to production and post houses of all sizes, stock footage companies, and even hospitals and educational institutions that use us to manage media.
What file types does MediaSilo support?
We honestly run the gamut; we make proxies from 99% of the video codecs and containers in use today as well as DSLR RAW files, image files, documents — anything as long as it is a file that is self contained.
And the file you send us is stored and available for download by anyone who has been granted permission to do so. (Here is the full lists of supported video and document files.)
How does MediaSilo protect uploaded content from unauthorized access and also insure against data loss?
There is a very long answer to this question. To shorten it, I’ll just say that we have multiple layers of security.
For example, we pass session tokens with a short lifespan, encrypt all communication, and do not keep passwords in plain text. We have passed numerous penetration tests conducted by our larger clients and they are still with us today.
I like that MediaSilo integrates with 3rd-party services like Basecamp, Amazon S3 and encoding.com. What other web services does MediaSilo integrate with now and possibly in the future?
We want to be the glue to manage content between all your services and systems. If we get enough requests and can justify the development time, we will integrate with any service a client asks — and if it is a very specialized need, we can write a custom pod just for the client.
We are currently planning some neat stuff with other online transcoding services, as well as a cool new Roku workflow.
Are there any integration or support plans in the works for desktop NLEs or client side DAM systems?
We are planning on deeper NLE integration (like the PaperCut feature), as well as ways to facilitate easier upload from an NLE.
We have already instituted quite a few integrations with local DAM systems, mostly in collaboration with system integrators who see the flexibility of our API and our platform as a perfect way to federate multiple systems and make their local DAM more accessible to end users — all without compromising local security.
With pricing starting at $349 a month, it seems that MediaSIlo is targeted more for mid to large-sized content creation companies. What is the range of your user demographic and what are some scenarios where using MediaSilo would make sense for individual content creators?
I think we make the most sense when security is an issue, as well as ease of use. But the best argument for us is our ability to handle multiple file types; all assets are equal in our system, so whether you have a photo, video, audio file, graphic image, or PowerPoint presentation, you can easily tag it, add metadata, send out a QuickLink, initiate a review and approval workflow, or simply send a link to your source.
There are both cost and time savings when using just us versus having one service for video, a service for audio, and yet another service for general file transport.
We can handle files via FTP twice as large as other “file sharing” services that limit you to 2 GB — and everything gets made into a web proxy to be previewed and interacted with, not just a file and icon.
There are MediaSilo apps for the iPhone and iPad. What features do these apps have and how are they used in conjunction with the MediaSilo website?
They offer a great user experience, and allow for secure access. We’re currently getting set to release our next iPad app, which will also include offline viewing and a full collaboration toolset.
What are your biggest challenges and opportunities moving forward?
The biggest challenges are user habits. A DAM is only as good as the metadata within it, and it is always challenging to get clients to enter this data, which is why we continually try to find ways to make it easier and more intuitive to do so.
The biggest opportunities are 3rd-party integrations to facilitate broader usage and keep our clients engaged with our service.
Are there any new features in the pipeline for the next version release that you can talk about?
We are planning a BPM (Business Process Management) tool for 2013 that will allow you to design workflow automations and streamline the process even more.