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Managing Audio Assets
How to improve the workflow around your studio
In the most basic view, audio assets are created on an ongoing basis when an audio file is saved to the server. All these assets have value. Some would be easy to recreate; some would be impossible. But once created, it's important to have a system in place to protect and preserve these assets long-term, as well as be able to easily search and retrieve the files when needed on a daily basis.
While preparing this article, I asked several engineers how they store various assets. While all of them replied that audio files are transferred to a server or servers, many noted that older material was often kept on the original CDs or burned to optical media for long-term storage. This brought up the question about archiving, which we'll examine shortly.
File storage is the function of a file server, and there are lots of options in file server architecture. What can be tricky is when the various types of assets exist on different file servers. If users must access these various systems, files may be stored in more than one place, which can complicate matters.
Is there a need for the on-air automation system to be able to access the sound effects library? Probably not on a regular basis, but the ability to simply access multiple types of assets at a given location can improve workflow. In most cases, a radio station automation system can read files on the same file server that the production system uses, although the production editor and on-air playback system may not be able to access all the metadata associated with various audio files.
I mentioned long-term storage earlier. When a music or production library is delivered on audio CDs, it's easy to import the files to the audio file server and then keep the original CDs as a backup. (Granted, this can easily become a physically large collection.) In case of a crisis, the bulk of a station's music library could be replaced from music collections, CDs or purchased from a service.
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