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Silent Way Media Asset Management and Audiovisual Archive Services
Silent Way offers consulting services for companies and individuals with large collections of audio, video, and related metadata. Whether you need an enterprise-level media asset management solution, an audio/visual archive, or preservation of an artist's recorded legacy, Silent Way can help.
Professional Help For Media and Metadata
Have a lot of unorganized media? Always planned to do something about it but didn't know where to start? Face it, you are never going to do it alone. You've always meant to sort through your company's audio and video assets, but they are hidden in your warehouse, closet, server, or hard drive. Somewhere in there lies your brand identity, concert videos, irreplaceable audio, or master tapes from the great unfinished album. And, the information about your media (the metadata) has always been lacking, which stifles access and discovery. You know it's important. You started working on these problems a few times, but it's hard to get the ball rolling.
Tony Brooke has spent decades knee-deep in every stage of the life cycle of media. He has engineered hundreds of live multitrack recordings, produced studio projects, worked on live broadcasts, worked on film shoots, owned an equipment rental company, and has even been an FM and club DJ. Now his experience is available to protect, preserve, digitize, and monetize your recordings. Tony's long list of clients, extensive discography, production experience, and proficiency with a wide range of equipment bring essential technical qualifications to your media asset management project. Tony Brooke is well trained, with a 2014 master's degree in information science concentrating on media asset management and audiovisual metadata. This adds advanced system design skills and cutting edge research knowledge. You are assured that all decisions will be sound, including preservation, digitization, reproduction, documentation, and editorial management.
Located in San Francisco, Silent Way serves all of Northern California, including the greater Bay Area (Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, Marin) and Sacramento. For virtual and cloud-based projects, other locations can be served. Contact Silent Way at (415) 826-2888 to discuss your asset management needs.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is the discipline of controlling access to curated collections of metadata-enriched assets by means of usage rights and granular user-level permissions. End-users of a DAM system may search for and retrieve many types of assets, including bitmap images, vector graphics, video, audio, and records. Search capabilities are dependent upon mindful and structured organization of assets by dedicated information professionals.
Media Asset Management (MAM) is a category of DAM that specifically addresses time-based media: video and audio. There are dozens of MAM systems available (over 70 at last count) to handle large collections of video and audio. These systems are designed for a diverse range of workflows and use cases, from production environments to brand marketing to consumer-facing discovery interfaces. In recent years MAM development and implementation has become a very competitive marketplace. Tony Brooke can help your decision process.
If your collection holds physical formats, the clock is ticking. With audio recordings, certain analog tape needs urgent attention, and should be converted to the digital domain before it breaks down into a pile of rust. The most important questions to answer: Which format is it? When was it recorded? And, what is the tape brand? Analog tape formats include: 2-inch tape, 1-inch, 1/2-inch, 1/4-inch, cassette, 8-track tape, SVHS, VHS, Betamax, microcassette, and more. Within these formats there is a wide variety of track counts (mono, stereo, multitrack) and noise reduction systems (Dolby A, Dolby B, Dolby C, Dolby SR, DBX, etc) to plan for. Other analog formats include 12-inch 33+1/3rpm LP, 7-inch 45rpm single, and 78rpm record.
Digital audio is not immortal, despite a popular misconception. Remember that all storage media are susceptible to aging, regardless of whether they hold digital or analog content. No matter the storage medium, digital audio is in jeopardy. Despite its current ubiquity, a hard drive is clearly not a long-term storage solution. Physical storage formats for digital audio include hard drives of various formats, CD, MP3CD, DVD, DAT, MiniDisc (MD), RADAR, DTRS (16 bit), DTRS (24 bit), ADAT type I (16 bit), ADAT type II (20 bit), DASH, etc. Don't forget LaserDisc, which seemed digital but was partially analog. In particular, tape-based digital formats from the 1990's such as ADAT, DTRS, DAT, and DASH are now in critical need of preservation.
Once you've identified the storage format and have successfully accessed it, the next step is to determine the file format. Digital audio and video file formats include broadcast wav (bwav), wav, sdII, aiff, mp3, aac, mp4, flac, ogg, QuickTime, Flash, Windows Media (WMA), RealAudio, RADAR, and more. Non-linear multitrack audio session formats (which in turn point to the aforementioned file formats) include Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer, RADAR, AAF, OMF, and many more. Non-linear video editing session formats include Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Media 100, Premiere, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, Video Toaster, and more.
But it's more than just identification, conversion and preservation of the media. The information about the audio (metadata) is essential, so documentation is extremely important. Silent Way takes great pride in detailed documentation, archival integrity, and future-proofing media.
Once your collection is professionally preserved and catalogued, you can easily tap into it for re-releases, licensing, publishing, publicity, and museum access. These revenue streams will pay for the cost of comprehensive asset management.
When you choose Silent Way to preserve and manage your media assets, you also get:
- Access to a wide variety of playback equipment (which you don't pay for if you don't need).
- An engineer experienced with every possible equipment configuration and recording methodology.
- For live recordings, a familiarity with every concert venue in the Bay Area, plus more elsewhere.
- For studio recordings, a familiarity with every major studio in the Bay Area.
- Tony's unique combination of research resources: his access to library science materials, information science databases, and deep connections from a long music industry career. He can connect the dots in a way that nobody else can.
- A deep personal tie with the music scene for historical context.
Bottom line: Your media asset management project will meet the utmost standards.
A personal note from Tony Brooke about the value of smart media management:
"Since 1993, I have worked primarily as an audio recording engineer, creating a large amount of analog and digital audio (hundreds of projects resulting in over 90 releases for over 500 artists and clients). A significant aspect of my work has been to document, store, and preserve media and metadata.
Now I have trained my focus on media asset management, preserving collections, and making the best use of what might otherwise be lost.
For the past twenty years, I have developed forward-thinking, detailed delivery methods for audio and documentation, preparing for the likelihood that recordings might not be accessed for years. To keep each project's information intact, I developed The Ultimate Track Sheet, which stores comprehensive metadata about a recording project, including technical parameters, titles, storage requirements, and technician credits.
Every professional audio or video recording is a time capsule, which is in danger of being lost as soon as it is created. The diversity and scale of recorded media available to the public today is unprecedented. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. For every major label album or studio movie, there are hundreds of independent releases, thousands of unreleased projects, and many times more amateur media. Without a purposeful approach to preservation, much of this faces extinction.
In our personal lives, a similar story emerges. In today's socially networked, always-recording world, everything has become a time capsule floating in the river of our "overshared" lives. But this deluge isn't archived. Thus our photos, videos, art, music, genealogical research, and stories could be washed away.
Previous generations passed along written and oral histories to preserve generational lore. But this tradition faded years before the current world wherein everything is recorded. That gap MUST be bridged, bringing pre-digital history forward. Today's stories must also be managed carefully. These distinct eras need attention to build a continuous historical flow.
On a personal note, I spend my free time categorizing everything including my vast music collection (19,000+ digital assets categorized into 67 custom genres, plus thousands more analog recordings in a dozen formats), family photos and videos (18,000+), and our family tree (over 1000 individuals so far). So yeah, I'm an info geek.
As you can tell I care deeply about this. It is our responsibility as ancestors of future generations to give them their past by preserving ours."