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What to Look for in a Video Archive Solution

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Colorful video graphics representing rewind, play, fast-forward, stop, and pause. 

Over the past decade video content has steadily grown in popularity and importance among marketers. Not only does it have the power to
increase traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding, but faster connection speeds and improved hardware make daily video consumption the norm. It’s no wonder that 93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an important part of their marketing strategy.

Because video content is an increasingly vital marketing tool, it needs to be managed effectively throughout its lifecycle. Let’s take a closer look at how the right technology can extend the reach and value of video content across phases — including archiving.

What is video archiving?

Video archiving refers to managing and preserving files that are no longer being used but still have value. For example, this could include content from last year’s ad campaign or footage from a past event or performance that has historical value but does not need to remain with the active video files. An effective video archiving system secures and organizes these files so they are safe, searchable, and easy to access.

Video content lifecycle  

Video creation doesn’t always follow a predetermined process, but a typical workflow could look like this:

    • Create. Videos are produced or edited using a non-linear video editing program, like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Avid.

    • Activate. The videos are uploaded to a central location like a digital asset management (DAM) system, so teams can easily and quickly access, download, and publish them across digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Wistia, or Brightcove.

    • Analyze. Data around how and where the videos were used and consumed is gathered to clarify how they performed and inform future content decisions.

    • Archive. When regular access to these files is no longer needed, they are compressed into a zip file format for storage and moved out of active storage to archival storage.

    • Resurrect. If needed for reference or repurposing, the archived project files are easy to access and review.

Effective video management systems keep content organized and accessible across all of these phases. And one essential factor in the success of this technology is cloud storage. Let’s dig into what the cloud is, and the role it plays in video archiving.

The power of cloud-based storage

Cloud technology makes it possible to store and access large files over the Internet. Until it was widely available, the only option for managing video content was hardware solutions.

Here are a few of the advantages that the cloud offers over hardware options:

Supports scalability
The initial purchase of hardware-based storage must include enough space to accommodate anticipated growth. If greater capacity is needed down the road,  additional storage drives must be purchased — or in some cases, the system must be completely replaced — resulting in significant expense and unnecessary downtime. With the cloud, you only pay for the amount of storage used at a given time. And because storage capacity is virtually limitless, there’s no need to invest in expensive hardware upgrades or scramble to free up space. As your business grows, so can your storage capacity.

Requires minimal IT resources
Hardware storage relies on physical equipment that must be housed in a temperature-controlled and secure environment. It also requires IT staff to handle the implementation, routing, upgrading, maintenance, and user training for the system. Both of these factors involve a significant and ongoing financial expense. With cloud storage, content lives on web servers, which means that only an Internet connection is needed to access the content. There’s no need to invest in or depend on your own servers and dedicated IT resources. Further, some hardware-based systems require users to be  “in the building” or “on the network” to connect — but the cloud can be securely accessed 24/7/365, from anywhere in the world.

Greater security
The singular location of hardware storage makes it susceptible to unpredictable misfortunes, such as damage from water, pests, fire, power loss, natural disasters, or even time — as physical storage devices can become obsolete. Even if you manage to escape environmental catastrophe, hardware requires regular maintenance and upgrades, potentially resulting in disastrous costs. All of these risks are eliminated with cloud storage.

Best-in-class features

Not all video management systems are created equal. Here are a few key features to consider when selecting the solution that’s right for your business.

Redundancy is a must
Content stored in the cloud is secured with encryption, which means the format is scrambled and can only be read with the access key. However, data back-up, or redundancy, is still critical — and not all cloud-based storage includes it. For example, if you just sign up for Amazon cloud services, your archived files won’t automatically be saved in multiple data centers. Your IT team or an archive solution provider must build out these redundancy capabilities.

Ease of use is important
Video content stored in cloud-based storage is made usable through a user interface (UI), or software layer, that makes it easy to add, organize, or retrieve files. To make cloud storage more user-friendly, video management software provides a UI that sits on top of a cloud storage provider like Amazon. But usability across various software solutions varies significantly, so it’s important to select one that feels intuitive to your users and meets your workflow needs.

An effective video management system will provide users with multiple ways to browse and retrieve files. This could include categories, filters, a search bar, and advanced search tools. A solid UI will return organized and accurate results, allow for full content previews, and utilize robust metadata tagging.

Customizable access
It’s also important that a software solution allows for customized security and permission levels. At a minimum, it should require all users to have a login and password. Beyond that, it’s often necessary to be able to designate user access levels, to control what content is available to different user groups.

Support and training
When considering how the software is going to be implemented and used, it’s important to understand if and how the vendor will be involved. Is technical support included with the software purchase? If so, is it limited in any way? What kind of training is available to help you get the system active and adopted according to schedule? The human side of a software solution is usually just as important as the functionality and features.

Considering these factors when selecting a video management system will help ensure your content goals are met — from creation to the archive. After all, content that is organized and accessible at every stage supports reuse and streamlines workflows.

Invest in the solution, not the storage 

Cloud storage is a commodity with numerous providers to choose from, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The real value is in the framework — the user interface, user security, and redundancy — that’s built on top of a cloud provider’s tools and data centers.

The Widen Collective® offers a framework, and then some. The Collective is a digital asset management (DAM) solution that leverages cloud technology to allow permissioned users to easily search, share, and distribute active and archived files.

The Collective also solves some of the challenges unique to video management: it can handle large file sizes, integrate with other digital platforms, and store these assets along with other marketing content — such as photos, logos, PDFs, and slide decks. Further, archived content in the Collective can be stored at a reduced cost.

Listen to how one of our customers, Brooks Running, uses the Collective to store, manage, and share their video files, as well as related product imagery and other marketing content.


To learn more about how our video archive solution can help you, request a demo today!


Note: This article was originally published in September 2017, refreshed in April 2020, and has recently been updated to include new content and customer examples.

Topics: Video

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