New Virage Tool Cuts Costs

The slow-moving digital asset management market may get a jump start thanks to the latest version of the Virage VideoLogger and an arrangement in which Sony will resell Virage's products.

VideoLogger 6.0 is designed to help media companies index and attach metadata to incoming video feeds as well as encode the video into different formats. The new wrinkle in the system allows multiple VideoLogger clients to capture and index different video feeds that then channel into a single computer system. Previous versions of VideoLogger required a different machine for each staff member.

Jeff Karnes, the director of product marketing at Virage, says the cost savings can be dramatic, especially for those environments capturing multiple, simultaneous feeds or pre-encoded files.

"The ability to run even two VideoLoggers per machine saves money in hardware costs, administrative costs and reduces physical space requirements," he says. "For example, a VideoLogger customer is currently processing 10 simultaneous feeds, which requires 10 1-RU systems taking up two racks. With VideoLogger 6.0, the customer can now move all the VideoLogger instances into one rack enabling a re-deployment of the other rack and its machines."

Other new features for VideoLogger 6.0 include Windows XP and Windows Media 9 support, real-time QuickTime encoding and playback, automatic text and time-code extraction from MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 video files; and file transfer protocol support to automatically upload video to a specified FTP directory upon completion.

Factors that impact the number of feeds or files include available central processing units (CPUs) and processing power and whether capturing is done using hardware or processing a digital file.

"Hardware generally uses less system CPU as the hardware card assumes much of this burden," explains Karnes. "Processing digital files requires more system CPU as this processing is done through software."

"Virage currently offers hardware solutions for MPEG using the Optibase MovieMaker boards, and software solutions for RealVideo, Windows Media and QuickTime," says Karnes. "As with capture, hardware solutions generally reduce CPU requirements as the hardware board assumes this processing burden."

That same issue does not apply to other MPEG encoding solutions that use Internet Pro Video nSpectre or Thomson Grass Valley Profile XP servers because they are separate machines.

The digital asset management market that Virage and others envisioned exploding has yet to appear, a result of budget cuts and the softened tech sector. Karnes says overall cost also remains a hurdle, given the requirements for hardware, software and storage necessary. But these costs continue to come down.

"Thus far, we've seen this most dramatically in the broadcast market within the newsrooms," he says. "The productivity gains achieved with digital workflows are finally translating into a positive R-O-I given overall cost reductions along with proven vendor solutions."