Aldis, digital asset management


DAM vs. MAM… vs. VAM?

VAM stands for Video Asset Management, and – although we all love a good acronym – you might wonder how VAM differs from MAM/DAM.

Let’s take it from the top. Many DAM platforms developed as a way of managing still images and final video assets (masters), but Aldis was born inside a video post-production company, focused on media and entertainment, so we hit the ground managing big, raw video assets (and masters, of course) for our many large clients. So we understand large collections of video and the workflows that they demand.

In fact - to us - video was simply the “media” in “media asset management,” but as video becomes more ubiquitous, and as video editing software becomes more integrated with DAM/MAM systems, we’re on board with giving it an acronym of its own. Enter VAM.

Okay, so what’s a VAM?

In short, a Video Asset Management system is really just a Media Asset Management system (which is really just a type of Digital Asset Management system*), but it’s specially optimized for video production and content creation. It’s often on-premise, and typically used by large broadcasters.

Video files can be large, and generally require more infrastructure to support production and post workflows. If your team works with a lot of video, you need a system designed and optimized for those unique content-creation and asset-management workflows. This blog is all about what that means, in practical terms.

*For more about the differences between DAM and MAM, click here.

Video-specific workflows from the jump

Your video team will need to ingest video in a variety of formats – digital content and maybe even videotape – and then, usually*, convert those ingested files to a smaller size so they can work more productively. Those files are often called proxy or “mezzanine” files (mezzanine is French-by-way-of-Italian for “intermediate”), and there are several examples: .mxf; .R3D; .mov; and others.

Your DAM should allow for all of the above, and depending on your team’s preferences and workflows, you might want even more sophisticated features. For example: the ability to isolate and download sub-clips – maybe thirty seconds of an hour-long file – to further expedite the work.

*Edit software is getting better all the time at allowing post-production teams to work directly with raw files, but most video editors will tell you that working with smaller files still speeds the work along.

Post-production workflow integrations

Many DAM platforms come with common, post-production workflow tools that allow for project management: review and approval cycles; revisions and versioning; and automated backup and archiving of completed projects. If you already have existing third-party tools – a preferred project management system, for example – your DAM might offer integrations for an easy two-way flow of communication between the systems. But some platforms are better than others at this kind of integration, and you should make sure you’re clear about these kinds of system requirements before you pull the trigger on selecting your DAM platform.

A good DAM governance model includes making sure that all finished projects are media-managed, with all elements archived in a consistent folder structure, and searchable (and findable) in the DAM. This will ensure the assets are backed up, archived properly, and available for others to reuse.


Your storage strategies will likely be the product of two things: (1) enabling the technologies and efficiencies described above to facilitate your team’s preferred workflows (i.e., allowing your editors access to what they need when they need it); and (2) maximizing the power and convenience of cloud technology.


At Aldis, we’ve developed a few best-practices:

  • New content is kept online and readily accessible for six months.
  • All media is backed up every night with regular archives to LTO (Linear Tape-Open) and/or a cloud service as part of the wrap process.*
  • After six months, we purge older full-res content from active storage. 
  • But we maintain proxies for raw assets and finals online in perpetuity, making sure they’re readily available for searches and use in proxy edit workflows. That way, only the necessary files need to be restored, saving both time and money on the restore process.

*The backup is meant to be a short-term snapshot for disaster recovery while archive is for in-perpetuity storage.

VAM benefits package

Managing your video assets in a VAM comes with added benefits. VAM software:

  • Dramatically streamlines workflows, allowing content creators and editors to focus on the creative facets of their work, and less on repetitive, project-management-y tasks.
  • Facilitates remote and hybrid work.
  • Allows editors to seamlessly access enhanced metadata, saving time (and money) in finding the right clip.
  • Facilitates – and accelerates – review/approval workflows, because it can integrate with (or might even include) project management software.
  • Automates the export of finished files to different formats and codecs for distribution on social channels, traditional broadcast, and other channels.

Aldis grew out of a video post-house; we inherently understand the added complexities that come from wrangling entire video projects, massive camera cards, and the need for edit-friendly proxy workflows. If video is your bread and butter, we can make your DAM (or MAM, or VAM) work for you.   

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