Latest post Tue, Dec 24 2019 3:10 AM by Mike H. 6 replies.
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  • Tue, Dec 18 2018 3:52 PM

    • Fuchur86
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    Understanding Media Central and Interplay

    Hi everybody!

    I need some help understanding Avid Interplay and Avid Media Central and can't seem to find easily understandable documentation that goes a little deeper than just telling me that it's "exciting" and "fast" and "easy".

    The production company where I work is working with 32TB of ISIS storage and 6 Media Composers. We're mostly editing documentaries and other non fictional formats, that rely on tons of archival footage. Since we often need certain archival footage in various documentaries we were thinking that having a kind of searchable archive with every bit of archival (i.e. historic) footage that we've aquired over the years would be a huge time saver.

    At the moment our system is pretty flawed. For example, if we're looking for footage of Berlin in the early 90s, we rely on our boss knowing, that we used a couple of shots of Berlin in the early 90s in a certain project, we then recover that project from external HDDs (were we archived the whole project to at some point in the past), consolidate the shots we need to our ISIS into the project we're currently working on. We still try our best to tag footage in the comments collum and populate every clip with custom meta data as well, but if you don't know what project you have to look in for that certain clip and meta data, you won't be able to find it.

    When I saw a couple of videos about Media Central, and that it offers search capabilites across projects I thought this could help us in a big way. Does Media Central offer the capability to search for custom meta data that I put into custom collums in Media Composer?

    While trying to educate myself about Media Central I learned, that parts of it at least only seem to work with interplay (or that interplay is about to be rebranded Media Central Production?), which brings me to my next question: What exactly is interplay and what does it do...?

    Since I tried to learn more about Media Central I found out that it only seems to work with Nexus storage. However buying Nexus storage just to archive old projects to and thus having a searchable archive is probably too expensive for my boss. I can't find any information about pricing on Nexus Near Line, which I read also works with Media Central.

    While looking at other companies that offer avid compatible network attached storage I found Object Matrix. They claim, that their MatrixStore Storage works with Media Central... but only with interplay? I guess this is a question that I have to direct to the people at Object Matrix, but in order to understand I guess I have to understand what Interplay and Media Central essentially are first.

    So any help you guys could give me and/or any documentation you could point me to would be greatly appreciated!


    Thanks in advance!


    i7 2600k 16 GB Ram GeForce 1060 TI MC 8 Software only Win10 64bit [view my complete system specs]
  • Wed, Dec 19 2018 4:50 PM In reply to

    • Marianna
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    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay


    I will have someone very kowledgeable in this area reach out to you....


    Director of Online Communities and Forums/Customer Advocate [view my complete system specs]

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  • Sat, Jul 6 2019 8:41 AM In reply to

    • Thomas
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    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay

    I also would like to get this information. Could you public it please?

    Doing regular manual saves are still the only way to be sure your work is secure and its a trick old school editors won't drop. [view my complete system specs]

    Thomas Poerschke, Editor & Colorist

    ColorGrading.TV @ MMC Studios Köln, Am Coloneum 1, 50829 Cologne, Germany

  • Mon, Jul 8 2019 6:56 PM In reply to

    • NYnutz
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Nov 25 2009
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    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay

    Here's my 50 cent tour.


    Section 1 - Modules

    Interplay Production Asset Management is now MediaCentral Production Management

    Interplay MAM is now MediaCentral Asset Management

    iNews is now MediaCentral Newsroom Management

    MediaCentral is now MediaCentral Cloud UX



    Section 2 - services and integrations

    Now that the modules are out of the way, here's how it works:


    Production Management is a system of servers (physical or virtual) that perform asset tracking, media management and basic automation functions for NATIVE AVID MEDIA. At it's core, there is a database where asset metadata is stored and accessed ("checked-in", "checked-out", modified.) The database matches the object to the location of media on Nexis storage via the Avid Media Indexer service. The Avid MI replaces mdb and pmr files with a server cache of all media managed by the system. By adding the "Production Services" modules, you can get things like watch folder media moves, transcodes, archives (with the proper integrations), etc. 

    Sitting on top of the Production Management system is MediaCentral Cloud UX. Cloud UX is a server or cluster of servers that hosts (different) various services. By default, you get a web app that can browse the Production Management database, view, play, and do limited editing of checked-in assets. Perhaps most importantly, the CloudUX server/cluster is supposed to host the avid services that enable search across databases, remote editorial clients with bi-directional media transfer, etc. Some of this is live/in the product now, and some of it is future development. 

    You can add various Avid or Third-Party modules to your CloudUX system to enable additional functionality, like transcoding, third party ingest/outgest, transfer manager/delivery to deliver avid assets to remote Production Managment system or playout devices like Airspeed/EVS/etc. 

    You can also add other Avid Services to the CloudUX interface with the correct licensing and components, like iNews/Newsroom Management, Production Management Archive, and Avid's MAM/MediaCentral Asset Management. It gets pretty complicated and is fairly out-of-scope for your questions. 

    regarding archive - there are several third-party systems that integrate with production management in various ways. Avid sells a product (previously called "Interplay Archive") that acts as a front-end database for moving native avid assets off to 'other' storage, which is managed by a third party piece of software.  This third party middleware software is something like Atempo Digital Archive/Miria, SGL/Masstech Flashnet, or Front Porch Digital. 

    There are other third party products that DO NOT require interplay archive, but they break the most compelling reason for integrating  production management with avid's archive database, which is persistant multi-resolution asset tracking across the production and archive databases. This is the single biggest marketing failure of production management, in my opinion. Production Management is sold like a mini-MAM, but doesn't have complete automation or third party media capabilities. However, multirez assets allow you to keep a flavor (or several flavors) of a single asset online on your primary working storage (Nexis/ISIS), while also keeping another flavor safely stored in archive or nearline. With multirez assets, you can have a media composer client working with native avid proxy media, then uprez the entire sequence to it's intermediate codec (DNX/Prores) with about 4 mouse clicks and a render pass.  It's very cool and almost never talked about.



    Section 3 - Media Composer/Editing Clients


    When a media composer client is connected to Mediacentral by installing the client software, the user/editor logs into the database, opens their project, sets their check-in path and starts working.

    Everything from the editing aspect is pretty much the same. You can still import, link+transcode/consolidate, or capture from tape or non-tape video signal to get media into the system. Bins, clips, sequences all behave the same way....until you check the asset into the database. This can be accomplished a few different ways and i wont go into that here. Basically, a check-in is handing ownership of the media composer object (master clip, audio master clip, group clip, sequence, subsequence, effect/mattekey, or subclip) over to the database for management. 


    What this means in practice is that media composer projects should really become projects for each individual user's working space, and Work-In-Progress items should be checked-out, edited, and checked-in. In reality, shared projects are still used and this causes occasional problems when multiple operators are trying to modify the same sequence. (Note: DUPE YOUR SEQUENCES for every different editors/revision/date of work!)


    media and metadata tracking is essentially offloaded to the the server side. No more database rebuilds, no more media tool. You gain a panel that allows you to search or manually navigate the database to find assets. The panel also allows you to load (check-out) assets into MC for preview or into bins, and check MC assets into the database for media managers to process/archive/delete, or for use by others. 



    Section 4 - Cloud UX, 'legacy' desktop client for media management.


    The primary function of Cloud UX for most people is hosting the web app or mobile app connector.,The web app is an HTML web page that provides a GUI for your production management, production archive, inews, and MAM databases. The web app can play back supported codecs from master clips, group clips, and sequences and do limited editing (stringouts, VO records, etc.) In an archive-heavy post production environment, the best use case for Cloud UX is for logging and metadata tagging prior to archiving assets, or as a post-ingest metadata injection point. 

    CloudUX also hosts the Mediacentral API for certified third party products. Out of scope for this discussion.


    The legacy thick client for interplay/production management, called 'interplay access', is still a good and useful tool for metadata entry, and is still required for media management. Deletions, enabling/modifying folder automation actions, enabling/modifying asset protection, color coding, and manually submitting production services jobs are all done throughthe thick client. Probably more than that, but those are the major day-to-day items. 



    Section 5 - TL;DR

    if you dont want to buy nexis storage for nearline spinning disk, production management or production management with cloudux can connect native avid assets to third party software. However, if you don't care about persistant object tracking, and are on a fairly tight budget, you probably want to be looking at tools like Marquis Project Parking and Workspace Tools. 






    Post Production Infrastructure Engineer

    "A very big network"


  • Sat, Nov 23 2019 6:53 AM In reply to

    • TrevorA
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Oct 13 2005
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    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay

    Here's my 50 cent tour

    Well worth the price of admission, thanks.

    So is interplay pretty much EOL & will be replaced by Media Central going forward?

    Is there a ‘media central window’ in media composer to replace the interplay window?


  • Mon, Dec 2 2019 6:59 PM In reply to

    • NYnutz
    • Top 500 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Nov 25 2009
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    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay

    Interplay was officially re-branded to "Mediacentral Production Management", but I can't speak to the specifics of how or when it will be totally replaced.  


    If you have a newer version of media composer (2018.2+ maybe?) the "interplay window" was renamed "production management window" but no functionality was changed. If you have MediaCentral Cloud UX, you can use the new Cloud UX window in addition to the classic window in media composer by using the MCCUX url instead of the Production Management URL to login to the database. 


    Post Production Infrastructure Engineer

    "A very big network"


  • Tue, Dec 24 2019 3:10 AM In reply to

    • Mike H
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on Wed, May 25 2011
    • Atlanta, Ga
    • Posts 8
    • Points 80

    Re: Understanding Media Central and Interplay


    Mike Harper

    ENG IT

    Nexis Certified

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