Metadata challenge front and center at DSports

By Ken Kerschbaumer

Metadata in all its forms continues to become a more important factor in determining not only how quickly consumers can find the right video and audio clips via the Internet but also in making it easier to edit and repurpose those pieces.

“Metadata with content is more valuable than without it,” says Richard Buchanan, Comcast Media Center VP of operations. “It automates processes, creates off ramps, and allows for the delivery of content to different platforms with minimal human intervention.”

Metadata in the editing chain was a big part of the discussion during a panel session on editing for broadband at last week’s DSports Conference in New York City. “New metadata equals new headaches,” said Thor Raxlen, Partner/ Director/Creative Director/Senior VFX Artist, at Guerilla FX.

Raxlen should know as he recently completed an online project that took editing to the extreme. Working for Nike he oversaw the creation of 450 video clips that are available at Nike.com. And the large-scale project is proof positive that online projects are competing for the attention of post and production pros who previously only focused on TV or film projects.

Raxlen used multiple cameras, including a Phantom high-speed digital camera that can shoot at up to 1,000 frames per second in HD. Three additional cameras with different frame rates were utilized and GFX shot from different angles to capture the form that makes these athletes so fast – an Arias R3 super 16 mm camera that shoots film at about 150 frames per second, or 35mm film; HD cameras at 60 frames; regular standard HD; and some images at 30 frames per second. Time re-mapping was executed in After Effects and each clip was finished on Apple Final Cut Pro with a Kona HD card.

On such a large-scale project being able to edit while ingesting is very important. “You want to be able to edit in realtime as content is being ingested,” says Adam Green, Apple senior manager, market development, professional video applications. “And metadata is the key.”

By adding metadata once and carrying it through the entire production and post-production process content creators can cut hours off of the amount of time it takes to complete a project. That means cost savings for the client and the ability to more quickly get the content in front of consumers.

For example, during the 2006 FIFA World Cup Apple editing systems and a 42 TB SAN system were used to help Plaza Media turn around highlight clips from the matches in less than three minutes after a goal was scored. The clips were also available in eight languages.

“They ingested from the baseband feed in the SAN and marked four seconds before and after each goal,” says Green. “They then zoomed in and pan and scanned the content.”

Buchanan says that one way Comcast looks to streamline the content gathering and distribution process is through its Remote Ingest Distribution Ingest or “RIDE” model. “It helps us manage our bandwidth,” says Buchanan. “It also allows content to be delivered with metadata.”

A side benefit of the RIDE model is disaster recovery, a growing concern as content owners move to disk-based archives. “Content can be sent out to multiple locations for disaster recovery and economies of scale,” says Buchanan. The Golf Channel, for example, has a replica of its site in Florida that can be used in the event of a hurricane.

While standardization of MPEG4 h.264 for broadcast distribution is a topic often discussed by those who make a living online Peter Guglielmino, IBM Global Media and Entertainment CTO, says that MPEG 21 will also play a role.

“It’s responsive to media objects and allows for the formation of adaptive workflows,” he says. For example, it allows for multiple systems to no longer be tied to the next based on the requirements of the media. Instead the video or audio content is automatically ready for distribution via broadband, mobile, and TV.

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