Why Metadata Matters

Ten years ago, people said that content was king. Today I think that metadata is king, if you don’t know what you have, then the millions of hours of content in your archives are essentially useless.
— Rino Petricola, vice president for digital media solutions at Oracle in a recent article in Forbes.

 

Happy New Year!

We at Drylab have decided to start a newsletter!
We intend to fill it with breakthroughs, news and useful information that we find interesting and relevant to the movie and TV industry. The first subject examines the benefits of metadata, and we hope you will find it interesting too!

Metadata has become more important than ever to Hollywood and the broadcast industries.
— Sam Gustman, executive director of USC

The future of online content.
Metadata is usually referred to as the data about data. So if pictures and sound are data, information about them is metadata. This is importantbecause it allow you to search. And since knowledge workers spend 15% to 35% of their time searching for information*, finding information fast is key to efficient and high quality work.

Metadata is also about future-proofing the content. Consumers are moving away from appointment TV viewing in favor for on-demand streaming through Netflix, HBO and the likes, and we don’t know how the feature film we are shooting today are going to be sold and viewed in five or ten years time. How will people search for it? By actor, director, genre, a quote, or maybe by composer? 

By allowing the whole script to be available as metadata, you would be able to get a brief description of each scene or TV episode, what actors are in which scene and more, automatically.

Today there are no reason for not adding the metadata. It takes almost no extra space, and with the right tools, it’s easy to add.

 

Juliette Binoche on set at "A Thousand Times Good Night"

To have every take in my pocket, easily available inside this little iPad is incredible. It’s a revolution
— Erik Poppe, Director, A Thousand Times Good Night, starring Academy Award winner Juliette Binoche.

How much is too much?
 “In a typical music scheduling system, you’ll find hundreds of metadata fields per song, and Pandora has said to use over 450 different metadata fields per song for their Music Genome project“. Lingostop CEO, Nikos Iatropoulos told Adweek already in 2014. “So, if a 5-minute song warrants 450 fields, how many should … an episode of The Tonight Show have?  I think that we are merely scratching the surface when it comes to the use of TV metadata, and the next three to five years will be extremely interesting as some of the applications of this newfound intelligence about video, start hitting the market.“

But not all metadata need to be centered on the viewer. Metadata can also be as simple as to be able to go back and look at what camera and lens-settings you used for a specific scene on another production four years ago, to try and recreate a similar feeling. To keep track on your own archive and resell an expensive helicopter shot. 

What gets measured gets managed.
— Management guru Perter Drucker.

Drylabs perspective

Since we started Drylab nine years ago, we have had a strong focus on metadata. One of the best ways we have foundto implement it, is to involve the script supervisor in addition to the automated information we get from the camera and lens. By equipping the script supervisor with digital tools, all information from the set, including grading decisions and scene descriptions etc., can become metadata. This is then combined with correct scenes and takes.

 

And this is where the fun begins. Since almost all information from all the film is Metadata, you can search for anything. To take advantage of this we developed a viewer for iPad, so you can search and watch the entire library from anywhere I seconds. Checking quality and continuity, or discussing artistic- and creative decisions has become extremely easy, even off-line.

*By tapping the info-button on the display, all recorded metadata pops up.

Metadata is also helpful when logging and editing. We have made logging 300% faster**, and all grading and editing decisions that have been recorded by the script supervisor is transfered to Avid or Final Cut, so the editing team has all correct information right in front of them, and don’t need to search through piles of binders. That is a lot of time saved. 

Script Supervisor Madeleine Fant on set in Studio in Copenhagen ➝ writes the report in Set Report ➝ available as a metadata in Dailies Viewer ➝ export to Avid. Logging is made 300% faster (according to the crew at The Saboteurs). You get more data, less errors, and lower costs.    

So there it is. Metadata as a potent tool for networks, studios and production houses alike. Because it is very hard to find something if you can’t search for it.

Sam Gustman, executive director of USC’s Digital Repository was clear at the Metadata Madness conference in March 2015 “Metadata has become more important than ever to Hollywood and the broadcast industries, from pre-production to archive preservation, and everything in between”.

We wish you a happy 2016!

A selection of previous Drylab users.

Would you like to take advantage of Drylab Dailies? Please contact Pontus Steinfeld at:  ps(at)drylab.no  or +47 95 74 58 74 

We look forward to hearing from you,

The Drylab Team


* From a study by International Data Coporation

** According to the crew at “The Saboteurs”, Norwegian TV drama with highest viewer rating in NorwegianTV history and Winner of Prix Italia. 

 

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