Recently, we staged a webinar in partnership with ATG Broadcast which focussed on the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) file standards. We had a number of contributors giving the perspectives of a service provider, a media facility and a broadcaster.
The broadcaster’s perspective was provided by Shane Tucker from UK broadcaster, Channel 4. The broadcaster does not produce content itself, however it does commission a great deal of content. Channel 4 is not alone in the UK commissioning market – together with the BBC and ITV, Shane explained how it identified the need for a joined up approach.
DPP – Strength Through a Unified Approach
The UK broadcasters that established DPP have a desire to establish the means for shared learning and best practice with other UK broadcasters. Also, if UK broadcasters are unified in their adoption of digital file-based workflows, they can exert a greater influence outside of the UK. Both of these opinions were confirmed by Shane Tucker in the webinar.
Another key advantage for our industry focuses on production companies. Major production companies supply several UK broadcasters and it will be a big benefit to them if we can standardize on one media interchange standard.
What Benefits Does DPP Bring to Channel 4?
To start with DPP just makes sense. This view was confirmed by Shane Tucker, who said in the Webinar that DPP represents a common file format based on established standards (MXF, SMPTE, EBU) and has been established in conjunction with major UK broadcasters, screen & production companies.
Furthermore, Shane highlighted that DPP offers a common descriptive metadata schema. It offers the ability to access, process and automate metadata within digital file-based workflows is so important. It creates improved efficiency associated with automated workflows between broadcasters and their trusted suppliers. It cuts down on the need for data re-entry and speeds up material transfer and processing from delivery to playout/CDN avoiding unnecessary transcoding.
Automated QC Workflows
Another advantage of DPP is the potential to capitalize on automatic QC workflows with the production company or facility. In the webinar, Shane Tucker pointed out that there is a strong likelihood that QC processes will have been performed at numerous stages in the workflow before the media file reaches Channel 4 so any further QC cycles are unnecessary.
Shane concluded his contribution to the webinar by highlighting a number of challenges that remain in the successful adoption of DPP, not least the support needed from equipment vendors. We recognize this and we’re straining every sinew in our efforts to support this fantastic UK initiative.