Last week, in the bowels of the Channel 4 building a large number of vendors got together under the umbrella of the UK Digital Production Partnership Interoperability Day (#DPPIOD). The Digital Production Partnership (@UKDPP) is a forward thinking group of broadcasters, post houses and vendors who are all trying to make a standard ready for the interchange of UK content and last week, we set up two tables with laptops, servers, screen, a network and a sneaker net of various memory sticks to see who could read whose files and how easily:
I am always amazed at the level of participation at this event. It is the biggest vendor-participation cooperative event that I know of in the industry today. It is the only event I know of where the focus is on the system performance of the tools. That means we have to all agree on the video, audio,metadata, alignments, synchronisation and all the little minutia that makes a file work in the real world.
The amazing thing is that the market for DPP kit in the UK alone is not sufficient to justify all those vendors, so why were we all there? I think the answer is an easy one. Internationally, the interchange of MXF files is plagued by users and vendors optimizing elements of the MXF toolbox for their own needs. Ultimately every vendor needs to do every optimization and interoperability becomes expensive and requires long testing. By solving a business problem using MXF technology, the Digital Production Partnership has managed to focus the attention of the vendors on a problem that can be easily scaled internationally, but constrained and focussed on a market that is sufficiently big to get started. Neil Hatton of the UK Screen Association gave an excellent presentation that highlighted the issues facing the Post production companies as they grow file based operations to support file based delivery according to the UK Delivery Specifications. The over-riding plea was for it all to just work!
I have to report that the tests were rather good. I don’t think any vendor was able to read and write with 100% interoperability, but the overall mood was a positive one. The DPP delivery standardsseem to be robust and ready for next year’s deadlines. AmberFin seemed to do well, with a couple of metadata issues that we’re already fixing for the next release. And that, really, sums up how much value these events bring. I travel the world and often discover that someone in the depths of Latin America has made an MXF file using Open Source tools to cut costs in the workflows of their multi-million dollar business. That file gets dropped into a watch folder and often causes a transcoder to lose synch, crash, drop captions or create outputs with artefacts.
By comparison, nearly every DPP delivery specification test produced lovely pictures with synchronised sound, but occasionally, an item of descriptive metadata would be wrong. Inside the walled garden of file based interchange using the DPP delivery specification it’s much less exciting than the wild File Based Jungle that’s outside the wall. Sometimes boring is good 🙂
Why not download our DPP white paper and see how we think that the DPP delivery specification can be used for you?