Do you have a strategy to cope with mixed cadence content?

As part of our continuing conversations regarding file-based workflows and the various challenges they bring with them, today’s blog by Dalet’s VP of Marketing Raoul Cospen looks at one of the main challenges we all have today: archive.

How do you utilize your current archive? Is it solely for preservation, or legal compliance, perhaps? Do you sometimes feel that you are sitting on valuable content in your archives that could be repurposed to give you an additional revenue stream, if only it didn’t require a team of archeologists to dig it up?

There’s nothing more frustrating than not finding content you’re sure is in your archives, if only you knew where exactly. Whether you’re looking for completed shows to round out your online offerings or b-roll for a new show in production, sometimes it almost feels easier and cheaper to go out and shoot again rather than brave a disorganized archival system.

Metadata is the key

So, what’s the secret to maximize the value of your archive? Metadata, of course! 

However, today’s metadata are vastly more complex than in the early days of tapeless workflows when a single metadata set equated to one media file. With the expansion of file-based media, multiple files are required to create different formats (e.g., distribution versions) or resolutions (e.g., proxy, high resolution) of the same content. To that mix, we must also add subtitles, language tracks and captions for various outputs. What’s increasingly clear is that individual files make little sense in isolation, i.e., a German language subtitle for a premium English language movie holds little value without relevance to its constituent parts.

Of course metadata alone is not enough: you’ve got to have a MAM system that can intelligently interpret it, and then optimize it so that the media most valuable to you is the most easily accessible.  

Create a metadata model

It all starts with mapping the unique needs of your organization by creating a metadata model. This may sound difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. First, you need to agree what metadata is crucial to all of your assets, and then put rules in place that ensure that metadata is entered, either manually (by not allowing loggers/archivists to save assets without certain fields filled out) or automatically (computer generated). Don’t forget about relationships too; does this content relate to similar content in your facility? (e.g., part of a certain season, series or global event). When searching for content in the future, you want a system that can define crucial relationships between content as well as utilize basic search terms.

Create your data model

Creating a data model is equally important. You need to know where your content is going to be used and in which format. For instance: a sports game might be the actual live game as it was broadcasted live, plus the highlights that go to tablets, plus the five-minute web promo, plus the post-produced game dubbed in a different language for a foreign TV rebroadcast, etc. So you need to know what your different distribution packages are going to be and make sure that you configure your workflow so it is able to keep all those elements under the same assets and have the business rules that will automatically distribute the right versions to the right targets.

The right MAM

A MAM system should in effect “know your facility” through rules you supply that state facts such as how fast access needs to be, retrieval times for various storage subsystems (online, near-line, tape), and the resulting business cost for each storage tier. Obviously, the system must have superior integration with third-party systems and tools as well. Regardless of media type, whether for news, sports, radio, long form programs, etc., it is imperative to think beyond simply storing files on tape libraries and disks. Instead, we need to think in terms of access and availability so that your archived content can continue to add value today and in the future.

So you see, you don’t need any kind of dark magic to re-animate your archives after all. You have to think about what you want to achieve with your archives and how you will further extract value from them. With the addition of rich, consistently applied metadata and the right system to manage it, your archives can come back to life as a source of valuable content and become an integral part of your workflow and continued revenue.

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By Raoul Cospen

Raoul Cospen is a Dalet pioneer, and played an integral role in driving the transformation to IT-based, fully integrated newsrooms for the past two decades. He has always felt passionate about being at the heart of newsroom operations, a passion that has driven his vision across multiple roles at Dalet. In his current role, Raoul works closely with Dalet’s customers and partners to define and deliver the most suitable solution to address their media workflow and newsroom requirements.

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