The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) is a wonderful thing. Not only has it provided the means of creating standards and guidelines for the implementation of common interchange formats, it has also helped the whole UK broadcast industry to come together:
So, in the UK the DPP has invested a great amount of time and effort in establishing a set of standards that enable broadcasters and facilities of all types and sizes to enjoy the benefits of file-based workflows. Is this work specific to the UK or could it be transferred to other national markets – such as Germany, France, Italy or Russia for example?
It is my firm belief that the similarities between the separate national markets are very substantial. In fact if you exclude the spoken language and the names of the broadcasters then the similarities are greater than the differences between the seperate territories.
Jeux Sans Frontiers
So, what would have to change for the DPP guidelines and standards to apply to workflows in a country such as Germany? We would need to update the metadata to be German language and German-culture centric whilst bearing in mind that more change introduces more cost somewhere.
Secondly, the German community would need to decide on the video / audio codec combinations that are allowed. One combination gives great interoperability, whilst four combinations give users a 25% chance of not exchanging a file.
Industry Support is Essential
To provide traction, it would need a German trade body to consider and agree that it will be rolled out. Then there is the task of writing documentation for small production houses / post houses and broadcasters to advise on what would be required to transition to this new interoperability standard.
Based on the experience of the DPP here in the UK, it is good to set some milestones and organize some physical and virtual interoperability days. Given enough time, there is no reason why the DPP’s guidelines should not be as successful in Germany as they are in the UK.
Overcoming Political Barriers
In conclusion, there are no technical barriers to the adoption of the DPP’s guidelines and standards outside of the UK – only political and good will barriers. Commercially, you trade off some flexibility for the guarantee that interoperability will be better and overall costs will reduce and, when regarded from an industry perspective, that must be worthwhile.