Expand your Media Horizons with Metadata

Johan Bergström
August 30, 2023

A Journey into Maximalism

Suffering from media overload yet? Metadata could be the answer to all your problems, but it can only come to the rescue when it’s applied contextually.  

The ever-increasing volume of media content is a big challenge for entertainment providers, who are trying to manage existing content efficiently, while creating even more. As the media world gets busier, we need smarter ways to handle these vast numbers of assets and minimise confusion.

We all know that Media Asset Management is a key player here. But MAM can be something of a maximalist, especially for those media organisations that have been around for a few years. Assets don’t just sit passively in storage; they are part of a complex chain of actions involving numerous teams. Then there’s the role of categorising and cataloguing, to get the best out of storage resources and optimise modern content workflows.  

Troubleshooting media inefficiency

When workflows get inefficient, it's like doing the same thing twice and getting tangled up in the process. To tackle this, media companies must implement comprehensive MAM and metadata guidelines. Not having a clear structure or rules for tagging, is just a recipe for disaster. Unnecessary metadata can obscure useful metadata, making the search process more difficult. Informational silos also occur when data is not shared interdepartmentally or between media companies.  

Efficient asset location and quick content preparation require smarter search and identification methods. Contextual metadata can help handle the growing volume of media more effectively. Media workflows are complex, and involve lots of stakeholders, so any inefficiencies can lead to duplication of effort and cause a lot of confusion. Clearly defined processes and a consistent MAM framework are essential, as metadata errors can make workflows cumbersome and cause ongoing technical problems.  

Metadata is never static

Metadata is no wallflower; it likes to travel around! As assets and their metadata hop from one system to another, things can get messy. Different services use various metadata formats, making it tough to keep everything intact. Therefore, it’s important to map information from one form to another, to avoid anything getting lost-in-translation. But when it comes to metadata, there's no one-size-fits-all standard.  

Choosing the right metadata schema depends on preference and what works best for your media organisation. We can't expect everyone to use the same standard, but companies can set their own criteria and stick to it. This requires a MAM that allows for metadata customisation, so predefined terminology can be applied to keep things on track. While it's tough to figure out the perfect file descriptions, having some rules in place is much better than having no rules at all. Vague descriptions of scenes and objects can hinder workflows, resulting in mistakes and inaccuracies.  

Can there be too much metadata

Media teams interact with metadata in a variety of ways. AQC team has different metadata requirements than a localisation team, and that can quickly get confusing. This saturation of metadata in a MAM can impact quality, due to multiple teams taking different actions on the same content. As mentioned, setting up rules for metadata is crucial, but defining those can be challenging due to the multi-layered nature of workflows. Different services also use various metadata standards and formats, which can complicate the process. Compatibility between sources and destinations is critical so metadata can be handled with ease and recognised correctly.  

When it comes to identifying content errors, tagging needs to specify issues precisely and be understood by everyone downstream without any ambiguity. Often predefined terminology is a safeguard against disconnected metadata. But it might be that there are some exceptions to tagging, that will require high-level admin rights to define the descriptions. However, this will always depend on the specific use case. The main thing to remember is that sharing is caring. Ensuring information flows between teams means everyone is on the same wavelength.  

So, what are the key takeaways? Better MAM interoperability is essential as more teams feed into content post-production and processing. Therefore, utilising high-quality metadata within a MAM will help you stay organised, and efficient, and keep that content flowing. Remember that metadata is nothing without context, so you need a system that allows for it. Cantemo MAM is a hybrid-cloud system that integrates metadata seamlessly and intelligently. Find out more here

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