Managing Different Content Formats and Requirements

March 2, 2023
Variety is the Spice of Life

Video on Demand platforms thrive on the diversity of content they offer, providing audiences with a vast amount of choice across multiple regions. But choice alone is not enough to survive in a competitive media marketplace. Organisations must also build an identity that is naturally associated with high-quality content. A VOD platform is more than just a system for video distribution, it is a brand that consumers need to develop a connection with. Guaranteeing a high-quality viewing experience is now a prerequisite for success in the attention economy. That said, balancing extensive choice with high-quality content is a tough gig for Video on Demand platforms.

Audiences are quick to voice their displeasure if providers are not living up to expectations, and as the number of VOD platforms increase, quality issues often result in consumer churn. In this 3-part series we’ll explore how faster media playback helps content processing teams maximise their efficiency. In part one, we discussed speeding up multi-source content processing. In part two we looked at optimising content versioning and localisation workflows. Now let’s explore advanced media processing features, for different content requirements.

Getting the Recipe Right

VOD providers often play a multi-faceted role. They can be aggregators of third-party content, re-inventors of archive assets, and creators of original media, working on a variety of formats, all at the same time. As a result, teams need to effectively manage the mix of requirements, whilst maintaining efficient output levels. But when QC, validation, compliance, and localisation teams are overstretched, they make mistakes. This can have a detrimental effect not only on the quality of the viewing experience, but also, on the consumers perception of the brand.

The inherent challenge when working with video assets, is that the volume and size of the files can quickly become unruly, especially when they are coming in from different sources. File formats and specifications vary in relation to use-cases and regions, so content processing teams need to be able to handle the full catalogue of media. Professional video file formats such as MXF, and QuickTime ProRes, make working with content a labour-intensive and time-consuming process. Therefore, having tools that are natively integrated, and the ability to play content in the best possible quality is crucial.

Labour-saving Tools

With so many different content formats and requirements to manage, operators need help with automation and processing. Whether they are inspecting the audio that is being played in real-time to check for syncing and subtitling issues, highlighting operations for downstream execution (such as defining ad-breaks) or segmenting and extracting clips to be used for promotional purposes. High volume and high expectations, put a lot of pressure on content processing resources. The last thing operators want, is to wait for a file to be transcoded, when a few initial checks are all that’s required.

Content specialists might have run media through an AI QC service, then picked up potential errors. But perhaps they’re not sure if these issues relate to a specific version or are a part of the source video. What’s needed is the ability to quickly ‘peek inside’ the file. With real-time media playback, operators can conduct checks without the transcode step. By removing the need to render proxies of the original file, VOD teams can streamline media workflows.

Leveraging Advanced Features

If an operator detects something wrong with the original content, they will need to request the new file from the supplier. By making the most of real-time media playback, users can try out a specific file indifferent resolutions, to verify that there are no errors upstream. If an operator had created a proxy, it would be difficult to rule out that the errors didn’t occur during the transcoding process. But with a real-time media playback engine, teams can check the original and try out different renditions to see if the effect is similar. By cutting down the time between ingesting media and getting to work, operators can get a clear idea of where issues are occurring straight away.

Codemill’s Just in Time (JiT) media playback engine gives media operators everything they need at their fingertips. JiT can play all video formats and includes embedded and discrete audio, plus subtitles. It includes support for; audio scrubbing, frame-stepping, multi-channel audio switching, multiple subtitle display, and extensive keyboard controls. Original, high-resolution media can be played from any storage location, whether on-premise or in the cloud, and JiT is available as an option for Accurate Player, Accurate.Video, and Cantemo MAM software. Find out more here.

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