With advanced VOD (Video on Demand) streaming services such as Netflix, HBO GO and Hulu, viewers can access full seasons of television shows, where each program follows a common template, organized by seasons and episodes, with trailers, poster frames and information sections to go along with it. (Picture when you re-watched the entire Friends series – admit it, you did – how all of the content was uniformly formatted and displayed). What viewers are innocently unaware of are the thousands of assets content owners must wrangle in order to present this beautifully packaged media, for our viewing pleasure. Without getting into too much detail, it can truly be a nightmare.
Working with customers in the production and post-production markets, Dalet built a new tool to handle complex assets called Media Packages. But first, let’s define “complex asset.” A complex asset in a production workflow can be a group of source videos, master versions, subtitles, dubbed tracks, trailers and poster frames all related to a single program asset. A complex asset can be managed as a single entity to first produce and then broadcast. Thinking back on complex data models, Dalet worked hand-in-hand with customers to develop a method to link all the components of a program together, using configurable templates in which one can define how many placeholders are needed per section as well as what metadata is required.
When dealing with a large episodic production, such as Game of Thrones, the production company already knows a certain amount of information – how many seasons have been funded and how many episodes comprise any given season, as well as who the show’s creators are and all information about those that have signed on to act, produce, direct, etc.
After defining how many components are needed for each section in the template, a user creates a Program Media Package called “Insert Show Title,” which automatically creates a Season Media Package, Episode Media Package, and Trailer Media Package. With a single click of a button, thousands of video, audio, image, subtitle and text placeholders are generated, where each “Season Media Package” creates a pre-defined number of “Episode Media Packages,” and each Episode Media Package contains sections to host video placeholders, audio track placeholders and subtitle placeholders, and all common metadata can be applied to every asset related to the program.
Defining a Media Package
So, what benefits does Media Packages bring to a media organization?
First, instead of having to manage a vast amount of subtitles, videos, dubbed audio tracks and images hosted on various systems, folders and machines, all content is hosted on a single system using Dalet Galaxy, where a Program Media Package is treated as a single object. Those that have user rights, can visually see the connections between the Program, Seasons, Episodes, Trailers and all related items. This gives visibility to managers of every part of the production workflow, with the ability to monitor the status at both the micro and macro level of every related asset in each Media Package. With this ability, managers can predict when specific items will be completed and can determine when content is ready to go on air or submitted to a VOD system with more precision and better accuracy.
Second, in combination with the Dalet Workflow Engine, when placeholders are created for a Media Package, each asset goes through an orchestrated process to reach its final formation before being sent to the VOD system for consumption or for standard broadcast. Orchestrated through both user and automated tasks, the process includes: entering the episode information with glossary terms, ingesting raw material, going through an automated QC process, color correction, generating proxies to send for subtitle and dubbing creation, mastering, segmentation for versioning and approval for distribution. This streamlined approach to the production workflow allows users to focus on the content sequentially without worrying about technical operations, which are automated by the system.
Third, utilizing the Dalet Reporting Center with Media Packages, managers have a wealth of information at their fingertips, from minute details like how long it takes a specific user to color correct a segment, to seeing where in the workflow there are bottlenecks and what is causing them, whether it be technical or human. These reports can assign a price tag to every asset in the Media Package, allowing customers to define specific budgets and timeframes for every program they produce.
For VOD systems, standard information and items are needed in a program package as defined by standards such as CableLabs, where each program needs trailers, master videos, subtitles, dubbed audio tracks and specific metadata for each asset. With the easily configurable templates of the Media Packages tool, these program requirements can simply be applied and monitored throughout the production process.
Dalet Media Packages makes complex assets simple by focusing a production workflow on what needs to be processed, seeing the connections and monitoring the status of each asset of a program to process content faster and more efficiently.
To learn more about Media Packages, click here to book an onsite or WebEx demonstration.