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Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!

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Andrew Kimery
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 5:36:54 pm

[Joe Marler] "Avid thinks it's very important for reality TV, and pitch their Interplay MAM for this: 'The high shooting ratios and multiple camera angles of Reality TV and unscripted programming pose enormous challenges in managing and logging more media than ever before,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Services at Avid."' http://www.avid.com/fr/press-room/2013/04/avid-interplay-production-simplif....."

If productions find that it's worth the cost they'll use it, but that hasn't been my experience on the reality shows I've worked on (including one that shot 250hrs of footage a day). Every project has a deadline and a budget which means everyone settles on what's 'good enough' to get their project out the door on time, on budget and at the expected quality level. In my experience people don't meticulously log all the footage on reality shows because there isn't enough time, there isn't enough money and it's just overkill to do so.

For example, if I'm working on a home renovation show I don't need a break down of every time Bob swings a
hammer in the kitchen on episode 604. "CU Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "WS Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "crane shot Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "CU rack focus Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "MS pan down from ceiling Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "WS whip pan Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", etc., etc., etc.,. If I'm editing a scene where Bob is hanging new kitchen cabinets it's a foregone conclusion that there will be footage of Bob hammering in the kitchen. A shot-by-shot breakdown of a camera that's repositioning every 10-15 seconds is a waste of time. Scrolling through the selects I've been handed will be faster and once that scene is locked that footage is never needed again (yes, yes I know the joke about nothing ever being locked). All I really need to know is what the important beats of the scene are, along with the best broll shots, and that's easy enough to get via stringouts, and/or markers. Story producers and AEs only have some much time so time in a day so it's a matter of triage.

Coming up I worked as a vault/library manager and then later as an Assistant Editor so I certainly know the power of organization, but one of the first things I realized about workflow development is there is usually a big difference between what would be an 'ideal' workflow and what's realistically achievable given time, money and human nature. There's always room for improvement, but perfect is the enemy of good, as they say.


[Joe Marler] "We widely accept the benefit of database tagging and keywording for stills, so why not video?"

Tagging/keywording for video is nothing new though. To be honest, I've never worked anywhere where editors haven't used markers, placed subclips into categorically named folders/bins, given media descriptive file names and/or added keywords/tags into a notes/comments field.

[Joe Marler] "Then who is buying and using Interplay, CatDV, etc. and for what?"

Why do some people use Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup trucks while others use Honda Accords while still others use Vespa scooters?

Again, I think the MAMs are most useful for companies/productions that deal with lots of evergreen footage and for archiving (basically situations where institutional knowledge isn't a viable option). For example, I used to work for a website that covered the video game industry (sorta like ESPN but for video games) and we reused footage on a regular basis so I setup a system that made it straight forward to find and retrieve game footage, event coverage and interviews (even if it had been archived offline). The metadata wasn't very detailed (basically game name, event name, date, location, people on camera, etc.,) but it was enough that if someone asked "Hey, can we pull up all the times we interview Joe Blow at E3" we could easily find all that footage.

Another, and more rudimentary example, is I use NeoFinder as a poor mans MAM for my computers and backup HDDs (I've looked at CatDV, but it's just overkill for my needs at this point in time). I used to be able to keep everything straight in my head, but I eventually got to a point where I kept asking myself "What's on this drive again?" and that's when I grabbed NeoFinder.


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