Locating and retrieving clips quickly and easily among an archive with thousands of choices is fast becoming the Holy Grail of networked, file-based production. The faster the staff has access to the content, the sooner it gets on air, online and in consumers’ hands.
Providers of asset management systems have tried different methods for handling content in the digital domain, some that borrowed from and mimic mainstream Internet search functions like those found on Google and Yahoo.com.
A company in the UK called TransMedia Dynamics (TMD) said it has taken a different approach to help users of its Mediaflex asset management system quickly find what they are looking for. Using a process it calls “facet searching,” editors and producers search clips within a structure defined by the user—thereby, getting to the right media faster and more reliably.
“We initially developed facet searching for our customers in audiovisual archives with millions of assets and a broad range of entities, digital and physical,” said Tony Taylor, CEO of TMD. “It quickly became clear that this would be a powerful addition to the broadcast product, too. It puts yet more control into the hands of the user, making the asset management more powerful because assets are easier to find.”
The company said that facet searching parses the metadata to group the search results. In an asset management system editors using a simple program title might find: the raw acquisition footage; edited versions for local and international distribution, in SD and HD; audio files in stereo and 5.1, with and without voiceover; versions without commercial breaks for online and VOD; subtitle files in different languages; scripts; trailers and other promotional items; production and transmission contracts and more.
With Mediaflex facet searching, each group will appear as a heading on the response screen. Click on a heading to see the individual items underneath. So if a researcher wanted to know if, for instance, an iTunes version of the program had already been created, with facet searching it means simply typing in the program name, then clicking on the online versions header. The ease of finding what is available makes searching more accurate, and saves significant resources because there is no temptation to add another transcode because finding the first is too time-consuming.
Headquartered in Aylesbury UK, the company’s Mediaflex software applications provide a platform for the management of both traditional physical media, such as film and videotape, as well as digital content.