For digital workflows to be efficient and successful, content needs to be in a high-quality, uniform format that can be transcoded when necessary.
With the vast array of content acquisition and distribution formats, establishing one elemental format to use in daily workflow is key to successfully navigate the technology, a panel of experts said this morning.
“There are many formats as there are devices,” said Diane Tryneski, HBO’s EVP, media production operations. “But the idea of normalizing that as much as possible within that part of the chain that is in your control is what we are trying to do.”
Tryneski was one of four participants in a panel, called “Chaos in Content Acquisition & Distribution Formats,” that was part of the Content & Communications World expo held today and Thursday in New York.
Panelists — including CBS’s Bob Seidel, Whitehouse Post’s Jeff Drury and Roger Charlesworth of Charlesworth Media — discussed topics and challenges, from pixel counts and camera choices to file-based storage systems and transcoding content.
The conversation, however, continually returned to the theme of needing to make things as efficient as possible by having content in a high-quality, uniform format that can be transcoded when necessary.
For example, Seidel said CBS has set, for both its network news and O&Os, a standard for shooting and delivering high-quality content that starts with everyone using Sony’s XDCAM cameras, which shoot in HD. Once acquiring the content in that format, however, stations can lower the bit rate when necessarily, he said.
“We want to insure that the content we acquire has a long shelf life,” Seidel said. “Programming is distributed in the highest possible quality and then a station can choose what to do with that content.”
Taking advantage of manageable technology by moving it in-house also is helpful, they said.
Doing so both simplifies the process and can be empowering to employees who use it, Chalesworth said. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writers, for example, are able to edit footage, he said, which signals a fundamental change in traditional workflow.
“This is the technology story and this is what younger shooters, editors and writers are all doing,” he said. “It’s all very accessible and the workflow is very clear to them. There’s not a technical barrier.”