Managing Video Production Work Flow and Metadata

dan green

This week features MediaSilo’s Evangelist Dan Green. Dan talks about saving money and time, the importance of metadata, and how to improve the video production work flow. He also discusses his podcast Work Flow Junkies.

Topics covered in the show:

- The story behind MediaSilo.

- The video production process through MediaSilo’s platform.

- Who can benefit and get value from MediaSilo’s solutions.

- Text transcriptions and extracting metadata from your video assets.

- Why metadata is the future for online video.

- How far collaborative editing has come over the years.

- How producing videos has changed and evolved.

- What comes after YouTube?

- How Spidvid community members can improve their production process and video content through MediaSilo.

- Why to get a free demo account at MediaSilo.

Full Text Transcript

Show Introduction: Hi. I’m Michael London and welcome to Spidcast, the future of collaborative video production brought to you by Spidvid.Com. On this episode we’re visiting with Dan Green, evangelist from MediaSilo is a wonderful video content management and collaborative platform.

Dan, welcome to the Podcast. Tell us a little bit about the MediaSilo story.

Dan: Well, MediaSilo actually started out for the production environment several years ago. It started from a company called Producturials which did a lot of work in video for the web and most of the clients actually were banks. Getting them to agree on anything or even just all of the stakeholders involved to actually view some content and approve it was a nightmare. So what the guys did was they actually started to piece together that they knew a little bit about the Web and online video. So they pieced together a system that enable those stakeholders involved in the production of the online videos to go from their own computers and actually view that content and make comments on the time line, and then approve or disapprove the content.

It was such a big hit that some friends of theirs and other production companies were like, “Hey, man, can I use that?” One thing went to another and gosh, a lot of people might be able to use this. The platform has really grown from there. It started just as an online approval system and really grew beyond that to become a fully-functional full-collaborative online video platform.

Michael: Well, it certainly is that. Now is this a real-time experience?

Dan: No. MediaSilo is not live. MediaSilo gives you the ability to collaborate on your own schedule. So you’re able to control who has access to any given workspace and that’s what we call them. We break them down into workspaces which are like folders or if you’re an avid person, maybe like a bin, and you can break those workspaces down into projects, or into clients, or however you want to break them down and then you can assign people that have access to those workspaces and determine what they can do in those workspaces. So whether or not they have the ability to actually make comments on video in there, view it, share it with other people, or work with that video, or embed it onto their websites, you control all of the things that they’re able to do in a workspace with video. And you’re able to do it on your own time with notifications via email.

Michael: Got it, got it. Now take us step-by-step through the MediaSilo process.

Dan: What happens is you can just upload any video directly through your online login. Click one button and you choose the file that you want to upload or you can upload it via FTP direct out of your system if you like and it will go directly into that workspace where we take not only the source file. So we’ll take the source file. If you upload it in QuickTime, we’ll take the QuickTime. If you upload a Windows Media file, we’ll take the Windows Media file and we store them online so that you can access and download it at any time. So if you’re uploading from New York, you can download that exact same file in Los Angeles.

But at the same time what we do is we create a Flash proxy of that video which you can view online and work with online. So when that video goes up and it’s encoded into Flash, that’s actually what you see and that’s what you work with through the MediaSilo platform.

Michael: Oh, I love that. Now, your content stays untouched and then we work using a Flash version. Very, very nice. Now Dan, who exactly is using MediaSilo at this time?

Dan: We have a lot of clients in the reality TV space; some of the network talk shows are using us. For example, one of the big prime time talk show’s is using us to brief talent that they want to get involved in some of their bits. So they’ll have producers for example do a mark up of that bit or do a run for that bit and then they’ll send a sample straight to that client’s iPhone or their agent’s iPhone example. Directly right to their phone or make it available online, or they can actually give them access to the system within MediaSilo if they want. So you can collaborate within the platform if you like or outside the platform if that’s what you want to do as well.

Michael: Well, I’ll tell you what. The flexibility and customization possibilities are very, very exciting indeed. So Dan, share with us a little bit more about the actual working parts and pieces of MediaSilo.

Dan: Well, we call them “modules” in MediaSilo and those modules give you the ability to do different things. For example, we have the ability for you to create your own channels online that you can program on the fly. So for example if you want to have a broadcast channel that has a number of videos like let’s say for example, you want to do your reel and you have different versions of that reel. So you have commercials, you have documentaries and so on. You can actually break that up into different channels within your overall MediaSilo channel. So you would go in and build that within MediaSilo, take the embed code and put it on your website. You can actually program that on the fly simply by dragging and dropping content into that channel and it will change automatically. You’ll never have to go back in and re-embed it or change the code in the website ever again. All you’ll have to do is drag and drop and you can move all of those things from within MediaSilo and it will control it.

So the broadcast feature is one that’s particularly popular because of the ability to program it through Alliance. We also have a transcription mode which gives you anybody who has ever sat there and had to sit there and knock out bytes and transcribe bytes for log tapes know how tedious that can be. We’ve got a very affordable option where if you go out and you do your shoot, you can actually upload that content from MediaSilo, then drag it into the transcription feature, and request to transcription. You can add any notations that you want, names, or specific request, or i.e. time code and things like that, and send it off and within 24 to 48 hours for $5 a file and a $1 a minute, you’ll get a full transcription back on MediaSilo that you can then cut and paste and work with and create your piece together. Those are couple of the modules that we have and we’re working on several others.

In addition to those we also have an interface with Final Cut Server which gives you the ability to take that metadata. Metadata like transcriptions, metadata like adaptations on the timeline and comments on given files, and write them back into your Final Cut Server. So we’re able to make a full loop so that you can work with an asset within Final Cut Server and then upload that content and make it all available online and update metadata that’s relevant to you and move the production process along within your non-linear editor.

Michael: Now you just mentioned metadata. There are some old school editors out there who have painfully made that transition from recorder to Beta, to DV cam and then from linear to non-linear editing. Talk a bit about that process.

Dan: I think that metadata is clearly the future in the direction that we’re moving in. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But making the transition from linear into non-linear, I think most people have made that jump. What happens is where to go from there and the ability to really catalog your assets and make those assets available to other people to be able to work with those assets outside of your non-linear editing platform. That is a process that is sort of like crack, I think. You get a little bit and you just want more because it really streamlines your work flow and it makes your time far more productive, and you’re able to work on projects and know exactly where you are on those projects – on approval – with all the stakeholders that are involved. So you can bounce from project to project and still be up to date and keep you informed just to where you are and gets your approvals and move along.

Michael: Indeed. For my money, one of the coolest features is the ability to be editing in New York, get instant feedback from my client in L.A. and with the client’s partner at O’Hare Airport in Chicago as well.

Dan: Yes. And you can do it on your phone. In fact you can access your entire catalog on the phone if you want to – on the iPhone. But the mobility that we are demanding in this new environment, particularly with the Smart phones and the flexibility that we have in the software that’s coming through non-linear editing systems whether it be Avid or Apple. And then through Avid server system or Final Cut Server gives us tremendous flexibility in that regard and all of these things are merging together. MediaSilo really has positioned as an online component for those things.

Michael: Ah, great position to be in. Now how has producing videos changed and evolved over the last couple of years?

Dan: Well, I think that the biggest change that we’re seeing is a movement particularly in Hollywood towards work flow that it’s not just about editing anymore. It’s about total work flow from acquisition all the way through the post-production process because the biggest change that I think I’m seeing anyway is the need to take any content that you have and be able to use it on a number of platforms. So we’re seeing a lot of our clients particularly in the reality space take a piece of video that it’s going to be used for a show, but it also has to be re-purposed for the Web. It has to be re-purposed for promos so that they can be sent to newspapers or tabloids around the world; and they have to be able to take that content and put it on the Web, or edit it into their own systems. And the relevant metadata that’s going to be coming with that video is going to be very important because it’s going to add to your ability not only to maximize that content on a number of different platforms, but then as you move forward to also be able to track that content and see what it’s doing for you online.

Michael: Now, speaking of online and stepping away from that traditional Hollywood studio model, what does the future hold for online video content in terms of the production model?

Dan: I think it’s what comes after YouTube now. Because YouTube certainly has its place, there’s no doubt about it but YouTube was the great repository. And when you have a great repository like that, it doesn’t give you the ability to really set yourself apart. So I think people are demanding now the ability to have more control of their content, to be able to stand apart and have a unique delivery system beyond the standard things that are out there. Does that mean there’s not a place for YouTube? Absolutely not. There’s no doubt about it.

But the days of being a production company and putting your stuff on YouTube makes you kind of look cheesy. Let’s be honest. So people want to have the ability to have an incredibly professional look on their Web sites to be able to have an incredibly professional work flow and do that online at a very affordable price. I think that’s where MediaSilo really comes in.

Michael: Which then of course takes us to the bottom line – tell us exactly how do your clients save money and time using MediaSilo’s platform?

Dan: Well the first thing that’s going to save them a bunch of money is that they’re not dubbing DVDs all day long and shipping them out to clients for approval and then waiting days to get an answer back. The money that they saved on FedEx alone pays for the MediaSilo platform, or systems that are incredibly ineffective for video like YouSendIt and FTP delivery systems where they don’t even know what they’re looking at. They just got a file and they have to download it and maybe they don’t even want to look at it in the first place, or maybe it’s not even the right file.

So this is a visual platform that gives you a lot of flexibility and saves you money through delivery, it saves you money through time and the ability to collaborate and get an answer and use our time as an editor and a producer far more effectively. We have casting agents in Los Angeles that are using MediaSilo and we have one recent project where we had a casting director do a project in half the time it took him before and normally he would have three or four casting assistants on the project, and instead he had one. So it’s a money-saver in terms of efficiency and giving you the ability to focus on the project that you’re working on or multiple projects that you’re working on, and move them forward in a pace that’s going to be profitable to you and make a difference on your bottom line.

Michael: And in this age of the bottom line being just that the “bottom line”, I trust that Spidcast listeners and the Spidvid community will appreciate the value of a hand-in-hand partnership with MediaSilo. And that when they assembled their production teams from literally around the world via Spidvid, they would then turn to MediaSilo to complete their projects or even use MediaSilo throughout the complete production process.

Dan: What we’ve seen is a lot of people integrating it piece-by-piece. Some will use this for casting and then start using it for research and put all the research content on there. Others are using it in the production process and then branching out from there. So there’s multiple applications for MediaSilo and if it fits into certain parts of the work flow, then it really works.

One of the things that we really try to do with the platform and encourage people to do is incorporate it into the work flow the way that they want to on their level because we’re not trying to set a work flow and say, “Listen, this is the way that you do it.” We have the flexibility for you to customize the system, customize the approval process, who sees what, when, where, and what workspace it goes into and then where it progresses to based off at the platform, not off of what we say. So you’re able to customize that platform to fit your work flow. So we’re seeing MediaSilo brought in different levels, then expanded from there.

Michael: A bit ago, Dan, you hit on the jump from linear to non-linear editing. Well, this takes the jump from linear to non-linear thinking and this is just today in the present. Now, what do you see in the near future?

Dan: The future is clearly about metadata. There’s no doubt about it and that’s what we’re committed to and we want to make that interaction as seamless and as painless as possible for people. In fact we work with a company called, Focus Enhancements who has a product called the FS-5 which gives you the ability to put metadata onto a file and acquisition, and then you can upload that content and import that metadata up to MediaSilo and into your non-linear editing system and it stays with the file. So it can be good take, bad take; it can be day shoot, night shoot; it can be accurate information, it can be whatever; it can actually be a script. And that information then stays with the video all the way through. It’s searchable, it’s findable, it’s something that you can then put into your library and seek through and have your hands on that video whenever you need to. And that’s going to improve dramatically video production as we move forward.

So if you can get your hands and search in a matter of seconds whether it be on MediaSilo or within your own system using some simple metadata, you’ll be able to get your hands on the video content that you need immediately and it’s going to save you a fortune. It really will and I think we’re going to see metadata incorporated into work flows, in production so that actual approval and the sorting of content is in a reality space where you will have producers sorting through content and picking bodies, and picking the cut-away shots that they want to use, that those selections are with the video as it sits on a server. So whether you go and find it through MediaSilo or you go and find it in your editing system through your production work flow, you’re able to find every shot of John and have your hands on every cut-away of John that was ever shot during the entire production, and have it in seconds. That’s really going to change everything in the way that we do it.

Not to mention the facts and there are other things to come into it. That metadata could also be color, it could be settings, it could be other variables, GPS, it can be what temperature Kelvin were we shooting at. So if you have to go back and do a re-shoot, that metadata is always going to be there and you’re going to be able to change it. Think about the ability to actually do that instead of renting an EVD of a movie, to be able to rent all of the video that we shot for that film and the ability just with metadata to re-cut it the way that you want to, that those scenes are there. That’s the kind of things that we have in the future.

Michael: It sounds like the future is bright indeed. Dan, I sure appreciate you being on Spidcast today, but you also have a Podcast. Tell us a little bit about Work Flow Junkies.

Dan: Well, Work Flow Junkies is sponsored by MediaSilo. We touch on MediaSilo from time to time but really the podcast is about work flow in the production environment. We spend a lot of time talking about metadata there and the potential applications for metadata in the video production space and where we’re going. But at the end of the day what we like to do on Work Flow Junkies is just talk about ways to save yourselves some time and save yourself some money in video production and have fun doing it.

Michael: And to me that has to be the ultimate bottom line. Have fun doing it. Dan, where can the Spidcast listeners go to learn more about your solutions, get a demo and get connected with MediaSilo?

Dan: We’re online at MediaSilo.Com. Podcast is at work WorkFlowJunkies.Com. That’s work WorkFlowJunkies.Com but you can go online to MediaSilo and get a look at the system, sign up for a demo and it’s all free. There’s actually a free account. You can sign up and get your hands on MediaSilo right off the bat and not pay anything. There are limitations in terms of total volume of files that you can upload and so on. It’s a great chance to just sign up for free account at MediaSilo.Com and start up loading some video and see how the system works and see how practical it is for your work flow.

Michael: Wonderful invitation. We will do that, Dan. Thank you so much for joining us today on Spidcast.

Dan: All right. Thanks for having me, Michael.

Michael: Dan Green, evangelist from I’m Michael London. Thank you for listening. You can join the conversation now by visiting Spidcast.Com. We welcome your thoughts, opinions and feedback, and you can also get access to the full-text transcript of this week’s show at Spidcast.Com.

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  • johnhongs

    Wow........... this one is really one of the most important post for me. And the post content really showing the incredible information about how manage the video production work flow and metadata. This one is massively superb. And the existing features of this post are truly looking with full of information. And they really enhances my amount of knowledge about video production work flow.

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  • Glad you got something out of this show John, metadata is often overlooked yet it's key to people discovering your video content online. 

  • Great insight for how producers can improve their work flow with their production team members. I also like how MediaSilo solves important needs like the ability to generate and manage transcript text content. Video is the most engaging content available, but it can't be properly indexed and discovered without the use of text for Google and the other search engines to pick up on.

    Nice job Dan.

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