How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata 6 min read

How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata

The vast amount of metadata worth tracking in film productions steadily grows. As a result, it can be challenging to stay on top of things when trying to properly manage it. Collecting data from many different sources, associating metadata in a way that benefits further production steps, validating the integrity of information, and preparing metadata for distribution: All these demanding tasks have their origin on set, and you, as a DIT, are in charge.

So how do you keep things manageable? How do you pull the right strings and use the right tools to keep your processes simple while maintaining complete control? To shine a light on these questions, let’s dive into the three central steps of collecting, validating, and distributing film production metadata with the help of Silverstack and ShotHub.

Collect

Around the film set, there’s usually more than one person involved in collecting and tracking metadata, as multiple sources need to be considered. You can read more about the various sources of metadata in one of our previous articles.

FOCUS ON ESSENTIAL METADATA ONLY

With so much potential metadata information available and multiple people involved, it becomes absolutely crucial to be in agreement about what is being collected and how. Right from the start, Silverstack equips you with full control over these decisions as you can precisely determine which metadata information is being imported. In other words, you can already weed out unnecessary information and exclude it from showing up in your library.

How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata
Control which metadata fields to import.

Making these decisions upon import allows you to focus only on the essential information when performing your next workflow steps.

KEEP INFORMATION CONSISTENT ACROSS UNITS

When multiple units are involved in collecting metadata, you might feel like you lack control over the process. After all, you can’t see what the other unit is doing exactly – until now!

The library sync feature in Silverstack 8.0 allows you to sync each unit’s local clip library via Pomfort’s cloud service ShotHub. All metadata entries get updated automatically, bi-directionally, and in real-time, providing you with a data set that’s consistent across units. Being able to work together on the same project regardless of time and location makes the collection process fully transparent for everyone involved.

You can read more about cloud-based, collaborative workflows with Silverstack and ShotHub in our article called “Five Use Cases to Benefit from the New Library Sync Feature”.

Validate

Validating metadata is all about ensuring that your collected set of metadata is complete and free of errors. Having certain information tracked by different professions on set can provide a sense of security as everything gets double-checked and repeatedly noted. For example, slate metadata might be tracked by the continuity department as well as the sound department.

COMPARE METADATA FROM MULTIPLE SOURCES

However, this also creates redundancies that can put you at risk of getting distracted or confused. To stay in full control, it is, therefore, necessary to sort out any redundant information. In addition, information on the same metadata may contradict each other when coming from multiple sources. Hence, you also need to be able to detect and correct mismatched information before importing it into your library.

With version 8.0 of Silverstack, we release a very helpful feature for comparing metadata information upon import:

  • A match in metadata (unchanged metadata) tells you that the different sources all provided the same values. You’re good to go!
  • A flagged-up conflict reveals that the provided information differs between sources. Now that you’re aware of the issue, you can reconvene with the involved parties and ultimately solve it.
How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata
Preview metadata on import and see conflicts, changes, and unchanged fields. Learn more in the KnowledgeBase.

STREAMLINE COMMUNICATION WITH OTHERS

You can use Pomfort’s cloud service ShotHub as another vehicle for simplifying validation. Imagine getting metadata information from a script supervisor and merging it into your Silverstack library. If you need to clarify any of the provided information, you can simply grant that script supervisor remote access to the Silverstack library via ShotHub. Communication with other departments thus becomes way more efficient and fully transparent.

How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata
Invite another project member to ShotHub, e.g., to review information.

Distribute

Up to this point, all your efforts were aimed at building and preparing a consistent set of metadata that’s suitable for subsequent use by others. Now it’s time to actually make this information available to the relevant parties – efficiently and with control.

TAILOR HANDOVERS TO THE RECIPIENTS’ NEEDS

When distributing metadata, it is important to tailor your handovers to the needs of the intended recipients. For example, the production staff is probably interested in other information than an editor or post supervisor would be. Again, Silverstack puts this control in your hands by offering multiple options for selecting specific metadata fields for certain outputs:

  • The metadata table of clips offers high flexibility about which metadata should be displayed – the stored presets are your selection for the clips reports. Thus, you can make sure only the relevant metadata is displayed.
How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata
Manage custom table view presets in Silverstack.
  • The export wizards offer possibilities to restrict metadata. Thus, only the desired fields are included in your handovers, such as an ALE for Media Composer or an XML for Adobe Premiere Pro.
How to Maintain Control Over Your Film Production’s Metadata
Select which metadata to include for an export.

CONCLUSION

As outlined in this article, you can take advantage of Silverstack’s and ShotHub’s rich toolbox to experience full control over your metadata – whether you’re collecting, validating, or distributing it. This empowers you to execute your tasks confidently and efficiently, which is especially important in today’s fast-paced and data-heavy production environments.

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About the Author
Samuel is a product manager for Pomfort's on-set applications. Usually you can catch him working on new specs for the software products, writing documentation and shooting videos for our products – and sometimes writing blog posts about workflows and equipment.