SMPTE 2011: Points to Consider With Multiple Formats in a File-Based Workflow

HOLLYWOOD: The chief complaint about file-based workflows is how to handle all the source formats. Pick one, said John King of BitCentral. King recommends identifying an acquisition format and driving the organization and newsroom toward it. For everything else, he laid out steps to create a methodology.

Start with a source analysis, he said. Determine where a file comes from and if it can be used in its native format across the processes—editing, playback, archive and sharing. Consider how many other sources use the same format. Keep files in their native format whenever possible to reduce degradation. Develop an “easy interface” for central storage and access. Easier said than done, he conceded.

King said to present assets to users in a consistent format and give them a consistent experience to maximize the usability of those assets, King suggested.

“You want an asset management system that’s flexible, and handles a large number of codecs. So users don’t care where it came from,” he said.

There’s also the issue of aging. “As much as we’d like to, we certainly can’t keep everything forever,” King said.

To cull the herd, King said to consider what’s acquired locally, if the rights are procured beyond a current production cycle, and even if a file is worth keeping. See what legal says about archiving footage from the field. Optimally, he said, “everything goes.” In the unlikely event that’s not the case, King said to consider alternative locations for storage. Without using the word, “cloud,” he mentioned “field-friendly” storage mediums “outside of the walls.”