Metadata is an essential component of Media Asset Management (MAM) systems since it enables a more professional management of media assets. The term metadata refers to information about media assets, including information about their creation, usage, and distribution. This information is used to manage the lifecycle of media assets and to make them more discoverable and usable.
Using metadata in MAM systems can also help to improve the overall quality of media assets. For example, metadata can be used to ensure that media assets are properly tagged with keywords, making it easier to find related assets. Additionally, metadata can be used to automatically generate reports and statistics, providing valuable insights into the usage and performance of media assets.
Metadata exists in its most simple forms when you check the Properties or Details of any file or even a picture stored on your phone. When working with a MAM software, the more metadata a file contains, the more advanced and detailed/accurate the search of material uploaded to the system can be. In a MAM system you can see the search results as visual thumbnails or in preview formats, which for example a DAM software does not provide. One interesting feature of metadata that is not commonly known is that a user can encrypt metadata.
The amount of metadata has to however be kept to a limited amount of information since metadata naturally takes space. The amount of information related to a file varies depending on file format since each format contains different types and amount of metadata. Most online services or file transfer services use so called proxies which do not transfer any metadata and therefore elimiate the possibility for a more advanced use of the content.
What information does metadata provide?
Metadata are not only stored for descriptive reasons. With all available information you can search metadata with a broad range of parameters, such as time and date of creation and upload, versions, processing stages, picture and video styles or types, languages, technical equipments, digital rights managements, names of the production crew, production location (GPS locations), play duration, qualities, file size, codecs, name and content of clip (plus everything else that users manually stored as text in the MAM system). With this information or any combination of search details you can either manually or automatically find what you are looking for. This is one of the main functions and benefits of a MAM system.
The many benefits of using metadata in MAM systems include:
- Better organization: Metadata provides a way to categorize and organize media assets, making it easier to find and manage them.
- Improved searchability: Metadata can be used to search for media assets, making it easier to find the assets you need.
- Better collaboration: Metadata can be used to track the usage and distribution of media assets, making it easier to collaborate with others.
- Increased efficiency: Metadata can automate many processes, such as adding assets to a library, updating asset information, and generating reports.
When you are interested in a more advanced use of metadata, the Flow MAM software gives you the opportunity to manage and manipulate metadata in media files. In our software you can read, write, and edit metadata information in all media file types. Our features related to metadata can for example extract metadata information, such as image exif data, IPTC data, audio and video codec information. Users can add, modify, or delete metadata information in media files, such as changing image captions, modifying audio and video codec information, and updating document metadata. Users can also process multiple media files at once, making it easier to manage and manipulate large collections of media assets.
Metadata in photography
A camera adds a basic set of metadata by default; time and date of creation, the camera model, the firmware version of the camera, its serial number camera-/device specific metadata, photographer name (if added to the settings). In addition, there is content specific metadata that describes key technical parameters of the creation process such as ISO value (light sensitivity value). To each picture taken, there is alot of technical metadata that gives codec, file and quality aspects: resolution of pictures and videos, amount and datarates of the streams, codecs used, derivatives that were already made in the camera while shooting, DPI numbers of pictures and so on.
All such detailed metadata can become handy when you need to perform a detailed search of your content. As an example, if you are looking for pictures with a stylish bokeh effect, you could search for open aperture sizes of camera lenses, like f/1.4 or f/1.8 for example. So, even if the editor did not enter and save those details, you can search the auto-generated metadata of the files to find specific pictures and video styles, or low light/over bright shot scenes by their ISO number and the according shutter speeds, directly stored from the camera itself, to search for night or daylight scenes, whether a flash was used or blocked. This is an amazing feature to use when you have alot of content and need to quickly get access to specific material.
When content is being edited, a set of metadata can be added to the content to track the process. The editing stage of a media content during processing, post-processing, archiving and delivery can also be within the metadata, which gives clear overview of the latest versions or already shared files. Most editing softwares also automatically write metadata to processed files (ex. DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Photoshop, Avid ProTools etc.), and typically also versioning systems are generating metadata to a file, that can be used within MAM systems.
Additionally, DRM (digital rights management) can be included in the metadata which gives an overview of the rights management of content. For example, copyrights exist for using the file to be showed in cinema, radio stations etc.
Different types of metadata
- Technical metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the technical aspects of a media asset, such as its format, resolution, and file size.
- Descriptive metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the content of a media asset, such as its title, description, and keywords.
- Structural metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the structure of a media asset, such as its chapters, segments, and shots.
- Administrative metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the management of a media asset, such as its owner, date of creation, and copyright information.
- Temporal metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the time-based aspects of a media asset, such as its duration, frame rate, and timecode.
- Spatial metadata: This type of metadata includes information about the geographic location of a media asset, such as its GPS coordinates and location name.
In addition to these types of metadata, there are also industry-specific metadata standards that can be used in MAM systems. For example, the Motion Picture Industry Branch (MPAA) has developed a standard for descriptive metadata, called the MPAA Rating System, which is used to rate the content of movies.
In conclusion, metadata is an essential component of Media Asset Management systems, providing many benefits and enabling organizations to better manage and utilize their media assets. With the right metadata standards and practices in place, MAM systems can help to improve the efficiency, organization, and quality of media assets, making it easier for organizations to find and use the media assets they need.