By Bruce Devlin, founder, Mr MXF, former standards VP, SMPTE.
Everywhere you look in the media industry now, you’ll find the word metadata being used. Consumer experience is navigated with it. Supply chains depend upon it. AI workflows generate boat loads of the stuff and we hear that more is needed.
But here’s the rub: compared to video and audio, metadata doesn’t really flow. Sure, there are a few exceptions like immersive audio metadata and tracking metadata for AR, but we don’t really have a way of shifting metadata around so that we can easily get it to where it can be used.
If we were going to create such a system, then it should be intrinsically simple to implement, preferably built on existing non-proprietary technology and should be able to transport any sort of metadata, time accurately if needed from a single byte to petabytes per second.
If such a thing existed, then we would want to implement a series of identifiers to help track the metadata so that it could be associated with a particular project or line of business regardless of whether the metadata was transported in-band (e.g. embedded in the audio-visual stream) or out of band (e.g. a PDF script at rest in an S3 bucket).
In fact, in a production scenario, we would want content IDs to be persistent with value-add metadata throughout the lifecycle of all the assets. This start from before the production team is formed all the way through to deep archive in a data vault inside a safe mountain somewhere.
Enter EIDR from stage left. If you’re reading this then you’ll have at least a basic understanding of the mechanisms that EIDR provides for identifying many variants of a piece of work including the phase when there is no title, it has not been greenlit, yet work has started to turn the idea into something beautiful.
Using the metarex.media framework and promoting EIDR to a first class identifier, specifically using SMPTE RP 2089, we now have the ability to achieve all these dreams.
The metarex.media kicked off in January 2023 and will be generating a body of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) targeted at product builders and developers in the first year, followed by some basic apps focused on end-users in the second year.
We are proud to have EIDR as a partner in this work and we’re looking for backers who will help us bring the software we need to market so that the framework is free for everyone from students to Hollywood studios.
Bruce Devlin is well known in the media industry for his work on files and systems, particularly MXF and IMF. In the last 30 years his presentations and Bruce’s Shorts videos have become the go-to resource for CFOs, CTOs and students wanting to figure out the business of technology. Bruce has designed everything from ASICs to algorithms.