Media organizations are entertaining new combinations of software and hardware offerings promising quicker, better and more cost effective tools that fit into production workflows and on a larger scale, vast and complex digital media supply chains. With the promise of efficiency no matter the scale, the golden rule in any media organization is “don’t disrupt a well functioning workflow or pipeline”. Even though this is obvious, you would be surprised (or perhaps not) at the number of large well respected media organizations that implement new tools which dismantle an existing workflow in whole or in part by:
1. Adding unnecessary or repetitive upstream or downstream steps.
2. General incompatibility with processes up or downstream.
3. Employing tools that do not allow media access or visibility, or even worse, allow too much access to those who have the potential of doing damage through human error.
Support for Legacy Tools
To revisit my first thought disruption of an existing successful workflow is a cardinal sin. More often than not, these workflows support legacy infrastructure including years of in-house hand spun development. As developers we still have to respect the decisions put in place while developing tools to help with the transition. Legacy could signify on-premise products rather than data centre solutions. and it does not necessarily mean obsolete or end of life.
Recognizing that legacy workflows can be an important part of a media supply chain, this fact begs for workflows and services that bolt-on and are non-disruptive.This term bolt-on conjures up literal imagery of industrial strength engine modifications, and in terms of Forscene and the Blackbird codec that representation is pretty accurate. Forscene and many other SaaS developers have deemed their tools as bolt-on. The reason is that the tools are agile allowing development that supports division of tasks (microservices) and allows for adaption where required.
Bolt-on Proxy Workflow
The importance of proxy workflow as a bolt-on service is relevant on many levels such as international media visibility, overcoming network bandwidth limitations, simplified tools, and adaptive services that give accessibility to these compliant tools. The very nature of proxy workflow denotes a bolt-on technology. The fact that Forscene’s ingest method scans, transcodes and uploads content without modification to the original source material is an entry level expectation. However, running these processes on-premise or remote, in a VM, or a commercial data centre gives you the freedom to bolt-on the process adaptive to any existing workflow. A scriptable ingest process is truly exciting at least for those of us who had to manually data wrangle for years. With unlimited automated control over complex directory structure creation, metadata injection and auto-reorganization just in case you were not happy with the way your media was injested in the first place. This bolt-on technology is a microservice separated from the other processes and plays an enormous role in production and media services supporting any existing media framework.
The nature of SaaS services allow for decoupling so they can “slip-in’ or “bolt-on” into an existing workflow without requiring you to implement a monolithic solution. Packaged solutions are attractive on the surface, but often times there are many points of failure or duplication of services that you many not want. For example, clipping sports highlights may be a Forscene bolt-on service you choose to embrace. The fact that Forscene can distribute quite successfully to social platforms exists, however, you may already subscribe to another distribution service you are satisfied with. Forscene slips-in because the service can easily create the high resolution output with any required metadata and pass the result on to the next step. This clipping service bolts-on and does not disrupt your existing distribution method.
The Future of Bolt-on services
The creation of services that have not been invented, especially those that fall under the category of cognitive artificial intelligence is intrinsic to every aspect of media integration. Image and sound evaluation for the purposes of more forensic searches plays an enormous role in the content creation process. With timelines becoming shorter, the current manual services such as transcription and closed captioning will move (and they already have) to AI bolt-on services to alleviate the seemingly impossible deadlines. Bringing these services into a proxy workflow early on in the process where the sheer abundance of media requires artificial intelligence is an important next step.
As new capabilities are required in your media supply chain, the low cost low risk and fast way to do this is to add cloud capabilities to existing workflows which you know and trust.
Blackbird is best-of-breed
Jon Hanford - Group CTO, Deltatre