Back to Basics with Media Transformation


Craig Newbury TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Craig Newbury
Issue 90 - June 2014

With their shift toward use of file-based digital audio and video, rather than tape- or film-based media, broadcasters and other media companies have moved into a world that demands some familiarity with the concept of media compression. Because the video and audio captured by cameras and microphones often results in very large files with a great deal of information (many, many bits of data), various compression schemes are used to decrease the file size and enable more efficient storage and transport of file-based audio and video. Well-known compression schemes (formats) include MPEG, Pro-Res, and DNxHD and each of these provides different advantages and disadvantages.

As their name implies, video and audio codecs are the hardware and software systems that handle the compression and decompression of digital video and audio. A codec and corresponding compression format typically is selected for how it balances factors such as video quality, the quantity of the data needed to represent it (aka the bit rate), the complexity (and cost) of the encoding and decoding algorithms, robustness to data losses and errors, ease of editing, random access, and end-to-end delay.

While the application in which media is being used will help to determine the importance of these elements and, in turn, the optimal file format, the compatibility of file formats with the networks and systems comprising the production and/or distribution chain is also an important consideration. To assure that content can be transported, stored, edited, or otherwise processed effectively, many content creation and distribution workflows require, at more and more points, that media files be converted from one format to another.

When the flow of audio and video content from system to system requires that an audio or video file be encoded in a different format, transcoding is the type of processing applied to convert the file from its current format into the required format from one encoding scheme to another. Transcoding is also the process that enables content producers and providers to ensure that content meets the specific format requirements of different distribution outlets and target displays. As such, it is a key enabler of the multiplatform media services that bring content to computers and the broad array of mobile viewing devices in use today.

The rise of multiplatform media distribution has made it necessary for content creators and providers to manage, package, and deliver an unprecedented volume of media.


Adding to this challenge is the need to provide this content in a broad variety of formats, and in numerous profiles sets of specific parameters within those formats. The automation of transcoding processes has helped to reduce the time and cost involved in handling these tasks, but it has become clear that a more sophisticated approach to managing file-based media and the processing applied to that media can yield significant operational and business benefits. The concept of media transformation responds to this need, building on the value provided by transcoding to enable more efficient and streamlined processing of file-based media across the entire workflow. Ultimately, this approach supports an optimized media pipeline that maximizes the quality of both media assets and the operations outputs.

Rather than simply convert files from one format to another, media transformation solutions extract, index, and leverage intelligence about media files in order to automate key media management and processing steps required to hit the target output parameters. Whats more, with such a solution, the content creator or provider can simply, quickly, and affordably ensure that as media is ingested, transcoded, edited, and otherwise transformed for distribution, the quality and value of that content is maintained, or even enhanced. For example, the solution might adjust (normalize) the audio structure to assure that it meets technical and/or regulatory requirements; adjust video to make sure that it meets broadcast gamut color requirements; and ensure that closed caption data is properly displayed for the target distribution outlet and end-user device.

Within a typical media transformation workflow, content is stored within a single system or repository. A pool of central processing unit (CPU)/graphics processing unit (GPU) resources provides the processing power for transformational algorithms incorporated into the media transformation platform. The processes effectively run on a single system built on commodity IT resources rather than on more expensive to buy and to maintain discrete dedicated processing systems.

Though transcoding plays a central role in virtually every media facility today, media transformation supports a more holistic and ultimately more cost-effective approach to audio and video processing. With this approach to managing file-based assets, content creators and providers can prepare and deliver media with a much greater degree of efficiency and accuracy, both critical capabilities in todays competitive multiplatform media marketplace.


Tags: iss090 | Wohler | RaidiandGrid | transcoding | media transformation | Craig Newbury
Contributing Author Craig Newbury

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Wohler at IBC 2016

    Wohler at IBC 2016

  • WohlerGateway at IBC 2014

    WohlerGateway at IBC 2014

  • Wohler MPEG Monitoring Series at IBC 2014

    Wohler MPEG Monitoring Series at IBC 2014

  • Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

    Wohler DPP at BVE 2014

  • Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

    Wohler MPEG Monitoring at BVE 2014

  • Wohler Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Wohler Technologies on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Wohler at IBC 2012

    Wohler at IBC 2012

  • Wohler at IBC2011

    Wohler at IBC2011

  • Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

    Radiant Grid at NAB 2012

  • Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

    Prime Focus Technologies at IBC 2016

  • Dalet at IBC 2014

    Dalet at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

    Telestream Wirecast and Switch at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

    Telestream Vantage support for DPP at IBC 2014

  • Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

    Telestream Enterprise at NAB 2014

  • Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

    Telestream Switch at NAB 2014

  • Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Wirecast version five at IBC 2013

  • Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

    Telestream with Post Producer at IBC 2013

  • Telestream Vantage v5 at NAB 2013

    Telestream Vantage v5 at NAB 2013

  • Telestream at BVE 2013

    Telestream at BVE 2013

  • Haivision at NAB 2012

    Haivision at NAB 2012

  • Telestream at NAB 2012

    Telestream at NAB 2012

  • Elemental Technologies at IBC2011

    Elemental Technologies at IBC2011

  • Digital Rapids at IBC2011

    Digital Rapids at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
Ruth Matos Interview - A Career Unfolds
Ruth Matos We first met Ruth when we employed her as a student to help with our live studio at BVE in 2013. We were struck by her determination, passion and ‘I’ll do anything to help’ attitude. We became friends of Facebook and have since seen her career in the industry develop and unfold. We thought it was about time to catch up and share her inspiring story of where she is now, how she got there and the challenges she has faced along the way.
Tags: iss133 | interview | filmming | career | education | Ruth Matos
Contributing Author Ruth Matos Click to read or download PDF
Live audio contribution over wireless networks
Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Wireless “live” contribution from anywhere at any time, this is the ultimate goal for most news reporters. The old favorite of using ISDN is becoming harder and much more expensive to access easily. Today most of us use wireless daily, in particular Wifi and HSPA/LTE 4G networks. These are now mature technologies and widely used for many applications in the home and whilst out and about. However there are still some professionals who prefer to persevere with the traditional, costly and limited ISDN communication technology before jumping into the wireless era.
Tags: iss133 | adrl | wireless audio | isdn | cellular audio | Pablo Rodrigues Altmann
Contributing Author Pablo Rodrigues Altmann Click to read or download PDF
The Biggest Toy Shop in the World
Emma Morrison When Nigel Woodford started his career at BBC Wood Norton in 1962, television was black and white and BBC Two had not yet been launched. In 2018 Nigel will retire, and Richmond Film Services, the pro-audio equipment rental company set up by Nigel in 1973, can count numerous contributions to iconic moments in British cultural, sporting and film history over this time.
Tags: iss133 | richmond film services | audio rental | auction | liquidity | go-dove | Emma Morrison
Contributing Author Emma Morrison Click to read or download PDF
DJI Ronin-S Review
Tim Bearder

If you read my review of the GH5 in Issue 129 at the beginning of the year, you know I’m a filmmaker that is all about small form factor. My basic setup combines the tiny yet powerful mirrorless Panasonic GH5 with the wonderfully compact Sennheiser AVX wireless mic system. Together you’ve got a run and gun set up to die for.

Unless you actually run!

Tags: iss 133 | dji | ronin-s | gh5 | Tim Bearder
Contributing Author Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
IBC in a post Brexit world
Peter Savage 2 Cast your mind forward and we are not in 2018 but next year and, yes, it’s you and me walking to the departure lounge to catch the plane to IBC just as I, and perhaps also you, have done for the last 25 years. (By the way, where is my long service award – and perhaps a new pair of shoes as I must, surely, have walked the equivalent of five Caminos covering the 12 halls in the Rai). We are at the gate and my imagination kicks in as I hypothesize on what the trip might look like next year. I leave it to you to decide which is closest to what might be to come.
Tags: iss133 | azule | brexit | ibc | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF