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
An Epiphany Moment
Peter Savage 2 I had been negotiating the sale of my company and had reached the really hard end of the bargain. We were close to agreeing the final sum after a lot of too-much-give-and-not-enough-take negotiation. The solicitors were calling me, keen for a deal. It had come down to one sticking point and, in my hard ball “I am the Wolf of Wall Street” guise, I wasn’t going to let it go. It would make a value difference of 1.5% on the total outcome. Not much, you might think, but I had already nearly fallen out with the solicitors over their fees and I was giving my advisors an extremely hard time because the corporate adviser couldn’t see how I had already given more than an inch and the buyers were taking more than a mile. I was not going to let them win.
Tags: iss134 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Using Wireless Transmission
Jeremy Benning Wireless acquisition is a staple of live sports, entertainment and reality shows where cable free capture permits shots not previously possible, for health and safety reasons, and gives the camera-operator greater artistic licence to roam. The same is increasingly true of narrative drama where cinematographers are keen to work handheld or Steadicam where that helps tell the story. Any equipment which frees their movement and time by being lighter, easier to use and reliable in performance is going to tick a lot of boxes.
Tags: iss134 | wireless | 4k | transmission | Jeremy Benning
Contributing Author Jeremy Benning Click to read or download PDF
Shedding Light on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k BMCPP4K
Garth de Bruno Austin “What is it about light that has us craving it?” Is the question asked in the opening seconds of Garth de Bruno Austin’s latest short, The Colour of Light. Exploring this natural, human need as well as our innate desire to control it, Garth’s film showcases everyday people going about their lives in differing degrees of luminance, whether that be an artificial streetlight or a natural morning sunrise.
Tags: iss134 | blackmagic | cinema camera | 4k | cpp4k | Garth de Bruno Austin
Contributing Author Garth de Bruno Austin Click to read or download PDF
The brave new world of software based production
Boromy Ung In today’s rapidly evolving broadcast industry, the only constant media organizations can truly count on is change — and the need to adapt as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible. One of the biggest agents of change is the IP revolution, driving broadcasters to migrate their operations to all-software solutions running on commodity, IT-based technologies.
Tags: iss134 | chyronhego | graphics | sports | ott | Boromy Ung
Contributing Author Boromy Ung Click to read or download PDF
Sony HDC-4800 Review
Andy McKenzie First announced at NAB 2016, the Sony HDC-4800 is a studio camera system capable of shooting 4K/UHD at up to 8x or full HD at up to 16x. With a price point upwards of £250,000 it is a very high-end product with a wide feature set. In Sony's own words, "This is the future of live production, designed to satisfy the storytelling aspect of modern sports production.” Deliveries began in mid 2017 and, after careful preliminary evaluation, we invested in several systems for our hire fleet ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Tags: iss134 | review | hdc-4800 | sony | finepoint | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF