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MONITORING File-based QC systems for small and mid-sized media organizations: challenges by Vikas Singhal, Venera Technologies C ompanies across the media value chain have departed the tape-based realm and migrated to file-based workflows. In making this transition, they left behind common, well-established technologies that had ensured the smooth flow of content from creation through to delivery. In their place, companies implemented their preferred solutions from among many new technologies geared to file-based operations. The industry’s resulting embrace of varied formats and file structures has led to a lack of interoperability in exchanging and processing media content, in particular with delivery from production/ postproduction companies to broadcasters, OTT service providers, and other outlets. To handle the quality and interoperability issues arising during fi le-based content exchange, companies began to look toward specialized QC tools. Capable of verifying those technical parameters that are diffi cult to detect manually, fi le-based QC tools not only simplify and accelerate content analysis, but also make it easier to perform QC on the growing amount of content generated for multi-platform consumption that, in many cases, is delivered untested due to its sheer volume. By validating the technical structure of the fi le and identifying any objective audio and video quality parameters, fi le-based QC can be an ideal complement to review by the human observer. In today’s world of multi-screen, multi-format delivery, where organizations are making every attempt to improve the effi ciency of their processes, detailed QC at the source can dramatically reduce the likelihood of content being rejected and benefits and sent back up the chain due to interoperability and quality issues. The process of testing and rejecting, or “fi xing” noncompliant content can be costly and time-consuming, so the fi nancial benefi ts of early fi le-based QC are quite tangible. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the organizations at the beginning of the value chain tend to be the smallest, facing the greatest challenges in adopting a fi le-based QC solution. While larger organizations involved in the supply and delivery of content have already begun implementing such systems, smaller production and postproduction companies face a number of challenges in making this investment. When work is project-based and the volume of content handled is variable, as it often is at a smaller company at the start of the value chain, then an upfront investment in fi le-based QC simply may not be fi nancially feasible. Because QC is not a primary focus of the post or production business, it is unlikely to be the fi rst priority when the company’s budget allows for investment in new technology. However, while content suppliers may be reluctant to invest in their own QC tools, it is in their best interest to QC the content before delivery as repeated rejections may lead to fi nancial penalties and loss of reputation. Financial constraints are not the only factors preventing businesses at the start of the value chain from adopting fi le- based QC solutions. The diffi culty of confi guring and using 60 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 95 NOVEMBER 2014 TV-BAY095NOV14.indd 60 06/11/2014 13:06