International content preparation has never been more important. The growth of VOD and OTT delivery has transformed the broadcast landscape, creating a marketplace centred around global moments.
Whilst some areas of the industry have been quick to adapt to the new content delivery and revenue models, localisation workflows remain structured around traditional broadcasting, where the post-production script is an afterthought and the lack of standardisation results in a fragmented process, fraught with duplicated effort and inefficiency.
It’s an area ripe for overhaul.
“Adopting XML as a format forPost-Production Scripts also provides the opportunity to leverage this data to improve efficiencies in other areas of the content supply chain.” Dom Bourne – Founder, Take 1
Keeping pace with shrinking distribution and localisation windows and providing global content concurrently with linear premieres requires a different approach throughout the content delivery chain. Currently, content preparation for original broadcast and versioning are treated as separate workflows, each managed by different stakeholders who are independently responsible for creating whatever materials they need for delivery, compliance and Access Services.
The Post-Production Script or As Broadcast Script also holds valuable metadata which can serve many different functions and workflows.
Post-Production Scripts are typically produced as Word documents – a perfectly acceptable format for delivery of original programme information to the primary Broadcaster – but one that offers limited re-purposing capability for use in other areas. However, if we produce the Post-Production Script in XML, we gain the ability to re-purpose the original data into the various scripts and reports needed throughout the entire content supply chain. With metadata in an XML file, we can convert the Post-Production Script from a single-purpose document into the blueprint for the entire localisation process.
Adopting XML as a format for Post-Production Scripts also provides the opportunity to leverage this data to improve efficiencies in other areas of the content supply chain.
XML data can be rendered to produce speaker lists which break down word or character count per speaker. Using this information, Dubbing Managers are able to plan and negotiate projects upfront. Forced Narrative and measurement data can be extracted to further support the subtitling process.
- Asset management
XML data associated with an asset’s unique identifier can support asset management, archive and full text search.
- Content and Discovery
XML data can be leveraged as valuable content metadata to drive personalised recommendations, ultimately improving the search and discoverability of content.
“With metadata in an XML file, we can convert the Post-Production Script from a single purpose document into the blueprint for the entire localisation process.” Claire Brown – Commercial Manager, Take 1
Realising the potential
The accuracy of the Post-Production Script is key to these benefits as any derivatives from a blueprint will only be as good as the original data. Scientific language, key terms and names need to be researched and quality controlled at the point of origination, because once these are translated into multiple languages and then used to create everything from subtitles to dubbing scripts, each mistake in the original version increases exponentially. This raises some contentious questions.
If the Post-Production Script is to become a resource used throughout the content supply chain, is it being funded at the right point in the process? Or, should savings from efficiencies created further down the line be used to ensure that the blueprint is of a high standard?
Furthermore, how will machine technology impact these workflows? There are some considerable efficiencies to be gained from voice recognition and for some genres – news is a good example here – these technologies are already delivering value. We believe that the principle applies beyond how we source the data, to the more important question of how we share it.
The key to creating a process that is both more efficient and more affordable is to adopt a standardised XML-based Post-Production Script template that is adhered to across the industry, in the same way that the AS-11 specification has standardised the delivery of digital files for broadcast.
We believe that, by adopting a standard approach to the type of data that is tracked, how it is named and used, we will be able to leverage the adaptability of XML to derive data once and apply it throughout the value chain. And we’re so confident in this belief that we’ve designed and built a platform to help us do just that.
Liberty is our metadata harvesting platform that supports the production of XML-based Post-Production Scripts, TTML timed text for captioning, and the re-purposing of this data into the various documents, files and reports needed throughout the global content production workflow, within a secure and scalable environment.
Isn’t it about time we unlocked the value of transcription data?