Video metadata

Video Metadata Management

Learn about the importance of metadata and metadata curation and why you should build your metadata-driven video strategy with us

What is video metadata?
Importance of video metadata
Types of metadata
Metadata-driven video strategy with Vidispine
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What Is Video Metadata?

Metadata is the data behind other data – “other data” in this case referring to content data – where video metadata is basically the data behind videos. It is a type of descriptive data that helps a person or a computer identify the characteristics of a file. For example, metadata for a Microsoft Word document includes such things as: file size, author and date of creation, but there are countless more different types of both visible and hidden metadata to help identify the characteristics of the specific file.

While metadata is an important aspect for all types of files and content, comprehensive video metadata for video content is where you can truly observe the benefits of metadata. The reason being that a video is a complex type of content where audio and images form a single asset. 

The big challenge a lot of companies face today is how to handle the enormous amount of video content available today, and how to manage and organize it – which won’t be a problem when working with one of Vidispine’s solutions. We offer a video metadata editor/toolset integrated with our solutions where you will be able to categorize, label, tag and create search structures yourself, or use AI algorithms to optimize your digital asset management. You will be able to perform complex search queries through massive volumes of videos to find the relevant content you’re after based on the language spoken in the video, clip duration, colors and a plethora of other metadata.

But to see the value in our service, first, you have to understand what metadata is, and why video metadata management is so important.

The Importance of Video Metadata

By looking at the process of a search query through a search engine, we can quickly see why video metadata is so important. Written content possesses a certain simplicity, making it searchable just by including specific words in the content to match a search term against. Not only does a video consist of two different types of content (audio and images), it’s also a “flowing” type of content, making it much harder to identify. 

Video metadata simply provides a much needed context for video content, making it easier for people to discover relevant content. But not only that, it also provides the possibility to navigate effectively within the video content itself, similar to how you can search inside a normal written document. 

What is metadata curation and why is it so important?

However important metadata may be, it is of no use unless you can manage it properly and will just eat up valuable time. This is becoming an increasingly bigger issue considering that the amount of content and associated metadata is growing rapidly. To be able to handle their ever-increasing libraries of videos, organizations NEED to curate metadata to ensure they won’t get overwhelmed. But why, and what does it actually mean to curate metadata?

Metadata curation refers to the end-to-end process of selecting, preparing, and managing metadata to meet the wants and needs of a specific group, allowing them to easily understand and readily use it. It is the skill of selecting and bringing together relevant data into structured, searchable metadata datasets that are ready for analysis.

The ultimate goal of metadata curation is to reduce the time from data to insights. Due to the growing amount of content and metadata, it has become essential to curate your data. Without it, organizations can neither locate useful metadata nor use it to its maximum potential. It means less time spent on finding, cleaning, or preparing data, leaving more time for more important aspects of your business.

How to manage your video metadata with a Video CMS?

Different Types of Video Metadata

There are mainly three types of video content metadata one needs to be aware of to make assets more easily discoverable.

Descriptive Video Metadata

Descriptive video content metadata includes any information which describes the assets that are used for later identification and discovery. Descriptive video metadata examples include:

  • Unique identifiers (such as EIDR, a concept similar to ISBN, but for digital objects)
  • Physical/Technical attributes (such as file dimensions, color codes, or file types)
  • Bibliographic/Added attributes (such as descriptions, title, and relevant keywords)

Descriptive video metadata is the most well-known type of metadata and is often described as the most robust one because there are simply so many ways to describe an asset.

Structural Video Metadata

Structural video metadata is the data that indicates how a specific asset is organized, in the same way how the pages of a book are organized to form the chapters. Structural video content metadata also indicates if the specific asset is part of a single collection, or multiple collections, making it easier to navigate and present the information in an electronic source. Structural video metadata examples include:

  • Sections
  • Video chapters
  • Indexes
  • Table of contents

Structural video metadata is, apart from basic organization, the key to document the relationship between two assets.

Administrative Video Metadata

Administrative video metadata concerns the technical source of a digital resource and how it can be managed. It is the metadata that relates to rights and intellectual property by providing data and information about the owner, as well as where and how it’s allowed to be used.

NISO (National Information Standards Organization) divides administrative metadata into three sub-categories:

  • Technical Metadata - Necessary information for decoding and rendering files. 
  • Preservation Metadata - Necessary information for long-term management and archiving of digital assets.
  • Rights Metadata - Information regarding intellectual property and usage rights.

An administrative video metadata example would be a Creative Commons license.

Long Term Benefits of Video Metadata

Video metadata management is a long-term investment, in the end boosting ROI (Return On Investment) of each individual asset. You can expect the following benefits when working with Vidispine and our video metadata management solution:

  • Extended longevity:
    Old videos often get buried in newly created content, especially in big libraries where new content is created on a regular basis. The old video content disappears, making it less visible and harder to access. Video metadata extends the longevity of the video content by making it relevant over a longer period of time.
  • Additional context:
    The basic definition of metadata is: “stuff that describes things”. While it might be somewhat of an oversimplification, it’s nonetheless true. It simply adds context to the specific asset, adding important information to make it easier to understand.
  • Increased relevancy:
    Metadata often presents both valuable data that would otherwise have been overlooked, highlighting interesting information to increase assets’ interest. For example, a viewer might find much more value in a movie if he/she knows who the director is.
  • Maintaining historical records:
    Where was the footage from? What music did we use? Your metadata can act as a central location to document all details surrounding the specific asset, making it possible to structure a concrete timeline for the asset.
  • Documentation of production:
    Video metadata can be very specific regarding such things as camera details like frame rate, shutter speed and more. By archiving these specific details, they can be used at a later stage to match the look if you need to add additional footage.
  • Resource efficiency:
    Not all video assets need the same derivative versions created through transcoding, which is something you can control through the metadata. You can limit the number of derivatives created on what you require, in the end saving space. Metadata can even be used to disable transcoding completely if needed, creating a pass-through asset instead.
  • Business intelligence – Internal/External functions
    Imagine having a persistent, canonical and unique identifier for all your video assets, making it possible for you to marry data from rights management systems, content management systems, distributions services, digital rights management services, and financial reports. This is what EIDR (The Entertainment Identifier Registry Association) was founded for, creating unique IDs (DOI:s – Digital Object Identifiers) for any given digital asset, which you can reap the benefits from within Vidispine.

Build a Metadata-Driven Video Strategy with Vidispine

There are dussins upon dussins of different metadata, both hidden and visible, creating a complex system with an endless amount of potential regarding navigation and search capabilities. Using an online video metadata viewer will only give you a taste of the amount of different metadata there is.

Vidispine makes your video content management easy with effective tool sets that reduce both time and complexity when managing and navigating through your video archive. Contact Vidispine today for more information about our video metadata management solutions and start building your metadata-driven video strategy today.

Q&A’s for Metadata

  • Metadata of a video file allows users to identify the characteristics of the file, making it easier to search, use and manage the video. The video metadata can, for instance, include the date the video was created, the creator's name, location, date of upload, and camera ID. 

  • To view non-technical metadata such as actor information, usage rights, relations to other videos etc you will need a proper media asset management system, like VidiCore. With such system, all kinds of metadata for any media file can be stored in a structured manner and be presented to end-users in any user interface, or to any other system through the powerful VidiCore API. Simple technical metadata such as video resolution and bitrate are properties of the video file itself and will always be viewable in VidiCore. 

  • To create non-technical metadata for a video you will need a proper media asset management system, like VidiCore. With such system, you can create your own metadata structure and relations to organize your data as you wish. You can then populate the system with metadata through graphical end-user interfaces or by fetching data from external sources. Technical metadata for a video is created when the file is made and cannot really be created by an end-user, but it can of course be stored alongside any non-technical metadata in VidiCore. 


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