About Philip and Metadata

My interest in metadata goes back to the very start of my career in production. I never studied film, video or television production so I’m not sure where my first, very good habit, of logging everything I shot came from, but it served me well.

In the days of tape-to-tape editing, knowing where a shot is on the tape saves a lot of shuttling time, as well as wear and tear on tape and machines. Plus, it’s just faster to find a shot in a written list, than shuttle or play through 20 minutes of a tape to try and find a given shot.

That trick won’t work if it’s an interview, though. Then you have to have good log notes, or it meant many hours of wasted time listening through the interview over and over again. Transcriptions became fashionable for that very important reason – finding content.

With the vision of 20/20 hindsight, I realize that what I was doing was making notes (logs) for ranges of time. This I would now call Content Metadata.

Metadata has been a constant through my career, and in my two “day jobs” at Intelligent Assistance, and Lumberjack System, are both deeply integrated in the world of metadata. Every app that Intelligent Assistance has created uses metadata to communicate with Final Cut Pro (of both eras) and Premiere Pro. We translate metadata from one version to another. We have tools for adding metadata and editing with text; and tools for building story based on metadata.

Lumberjack System is dedicated to making useful metadata easier and earlier in the process. It is specifically focused on Content Metadata and sits in parallel with the many sources of technical metadata.

I’ve been talking about metadata for many years. My earliest post on the philiphodgetts.com site tagged with metadata is from January 2009, however, the earliest post where I mention metadata – certainly not as a new concept by my use then – is in April 2005.

In that decade we’ve seen metadata grow in importance, particularly technical metadata that drives automation, and distribution metadata via EIDR. What we haven’t seen is much innovation in Content Metadata. Particularly little innovation – apart from my own efforts with prEdit and First Cuts – in using Content Metadata for organization and pre-editing. These are the things that interest me, so they form the focus of this site.

But I also feel there is a place for a central resource for information about production related metadata: what it is; how it can be used; and why it’s important to giving you an edge in the future.