While there are many ways to dissect metadata for close examination, the structure that makes most sense for me is to divide into technical, content and distribution metadata.
Technical Metadata covers the range of information we get from the camera (generally). Not surprisingly, it is the technical information about the media file.
This includes the obvious technical information on Image size, Frame rate, Codec, etc. However, technical metadata goes beyond the obvious and – depending on the camera or source – can include focus, white balance, GPS, camera and lens serial numbers, and a lot more metadata than you would think necessary.
Technical Metadata is used to manage media and to automate operations. Technical Metadata applies to the entire media file and travels with, or within, the media file.
There is a deeper examination of Technical Metadata in the Gathering and Using Technical Metadata section.
Content Metadata is the part of the metadata spectrum that most excites me. This is information about what is in the media file. Once obvious by holding the film up to the light, metadata about the content of the media file is now how we understand what we have.
Content Metadata can be as concise as a Keyword or as verbose as a transcript. Content metadata is generally – for the moment at least – added by a human somewhere before editorial starts. I expect that future technology development will make it possible for software to add Content metadata, but we’re not there yet.
Content Metadata is a more modern – and fancier – name for Log Notes. Content Metadata can be represented by Keyword Ranges, Subclips or Markers and organized into Keyword Collections or Bins.
Content Metadata is what we use for organizing projects and getting a head start on editing.
Content Metadata is usually applied and managed within an NLE. Content Metadata generally does NOT travel with the file, but rather in the NLE’s Project file(s).
Content Metadata does not need to apply to an entire media file. It is more valuable when it is applied to content-based ‘selects’ or defined time ranges.
Distribution Metadata solves a problem most of us don’t have: tracking the distribution of finished programs through their many territories and variations. The industry solution is EIDR: Entertainment IDentifier Registry. It is a unique ID for every variation of every film and television episode ever made.
Because it is unique, the EIDR can be used by third parties – most notably ROVI – to add additional value for program guides by linking the program/episode ID to other data sources.