Norwegian public broadcaster NRK has launched a proof-of-concept project pioneering a new cloud-based automated production tool. 


Sony: NRK’s Trond Ramberg is wrangling metadata in the cloud

It will refine the production process by removing the duplication of metadata entry, combined with automated content management. The toolset, codenamed Metadata Wrangler, has already successfully increased production efficiency and reduced costs during production of a primetime cookery show.

It uses a direct upload of a proxy version of recordings to Sony’s Ci cloud service for immediate access and review, rather than handling content upload later in the process. This ensures staff not at the shoot location have quick and easy access to new content, so they can concentrate on the creative process, rather than the technical process of handling content upload from cameras.

Metadata Wrangler is a micro-service addition to the Ci Media Cloud and automatically connects files (in this case proxy files) from connected cameras with existing pre-production metadata sourced from production planning. Incoming files are identified, populated with metadata and placed in the appropriate cloud folders, making them easily searchable by editors and production staff. Developed and refined during production of Kokkeliv (a Chef’s Life), a seasonal cookery show featuring famous chefs, NRK and Sony refined iterations of the service for each season across a 12-month period.

“We are constantly working on streamlining and simplifying our post-production workflow and seeking the right tools that support our strategy of delivering high-quality TV series with limited technical resources. This pilot gives valuable insights to both sides and we appreciate the opportunity to discuss our ideas and what to expect from the market when it comes to meeting our challenges,” said Trond Ramberg, NRK’s technology supervisor – postproduction workflow.

“For us, transferring proxy versions of captured footage directly from the camera to a server or cloud service has shown a great production value. This combined with an early metadata harvest and preservation all the way to the editing stage is an important measure for efficient media management. If solved, this has the potential to become a game-changer for the industry”

Developed at Sony’s European headquarters, Metadata Wrangler is built to work on the Ci Media Cloud platform, a media-centric cloud environment with applications that offer media companies with remote teams the ability to leverage the scalability and availability of the cloud to streamline production, editorial and delivery workflows. Ci’s growing portfolio of REST APIs supports seamless integration with existing workflows to cost-effectively leverage the scalability and resiliency of the cloud.

“To pilot Metadata Wrangler we needed the right type of customer that was willing to work alongside us to bring the product to life. NRK’s opportunistic outlook and pioneering technological spirit provided the perfect partnership for the product’s development. We remain encouraged by its progress during the production of NRK’s cookery programme and the opportunity it brings for its wider future rollout,” said Claus Pfeifer, head of connected content acquisition, media solutions, Sony Professional Solutions Europe.

Metadata Wrangler is still under development and plans for future commercialisation will be announced at a later date.

Meanwhile, in other cloud-related news, Serbian commercial broadcaster, Pink TV is optimising its news production with Sony’s XDCAM air cloud-based workflow service. This will provide a fast and flexible bridge for content sent between the station’s field-based camcorders and its broadcast studio network.

It integrates with Pink TV’s existing Sony PXW-X200 and PXW-Z280 camcorders, allowing newsroom planning data to be sent directly to a connected camera with acquired footage tagged for easy location within the workflow. This enables news teams to retrieve files and images back in the studio as quickly as possible.

XDCAM air additionally facilitates live streaming direct from the camera to multiple locations such as Pink TV’s on-air servers and social media sites.