France Télévisions recently hosted a seminar on the transition to file-based production, which the media industry is currently going through. A combination of presentations and panel sessions covered technical, human and training aspects of 'going file-based'. One example discussed in detail was the need to carefully manage production metadata from the shooting stage all through the production chain. For high-value, film-style programmes, artistic choices related to colour, for example, can be influenced all along the path from camera to play-out. Checking and correcting the material systematically thus is essential.
But 'file-based' does not mean problems per se. As Bruno Tézenas Du Montcel (France 24) remarked: "100% file-based = 0% problems." The problem is NOT going file-based in itself, but the transition stage. Many organizations find themselves for a number of years in a mixed-mode operation, combining traditional media, such as cassettes, with state-of-the-art production means. Projects to completely phase out the traditional practices easily can take multiple years to complete. According to Benoît Balon-Perrin (RTBF), staff involvement, training, extensive systems testing, and especially patience, are the key ingredients for a successful transition to file-based workflows. And although journalists may lose some autonomy, this is compensated for by a gain in speed and efficiency. In the case of RTBF this led to the creation of an extra journalist position, without needing to hire new staff! Another use case presented was that of ARTE, which developed its media asset management and worfklow systems in-house, using only four developers. The result is a system in which high-end production is completely integrated with the broadcaster's online activities. The secret to its success? Again: extensive involvement of and communication with the company's staff.
Matthieu Parmentier (France TV) speaking at the seminar.
At the upcoming EBU QC Workshop (7-8 November), one of the seminar's speakers, Matthieu Parmentier (France TV) will provide detailed insight into how the French broadcaster plans to deal with the Quality Control of externally produced material.