2020: A lesson in efficiency

07th October 2020

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For years conservationists have implored the production industry to address the environmental impact that our activities have on the planet.  Now, in the midst of a pandemic, it seems like we’re finally embracing the principles of “reuse, repurpose and recycle’ – but not in the way you might expect.  As lockdowns and social distancing rules restrict the type and volume of new content available, broadcasters and networks are turning to reruns, repurposed programming and localised content to fill their schedules.  But most of our workflows have been designed around creating new content rather than maximising the value of the material we already have, and our processes are fraught with duplicated effort and inefficiency.  

For example, content preparation for original broadcast, access services and versioning are treated as separate workflows, each managed by different stakeholders who are independently responsible for creating whatever materials they need.  So, when production companies deliver original programme information to the primary broadcaster, they provide a Post Production or As Broadcast Script as a Word document – a single-purpose format.  If we produced these scripts as XML instead, we could repurpose their data into the various other documents and reports needed throughout the content supply chain.  With metadata in an XML file, we can convert the Post Production script from a single-purpose document into the blueprint for localisation, access services and content discovery.  

Transcripts as data

Automation and artificial intelligence technologies can also be used to create more efficient workflows but incorporating these tools will mean redefining some traditional roles.  For instance, automatic speech recognition has the potential to fundamentally change how we produce broadcast transcriptions and captions.  Machine-generated transcriptions don’t generally meet the high-quality standards broadcast workflows demand, but improvements in the quality of ASR outputs have seen a growth in the adoption of this technology, particularly in generating subtitles for live and online video content.  Humans are still needed to edit ASR-generated transcripts or captions to bring them up to broadcast standards – which is driving a trend for traditional transcribers and captioners to retrain to become post-editors instead.      

Because Take 1’s transcription, access and localisation services are used across all stages of production and distribution, we’re uniquely positioned to help media and entertainment businesses identify and introduce efficiencies throughout the content supply chain.  To this end, we’ve developed a metadata platform, Liberty, which supports the production of XML-based scripts, TTML for captioning, and the re-purposing of this data to support the global content production and distribution process.  We also incorporate leading technologies into our systems and have developed a closed captioning workflow which combines ASR and segmentation tools with human talent to deliver a cost-effective and high-quality output.   

One of the lessons we hope that this pandemic teaches us is that great content, that everyone can access, can be produced much more efficiently; hopefully we already appreciate the importance of looking after our planet.              

Get in touch with our team today to find out more.