There are, in fact, two things that excite me greatly about Adobe’s CS6 Production Premium: temporal XML metadata, and time associated metadata (which Adobe calls “disassociated metadata”). Together they are an exciting combination that has sent my head spinning with possibilities.
First, congratulations to the Adobe teams – CS 6 is a great package of new features and revisions. Premiere Pro CS 6 is where I spent most of my attention, along with the all new Adobe Prelude. I’m sure you’ll read and see a lot more about the new suite, and I encourage everyone to check it out at NAB – it’ll be worth your time. In many ways I’d suggest that Premiere Pro CS 6 is the closest that will be to a Final Cut Pro 8 that will never be.
Prelude excites me. Anything that encourages earlier entry of metadata or easier entry of metadata, is going to interest me. To me Prelude is a relatively simple tool for ingesting (with automatic generation of duplicate and/or proxy media), logging and building a simple one-track timeline. Prelude makes it very easy to add log notes and make selects while playing the material. No stopping to enter a log note. The exchange between controlling keyboard and entering keyboard has been intelligently handled.
The cool thing is that these selects and time-ranged log notes (somewhat like Keyword Ranges in FCP X) are carried in the file. This breaks new ground. Up until now we had the dichotomy of metadata in a media file and metadata in a project or bin file. There can be many clips that have different trims applied, with different log notes applied to each trim spanning different time ranges in the same media file.
Traditionally file based metadata, like XMP metadata, AVFoundation metadata, Dublin Core, etc. have been a single entry that spanned the entire clip. So the dichotomy: time-ranged metadata could only exist in the project, event or bin so each time the clip was imported to another bin, event or project, that metadata is lost (unless you copy it across to the new bin or project) as it was carried separately from the media itself.
Temporal XMP metadata breaks that barrier. Prelude is generating time-ranged metadata – the log notes and selects – and embedding it in the file, so when it’s read in by Premiere the selects are made and all the log notes available. Prelude can also generate a simple single-track edit, with all the log notes carrying through to Premiere Pro CS 6.
This is genius. Now combine it with the concept of time-associated metadata. At an Editor’s Lounge meeting a couple of years back I saw a demo of how Adobe Story scripts could be broken into shots automatically in OnLocation, then logged… without a direct connection to the camera! The logged notes were pointed to the media and OnLocation would merge the log notes based on the time of day of when the log note/take note was logged, because the same time of day stamp is in all modern digital file formats.
Adobe have moved those functions into Premiere Pro directly but expanded the concept of time associated metadata. If you hear Adobe talk about this at all they’ll likely call it disassociated metadata, because – as with OnLocation above – there’s not direct connection or association with a particular camera.
During an early preview of Prelude, Adobe also demonstrated an iPad “proof of concept” app that showed the potential of time associated (but disassociated from any camera) metadata. It was a tool for logging a soccer match (or football as most of the world calls it). Very visual – around the edge, images of players. In the middle a field laid out like a soccer field. Tap on the field and a pop-up listed actions that would be likely at that point. All logged against time.
Apparently, temporal XMP metadata can also be expressed in XML format, and that logging application’s output imported to Premiere Pro CS 6 and associated with the media: instant logging. Not only will the editor be able to search for “interference”, “goal”, or whatever else might make sense doing a highlights reel for the match, but also there is an amazingly rich set of metadata that will now travel with the media files unless deliberately stripped out. How perfect for Digital or Media Asset Management tools that only have to read in the metadata from the files (as most already do). Instead of only one set of metadata per file, they have the whole file mapped out over time.
This combination of ideas has been inspiring me for months. Some of it you can hear on Episode 43: The Trend to Reality TV of the Terence and Philip Show. I’ll be writing more later in the week on where it’s leading me.