Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Gene Autry Museum, Los Angeles

Speaker - Daniel Rosen - Cinesite, Inc.

Metadata for Creative Intent

The Hollywood Section’s January meeting kicked off with the 1938 Warner Bros. musical short subject "Clyde McCoy and Orchestra in Jam Session", and a trailer for "Singin’ in the Rain", which will be the subject of our February meeting.

About 70 very attentive members and guests listened to Daniel Rosen, Chief Technology Officer for Cinesite, Inc., deliver an illustrated talk on "Metadata for Creative Intent".

The 45 minute lecture was followed by an equal length q & a session.

Here is a summary of Mr. Rosen’s presentation:

There is much activity in the media industry regarding metadata. Metadata is described as "data about data", but what does that really mean? Simply put, metadata is a set of attributes, or elements necessary to describe the resource in question. It captures important information so future users of the data can understand the details of collection and/or processing and it also serves as a record in search systems so that users can locate data sets of interests. There are basically three kinds of metadata – descriptive (intellectual), that describes the work in general (eg: title, subject, creator’s name, etc); structural – that describes the physical attributes of the data (eg: width and height of an image, color space, number of pages, etc); and administrative - that describes management attributes of the data (eg: rights holder name, owner, access tables, etc).

While the media industry has spent a good deal of effort defining these three categories of metadata and various mechanisms to encapsulate and transmit the metadata (such as MXF, AAF, DPX and others), the industry has not addressed the creation of metadata to describe the creative intent of the people who actually brought the work into being. Museums and art institutions worldwide have devoted significant energy into defining the "vocabularies" necessary to preserve creative intent within metadata. It is vitally important from a creative rights aspect as well as for the future preservation of our cultural heritage as embodied in our moving images, that the media industry (creative guilds/associations, hardware vendors and software vendors) come together to create such a scheme of creative intent metadata. Without such a scheme, our motion picture, video and other future moving image works will be changed in ways the creative visionaries never intended. It has already happed in the past (The Great Train Robbery; William S. Porter’s ground breaking one reeler from 1903 exists in equal numbers with the famous red hand-tinted "shooting the audience" scene at the beginning of the film as at the end), it is happening now and it will happen in the future if a vocabulary and process methodology is not developed, standardized and implemented.