Case Study: Creating an Over The Top platform
in one year...
The goal is to transfer the entire video library of a TV station into digital format within two years, in order to monetize it on various channels and Over The Top distribution platforms.
The TV station has stored over 130 titles on tape, comprising more than 14,000 episodes, each lasting at least 45 minutes. These titles include novelas, series, documentaries, and original movies that need to be digitized and made compatible with various digital distribution platforms such as YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, LeEco, and a new O.T.T. platform called Pongalo.
To achieve this, we need to create a reliable system that enables us to re-edit, perform quality control, and create metadata, keywords, descriptions, subtitles, closed captions, and artworks within a reasonable budget and timeframe.
We developed a workflow that operates similarly to a production line, where video files are processed in batches of 20 episodes per editor. The editors carry out editing tasks, such as replacing commercial breaks with updated intros and outros, enhancing graphics and sound quality, and deinterlacing the footage. Finally, the edited episodes are rendered in either MP4 or MPEG2 format, depending on the intended platform."
1. Project Management.
2. Graphic design, motion graphics and art direction.
6. Quality control.
8. File management. keycode and name conventions.
9. Traffic, acquisition, and delivery to different platforms.
10. Technical direction, render farm, and workflow.
We developed a process and turned it into a guide, which was written in Spanish to match the language of the content and the Latin American crew.
File management in app
File management in
drives and QC
Youtube End Card
Editing and Trasnsitions
After curating and performing quality control on the videos, we needed to follow the delivery requirements of each platform. Platforms like Hulu, Pongalo, YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, and Apple all have their unique quality control specifications and delivery requirements. These requirements include:
Artwork: This involves following specific naming conventions, dimensions, and file formats, which vary depending on the website.
Video Files: We had to follow specific naming conventions, choose between MPEG2 or MP4 format, set the correct aspect ratio, resolution, bitrate, duration, and ensure there were no sponsorships or copyright infringements.
Metadata: This includes adhering to specific naming conventions and providing details such as the movie name, director, year, synopsis, actors, awards, duration, FPS, aspect ratio, and more.
Subtitles: We had to ensure that subtitles were provided in the correct language, font size, and timecode and adhered to specific naming conventions.
Closed Captions: We had to ensure that closed captions were provided in the correct language, font size, and timecode and adhered to specific naming conventions.
Note that most of the content did not have artwork, subtitles, closed captions, or metadata. We had to create these items internally or outsource them.
We created this graphic to track our progress during the project. Initially, we were one or two days behind schedule (within the first year). Later on, we were able to make up time and became one or two days ahead of schedule.
We were able to finish the project earlier than our most optimistic assumptions.
Out of 40 tasks, I was accountable for 20.
Keeping track of production.
To ensure quality control on the large number of edited files, we edited them in batches of 40 episodes. For example, if a show had 130 episodes, we labeled them as "Name 1-40", "Name 41-80", and so on. We exported the Final Cut document in XLM format and developed an app that would create an Excel file from that format.
The Excel file would then be opened and would display a list of every edited episode, including the number of commercial breaks, duration, and metadata. This was a perfect way to ensure quality control by using the data, rather than relying solely on visual inspection.
Within a year, the company grew from just three people and two iMacs to 15 employees, several workstations, a render farm, and a dedicated fiber-optic uplink.
Originally, the project was meant to be produced by a company overseas. However, we found it faster and more cost-effective to produce everything in-house in Miami.