HITS Spring: Metadata-Based Tagging a Boon for Studios, 5th Kind CEO Says

Shifting a studio’s strategy to metadata-based tagging can empower its security, as well as provide it with unprecedented control and allow the studio to monetize its archive like it’s 2099, according to Steve Cronan, CEO and founder of 5th Kind, a Culver City, Calif.-based company that provides secure digital asset management.

“Why do we spend all this energy on trying to create folder structures and conventions and taxonomies and tag data and all the rest of it?” he asked rhetorically May 23, at the start of a breakout session called “The Metadata Endgame: What is Studio Asset Management?” at the annual HITS Spring event.

“It’s so we can make our lives easier,” he quickly said in response to his question, adding: “We want to find information. We want to share information. We want to be in a collaborative space. We want to make sure that you’re not working on the wrong files, so we’re not wasting time…or building the wrong product or dropping the wrong model in a trailer.”

It’s crucial that we’re “getting access to the right information” and see the legal or creative status of a file if we need to, he said, adding there’s “a lot of different systems” within an organization and “a lot of fragmentation that comes with having many different systems that you now need to integrate.” There’s also the need to keep it all secure, he noted, pointing out that the large number of systems “increase the chance of risk because now you’ve got multiple entry points that are affected.”

In addition, “we’re seeing a lot of what we call system fatigue,” he said, explaining that people who work at a studio are often left to ponder “which system do I log into to find that file again, and am I going to have enough searchability to actually find it?” As a result, “there’s a lot of frustration we’re seeing now with many, many different systems,” he told attendees.

So, what’s necessary now is a system to “unify every piece of data and every single file across your whole organization,” he said. While doing that, however, “we’ve got to be really responsible for the creative process, so we can’t just throw a whole bunch of technology at it and think it’s going to solve itself,” he stressed, adding: “We need to be able to engage the different types of users in different roles.” And “if we can get the creator engaged in ingesting, then it’s going to be even more enriched with accurate information and additional information,” he noted.

Cronan went on to explain how a digital asset management system like 5th Kind’s can be used to “adjust the user experience,” select who is approved to access a file or edit it and “make it more effective to collaborate.” He also showed how artificial intelligence can be used to enhance the capabilities.

Summing the presentation up, he told attendees: “What it comes down to is getting consistency around how you organize your information,” and 5th Kind’s system enables a studio to do that, while “leveraging data to control who can see what” based on their role within the organization.

HITS Spring was presented by Entertainment Partners, with sponsorship by LiveTiles, 5th Kind, Amazon Web Services, Birlasoft, Exactuals, Expert System, MarkLogic, Microsoft Azure, Richey May Technology Solutions, SoftServe, Spark Digital, Avanade, CDSA, Cinelytic, EIDR, MicroStrategy, Signiant, the Trusted Partner Network, human-I-T, and Zaszou IT Consulting.

The event was produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS), in association with Women in Technology: Hollywood (WiTH); the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA); and the Smart Content Council.

To listen to audio of the 5th Kind presentation, click here.