This document highlights the purpose and importance of adhering to the Sony Music Video (SME) Submission Guidelines and explains the negative affects in submission of masters in formats outside the requested specifications
Global Media Production (GMP) performs QC and registration of video masters to SME’s asset management system . Through this process, any technical, quality or compliance issues with the source video, which may affect the video and deliverability to Digital Service Providers (DSP), are reported back to the affiliate/label.
SME’s Video Submission Guidelines
The Video Submission Guidelines as published and distributed by Sony Music Global Media Production and Sony Music Business is intended as a guideline to ensure production standards are maintained and videos can be delivered to DSPs in the highest quality. Additionally these guidelines ensure quality requirements and content standards are met for all outlets.
Sony Music’s Shortform Video Supply Chain
AOMA, for Asset Offering Management Application, is a digital library or asset repository of master quality media files. From these master files automated conversions are made and delivered to any partner specification.
The AOMA process allows for a single master quality asset ingestion resulting in many outputs. With this in mind it’s important to ensure the best possible file is registered into AOMA.
A Master file is one which is leveraged for archiving, duplication, and creation of subsequent versions.
The assets stored in AOMA are considered master files. With this in mind it’s important to ensure the best possible file is registered into AOMA. Good files in = Good files out.
Non-compliant Codecs and Formats
When non-compliant sources are delivered to Media Production the result is often added effort/time to process.
Media Production must work with non-profiled formats and codecs to make them AOMA Master assets. This often involves a subsequent conversion and trouble shooting to ensure the highest quality output from the provided asset. In some rare cases an asset could be submitted in a codec not readable by the Media Production toolset and extra time and effort is spent in troubleshooting. Finally, other assets such as uncompressed can result in increased render time and affect speed to market.
End Use File Submissions
End use submissions such as those in the h.264 codec are frequently submitted for registration. Many of these end use formats are considered “lossy.” The benefit to h.264 is that it retains a high-quality image while keeping file size small, when coming from a master or mezzanine source. Despite h264’s ability to retain good image quality it is not an appropriate mezzanine format for archiving and re-encoding.
The way in which codecs divide, calculate, and process a frame of pixels can have a major impact on how quality is retained from a secondary transcode.
End use file submissions force Media Production to “up-convert” the asset to a registrable format, increasing the size of the file but doing nothing to increase quality. The end use file may then be transcoded multiple times before its final destination, at each point of transcode introducing more risk of a critical error affecting quality of the product.
More information on lossy compression can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lossy_compression
Natively Produced Lossy Content
Some content is shot, edited and delivered all in what is potentially considered lossy compression or end use codecs. It is okay for content to be delivered in these formats.
The “Submission Guidelines” are just guidelines, not hard and fast rules. But also keep in mind the best practices, something shot in h.264 doesn’t mean it will be edited in h.264. It’s the edit master that’s ideally needed for registration purposes. If it is known that a master falls outside of SME guidelines please communicate to Media Production to address or approve this issue. Codecs like h264, or frame rate converted materials, can result in excessive macro-blocking errors on subsequent transcodes.
We have aligned with both SME’s and the Partner’s best interest in following these prescribed procedures.
The above images demonstrate macro block and compression errors.
Preventing or discouraging certain lossy compression codecs is not intended to prevent content from going out. It is intended to encourage the highest quality output. If a source is natively H264 and intended for streaming partners and not Select Partners who require higher standards, it will be processed and registered.
The submission guidelines exist to maintain quality, adhere to partner standards and promote efficiency in the supply chain.
AOMA registered assets for supply chain are Master Assets and should be of the highest quality possible.
Lossy compression assets like H264 are not desired, can affect the quality of the final product and render an asset non compliant for select partners.
If the best or highest quality asset available is H264 or another lossy codec, it is acceptable. These assets can be converted to AOMA specifications and registered with added effort. Please notify Media Production up-front when this is known allowing for quicker turn of the request, as GMP will not stop work to request a better quality source.
If at all possible compliant sources should be provided.