DECEMBER 9, 2020

How Newsrooms Can Reduce Friction Between Video Editing Tools

broadcast newsroom with multiple NLEs

Social media and digital distribution are increasingly vital in the broadcast news workflow. Digital teams are giving ever-larger digital audiences access to video news that used to only transmit over the air. There's one problem, though: broadcast and digital teams often use different video editing tools. This can result in disjointed workflows, duplicated efforts, and a dispiriting amount of lost time—in a word, friction. Lots and lots of friction.

The most obvious way to smooth this friction is to have everyone use the same NLE. But that just isn't an option for many newsrooms; different personnel have different comfort levels with different video editing tools. Learning the quirks of a new NLE requires time and effort that many teams simply don't have at their fingertips.

The key to bridging this gap is feeding various NLEs into the same central asset manager. This way, everyone has access to the same assets (including sequences, projects, and folders), and even the same workflows, as long as your NLEs and asset manager support open integration.

Teams can prioritize these other features to reduce friction across multi-NLE workflows:

Shared Storage

Shared storage is a basic requirement if your broadcast and digital teams use different NLEs. To streamline your digital asset management, everyone at least needs access to the same central servers for online, nearline, and archive storage.

We've discussed storage needs for newsrooms before. The added wrinkle here is that this shared storage needs to be able to connect to multiple NLEs. For instance, if the broadcast and digital team are building out a package across linear, digital, and social, each team member can dip into the same footage—but still work within their own editing software. The ability to tap into shared storage from anywhere, for whatever editing platform you may have, is even more important as more workflows go remote.

Project Templates

The ability to create templates for projects from within your asset manager can address a host of challenges, from reinforcing organization-wide media management practices to jumpstarting new projects, no matter what editing tools a given team is using. You can save templates with a common file and bin structure across different teams, or tweak it for each team's preference. Saving these templates in a central asset manager will make it easy for assistants to prep projects for any team, without needing a seat in that team's actual editing software.

Standard Metadata and Naming Conventions

Newsroom-wide file naming conventions are table stakes at this point, and yet they do still sometimes fall by the wayside. It's best to create a single standard naming convention for both the broadcast and digital teams.

Metadata is another element of digital asset management that, considering how vital it is, can easily go awry in a busy newsroom. After all, so much footage is ingested every day in a 24/7 news cycle. Don't discount the human element in all this. To ensure that input is being done properly in the first place, standardize or even pre-populate metadata tags to ensure consistency and make metadata population as easy as possible—but don't neglect a regular audit to ensure your tagging standards continue to meet the teams' needs.

If all this metadata goes in one NLE, though, and that metadata doesn't update on a central server, it won't help the team that needs to find that footage. The technological component here is crucial: the metadata must update seamlessly across all platforms.

Robust Search Capabilities

Even with standardized naming conventions and updated metadata across both NLEs, search capabilities still need to go further, leaning on automation and AI when possible.

Picture this: Your social media video team is trying to find a specific sound bite to promote a high-profile interview. The broadcast team has been using its own NLE to edit the segment with this interview, and pieces of it with similar metadata and file names are in shared storage.

With the proper search capabilities, your social video editor won't have to spend time going through each of these files manually. Instead, they can use the asset manager's phonetic search functionality to find the desired portion of the interview. Or, perhaps an editor is working on a breaking news segment. A member of the digital team can see the updating files even if the project file is being worked on in a different NLE.

Broadcast newsrooms face enough friction within the 24-hour news cycle. A centralized asset manager can add some zen to your workflows while keeping your assets secure, providing data protection and automated backups rather than leaving the assets vulnerable across software. No one's doubting the heavy lift that goes into switching NLEs, so look for an asset management system that can let everyone stay within their editing software comfort zone.

  • Oriana Schwindt Headshot

    Oriana Schwindt is a freelance writer based in New York. She primarily covers the TV industry, dabbling also in travel and culture.

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