Metadata is better data: The Benefits of Metadata and Keywording

The purpose of this series is to provide useful 360˚ video top tips to teach you how to shoot in this immersive, user-controlled format to the best of your ability. 360˚ video and user-controlled content creators can apply these tips and tricks to any future productions. In Episode six of our ‘360˚ Video Top Tips’ series we discuss the benefits of metadata and keywording, and talk through certain keywording best practices which will help you increase your chances of securing more 360˚ video licensing deals.

What is Metadata?

For those who are unsure, metadata in essence is data which describes other data. In other words, metadata summarises basic information about data, which can make finding and working with certain instances of data easier. Author, ‘date created’, file size, web page description, and keyword tags (or meta tags) are therefore all examples of metadata.

The Benefits of Metadata and Keywording

There’s so much to think about when creating great 360˚ content, but the hard work shouldn’t stop when the rendering finishes. Keywording, or ‘tagging’, videos may seem about as exciting a task as tax returns, but it should be a crucial stage of any 360˚ video creators’ workflow. Here’s why.

The Blend Media library is constantly growing, making it even more important for you, as top 360˚ video creators, to use all of the tools available to you in order to maximise the searchability of your content for potential clients. By no means should you tag your videos with every keyword under the sun in order to be found in every instance; it’s about using the process of keywording to identify the most important, or even unique, aspects of the 360˚ video you are keywording.

There are certain types of keywords that we want to encourage creators to add to their 360˚ videos; particularly when keywords can be added while videos are being uploaded to the platform.

Keywording: Location

Location keywords are great examples of metadata. Requests for content based on location are common; in fact, it is expected that 360˚ videos have a location attached to them. Imagine missing out on a licensing deal simply because you didn’t indicate the location of a video! You, the creators, have the most knowledge about where your videos were taken and are in the best position to give us the keywords relating to the 360˚ videos’ locations, starting from city and working backwards to continent.

Keywording: Date

With cranes towering in the skies of London, it’s hard to know what London’s skyline will look like in a few years’ time. Therefore, adding the month and year in which a video was taken in the keywords, could give a client a better idea of the video’s content particularly when the end user needs to use the clip in some editorial or historical context.

Keywording: Descriptive

Locations and dates are important, but we need to know exactly what’s going on in the video. Try and give our professional keyworders an idea of how to maximise the searchability of a video by describing what you see in it e.g. “beach”, “palm trees”, “skyscrapers”, “hot air balloon” etc.

Watch the 360˚ video below by Blend Media creator, James Donald. Put your keywording hat on and think about what descriptive keywords would be suitable to add as metadata to this 360˚ video.

Hopefully some of the following descriptive keywords came to mind: ‘underwater’, ‘manta ray’, ‘scuba’, ‘scuba diving’, ‘animals’, ‘nature’, ‘swimming’, ‘ecosystem’, ‘sea’. These are all examples of metadata which will increase your searchability.

Keywording: Conceptual

When potential clients visit the Blend Media site, they may not know exactly what they are searching for until they find it and when people search for something that they’re not sure what it is, they use concepts, ideas, feelings or emotions. That’s where conceptual keywords such as ‘togetherness’, ‘love’ and ‘adventure’, come in. Let’s say a client is looking for videos symbolising ‘togetherness’, they might be looking for anything from a family of elephants walking in the plains of Africa together, to a couple holding hands on the beach. In attaching conceptual keywords to a video, we’re presenting potential customers with a variety of videos based on the mood, idea, or emotion they would like to capture.

Watch the 360˚ video below, by Blend creator Corey Petrick, and see which conceptual keywords would be appropriate to add as great examples of metadata.

If you got keywords such as: ‘challenge’, ‘adventure’, inspirational’, ‘exploration’, ‘adventure’, and ‘achievement’, then you’re heading in the right direction.

Keywording: Technical

Why are we all here? For 360° videos and user-controlled content of course! Our keyworders will always attach keywords relating the 360 VR medium to each video that goes into the library. However, if there’s anything noteworthy about the way your video has been shot, show it off and attach some keywords relating to it.

Technical keywords may include: ‘8K’, ‘slow motion’, timelapse’, ‘hyperlapse’, ‘aerial shot’, ‘birds eye view’, and ‘drone’.

What technical keywords could you apply to the below 360˚ video by Blend Media creator, Alfonso Boneto Pastor?

Keywords are great examples of metadata that help you increase your searchability, and therefore it is more likely that a potential client find exactly what they are looking for. However, it goes without saying, it doesn’t stop at keywording.

Although we have great visual previews of our videos (thumbnails), video titles are as good a preview for what to expect in the video too. Imagine a shop that doesn’t have the names of items, but simply the item number, or barcode. Now, imagine the Blend Media library full of videos with their original file names. The two scenarios are not much different. In light of this, we want to encourage our creators to give their videos descriptive titles, with locations.

So, how can we help you increase your chances of securing more 360˚ video licensing deals?

Having gone through the examples of metadata and keyword types, we’d like to set you a little keywording challenge. In each 360˚ video upload, try to include at least ten keywords including locations, dates, descriptive keywords, conceptual keywords, and technical keywords. Don’t forget to add a descriptive title for each video you upload too, with date and location. In doing this, you’re helping us help you to secure licensing deals for your user-controlled content.

Always remember, metadata is better data!