metadata

METADATA: Additional Fields?

Ok, so as a collective group of random recordists, sound editors & designers (& therefore metadata users) what fields are currently missing from the spec? Hang on, which spec? Well, I am going to suggest SoundMiner only because it is thus far definitive & the developers are responsive… If all we achieve is a bit of (informed) crowdsourced opinion then even thats valuable….

So here is the question:

If you’re tagging your files (eg recordings, samples etc) with metadata, what fields of data are currently missing? Which ones have you reached for, only to find they don’t exist?

Lets try & keep this platform agnostic, although inevitably a suggestion will require checking if the app you use supports it already – I use SoundMiner Pro so I’ll inevitably only ask for things it doesn’t already support…

My first additional field would be for GPS coordinates. I’d like to tag every recording with GPS, in some standardised format, so that I can use the field’s data with as many different apps & devices as possible eg from google maps and google earth through to a Navman (eg say you want to go visit the place in Indonesia where those amazing frogs was recorded…)
Is there a standard for GPS data?

Recording so many ambiences this year I almost wish there was a descriptive field for LOCATION (or is there already?)

I also wonder if there isn’t an advantage in having at least two timecode fields; one for duration 00:03:03:00, one for timestamp 01:13:10:00 (but would that also require a TC frame rate field? ARG it gets complicated fast….)

I also think there is still a need for timestamped markers within a file – remember Sound Designer 2 and its exportable playlists/region markers? So could that work as a series of metadata fields? Cue01: 00.00.20.15, Cue02: 00.00.30.15 etc but then you’d also want to name the markers = another field for marker name….

Hmmmmm……

Transferring Metadata

Following this thread on gearslutz got me thinking about a process that has always been painful for me i.e. transferring the metadata from one file to another. I have often dreamed of a drag & drop application that would copy the metadata from file 1 and add it to file 2. Little did I realise I already had an app for that! SoundMiner v4 Pro! Check this video out:

Note: this is a feature that only comes with the full SoundMiner v4 Pro

SM Mirror

Soundminer Filenaming Algorithm (from the SoundMiner manual)

A naming scheme is a powerful way to make specific character sequences either for files or regions based on the metadata in a record. For example when you transfer a sound effect to your DAW you may want the region name to include some information about sound effect that is specified in its Description field. Instead of re-entering that information when you spot the
effect, you could tell Soundminer to extract the information from that field and build the region name from that information. This is very useful for processing multiple records because each region name will be built from the fields in their respective records.

SM Naming
SM Naming

Note: this is a feature that only comes with the full SoundMiner v4 Pro

Do YOU use Metadata?

Ok, I’m sure you are a little overwhelmed with the amount of info in the last post. One of the side benefits of THE DOORS project was getting to know some of the individuals who read (& now contribute) to this site, so knowing what a hard working, talented & diverse crowd of people you all are, I have a question for you: Do you use Metadata?

While I’d like to dream that my own 4TB sound library is all perfectly tidy and tagged with exquisitely detailed metadata, the truth is quite different. So relatedly I’d like to hear anecdotal stories of what state your sound library is in? What library app do you use? How big is your library? What is it stored on? What is it backed up to? And do you actually use metadata?

Me:
My library is on 2 x 2TB G Tech RAIDs which are set to read only; anything I access off them gets copied to the 3 x 1TB internal work/project drives on my Mac Pro PT HD2 system. For backup, I have a clone copy on 2 x 2TB RAIDs at my home studio (PT LE w DV Toolkit) and I also have an offsite copy on raw 1TB drives.

I use SoundMiner Pro to access my library at work and AudioFinder at home (although I do plan to buy SoundMiner for home) Little of my library has metadata – one use for it I do pursue is that when I finish a film I tend to archive the final library sessions of that film back into my library, so eg for the film BOY I archived BOY Ambiences, BOY Foley and BOY FX. For easy access later & as a visual reminder, I search & find these folders (using a path search in SoundMiner) and then tag all those files with ‘BOY ambience’ or ‘BOY foley’ or ‘BOY FX’ into the description field. Sometimes the fastest way to find a file is to think of where it may have been used previously!

Funnily enough it was through starting HISSandaROAR that I investigated metadata, and I will pursue updating the rest of my library as time allows…. As.Time.Allows.

And you?

Metadata support in Sound Library Apps

Following on from previous posts about metadata, I have emailed the developer of each library app and asked the same questions of them, specifically:

Could you provide basic info for me as to how your application handles metadata?
– does it read iXML?
– does it write iXML?
– does it read BEXT?
– does it write BEXT?
– do you use your own custom metadata?
– can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
– can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?
– what fields of metadata do you support?
– can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

Now two comments:
1. If any readers know of Sound Library software that I have missed which should be included, please let me know in the comments – I did contact NetMix but have never had a response. I will update this post when/if I do.
2. Developers, if I have misquoted you at all please get in touch asap (using the email link over on the right) & I will update this post – I totally appreciate how much hard work is involved in developing and evolving these apps and it is very important to me that your work is represented fairly & as you wish. The implementation of metadata is an evolving area, and this post is a snapshot as per these apps now. If in future you wish to update any of your comments as new features are implemented, please also get in touch!

 

 

AudioFinder header

AudioFinderIced Audio – US$69.95 – OSX

“There are two market niches for metadata, one is overflowing with support and the other has been almost entirely ignored. Market one, the main one is sound designers for post production managing sound effects. This is primarily where all the apps are focused. This is not where AudioFinder is focused. The second potentially larger niche, but completely ignored is musicians managing sample libraries, this is AudioFinder’s focus.

AudioFinder’s Metadata is aimed at adding properties that are musically useful to people composing music. Most of the open standards like BEXT and IXML are focused on post-production and broadcast and don’t really offer anything useful to someone looking for sounds in a music project.

AudioFinder does not modify files – when people do processing actions in AF it always creates a new file. Therefore, AudioFinder keeps all the metadata users enter in an SQLite database. When the user enters metadata about a file, a new database entry for the file is created, and the file is finger printed, so if they move the file, the fingerprint will allow it to be reconnected to the metadata database.

The special part about the AF metadata implementation is that it’s open. SQLite is open source and an industry standard. There are plenty of little database utilities out there that can work on it. Anyone is invited to work with the AudioFinder metadata database.

Does AudioFinder read iXML?

Partially. It doesn’t read some of the custom sections.

Does AudioFinder write iXML?

No

Does AudioFinder read BEXT?

Yes

Does AudioFinder write BEXT?

No

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes, in the SQLite database

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

Yes, if they want to read the database, the format is open and not encrypted.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

A user can use an SQLite utility and export the database, into many formats.

What fields of metadata do you support?

Fields that are musically useful i.e. key, instrument, BPM etc…
please see the app for the complete listing.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No

 

 

Basehead header

BaseHead – US$289 – Windows & OSX

Does BaseHead read iXML?

We do but only from recorder files in which the BEXT is standardised.

Does BaseHead write iXML?

Not yet. We write aXML now and full support for iXML in Version 3.x

Does BaseHead read BEXT?

Yes

Does BaseHead write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes, we have a chunk called aXML that is the same as iXML but labeled differently so we can find it quick. Injector Pro writes this with indexes that we read in BaseHead. BaseHead also writes all changed descriptions to aXML and BEXT simultaneously since BEXT has a character limit of 256 – aXML is helpful for long descriptions and files with tons of indexes in one file.

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

It’s basic XML based so an other program can read it if they sat down for 10 minutes and coded it in.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

Not directly, but we invite any other sound library programs to read it since it’s only basic XML. We support only open standards and always will!

What fields of metadata do you support?

id
1 path
2 filename
3 description
4 start
5 length
6 hide_me
7 bitrate
8 channels
9 date_added
10 sample_rate
11 type
12 cd_title
13 artist
14 coding_history
15 original_date
16 originator_ref
17 originator
18 timecode
19 category_short
20 category
21 index
22 comment
23 episode
24 frame_rate
25 group
26 library
27 location
28 project_name
29 rating
30 tape
31 scene
32 snap_point
33 take
34 track_title
35 composer
36 designer
37 publisher
38 folder
39 genre

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

 Not directly, most users migrating metadata end up formating Excel sheets in a way that Injector Pro likes and then just burn the descriptions into the files permanently. Or use some SQLite tools to migrate data, but I suggest the first way since then the files have descriptions in them permanently.
 
Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

Not directly in BaseHead, but we use a SQLite database now and there are plenty of tools to read our non-encrypted database and export that to a Spreadsheet.

Added comments:

BaseHead can read: BEXT, iXML (limited), aXML, SNDM v3, NMIX, ID3, OGG

 

 

Library Monkey header

Library Monkey Pro – Monkey Tools – US$399 – OSX
Library Monkey – Monkey Tools – US$129 – OSX

Does it read iXML? Does it write iXML?

We do not currently support iXML read/write in our products.

Does it read BEXT? Does it write BEXT?

We support this where BWAV is supported

Do you use your own custom metadata?

We do not embed any custom metadata as we strive to support and be complient to industry standards. Our librarian products do provide custom fields which can be mapped to a formats metadata field.

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

N/A

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

In our Librarian software we provide 30 user fields that can be remapped on processing into the desired formats metadata.  

What fields of metadata do you support?

Library Monkey Pro metadata list
Library Monkey metadata list

AIFF
ID3 Tags v2.2, v2.3
Protools Metadata
Soundminer Metadata

FLAC
FLAC Comments

MP3
ID3 Tags v1.1, v2.2, v2.3

MPEG 4 Audio
MPEG 4 Metadata

OGG/FLAC
FLAC Comments

OGG/Vorbis
Vorbis Comments

Quicktime Movie
Quicktime Metadata
Quicktime User Data

Sound Designer II
Protools Metadata

WAVE/BWAVE
ID3 Tags v2.2, v2.3
Protools Metadata
Soundminer v3 Metadata
WAVE Info

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

In both Library Monkey and Library Monkey Pro you can use a tab-delimited file to import your data. This data is not embedded into the file until processed.

Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

Not currently

Added comment:

One feature that I think is important to note is the metadata remapping we provide in Library Monkey Pro and Sound Grinder Pro.  By control+clicking the metadata field in the processing section you can have metadata from one format mapped to a field in another.  For example, you can take the composer field in a MP3 file and move it to a different field in a bwav file.  This would then remap it automatically for all processed files.

 

 

Snapper header

Snapper – Audio Ease – US$79 – OSX

Does Snapper read iXML?

Snapper 1, the current version doesn’t. Snapper 2, which is in the works, will.

Does it write iXML?

No

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes, if appropriate info is available in the input file

Do you use your own custom metadata?

No

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

N/A

What fields of metadata do you support?

Everything that’s legible, that is, not in a custom format from field recorder or software. Most notably copyright tags, take numbers and time stamps.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No.

Can I export metadata to a spreadsheet?

No.

 

 

SoundMiner header

SoundMiner is available for OSX, Windows & Web platforms
SoundMiner PRO – US$899
SoundMiner – US$599 – OSX
MiniMiner – US$199 – OSX (metadata read only)

For comparison of functionality in versions, please see here

“Soundminer has been at the forefront of the metadata discussion for ten years.  We very early on realized and developed a specialized container for the purposes of holding expanded embedded metadata regardless of the file format. This was something no other products on the market at the time did.  We worked tirelessly with our user base and the content creators in creating both application support and tools that would allow for the distribution and ingestion of this metadata and compatible industry metadata. The Soundminer metawrapper was developed alongside ‘open’ containers so as to be as compatible as possible with industry standards, while allowing us to further develop our own metawrapper for use within our various aggregator products.

We have published a ‘whitepaper’ that details our position on metadata – please see here

Does SoundMiner read iXML?

Yes

Does it write iXML?

Yes

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

Yes

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?

Other applications can read the metadata we print to the open containers. Please see additional comments below with regards to our custom metadata.

Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

Any set of metadata fields in Soundminer can be exported as text

What fields of metadata do you support?

Not modifiable fields (hard attributes derived from the files themselves):
Filename – 255 characters (Both V3 and V4)
Pathname – limited only by system
File size – in bytes
File type – 4 character creator signature (ie. ,aif, .wav, .mp3)
Duration- minutes and seconds
Channels – mono(1), stereo(2), 3-8 channel surround.
Creation Date – date format
Modification Date – date format
Bit Depth – 16 or 24 bits
Sampling Rate – 44khz up to 192khz
Original time Stamp (allotted for future)
User Time Stamp (allotted for future)

Master Modifiable V4 metadata fields:
(these are the main fields which pertain to searchable metadata for most users)
Description – 1000 characters – (255 characters under V3)
Notes – (255 characters under V3 and V4)
Category – 62 characters (31 characters under V3) – used for OBJECTIVE Musical category. See accompanying addendum on Categories.
SubCategory – 62 characters additional category or genre information. See addendum for more info.
*Composer – 255 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the Composer(s) and should contain affiliation and percentage information. It must follow the following format (Composer first name, last name, affiliation, percentage and every Composer would be then separated by a or pipe – ie. Johan P., Smith, ASCAP, 50%|John G., Doe, BMI, 50%
*Publisher – 255 characters – name of the Publisher and should contain affiliation and percentage information. It must follow the following format (Publisher, affiliation, percentage and every Publisher would be then separated by a pipe – ie. MyMusicCo, ASCAP, 50%|YourMusicCo, BMI, 50%
FeaturedInstrument – 128 characters – a list of the main instruments featured in the piece of music.
CDTitle – 62 characters – title of the CD
CDDescription – 128 characters – a description of the contents or theme of the CD if applicable.
TrackTitle – 128 characters – name of the piece of music
Library – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)– name of the Library
Manufacturer – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the Manufacturer or Distributor or Author
Mood – 62 characters. An alternate field to place ‘Mood’ specific descriptors. Suggested: place these kinds of adjectives in your main Description field as well.
Usage – 62 characters. An alternate field to place categoric usage like ‘sports’, ‘documentary’, ‘human interest’. Suggested: place these kinds of adjectives in your main Description field as well.
Version 31 characters. An field to place version identifier. For example, you may have 4 versions of a track with the same name, but in here you could add things like ‘underscore’ ‘alt mix 1’, etc.
Volume – used to link files in the web portal grouping systems. If from a library series or batch, it could be identified here.
Lyrics – 1000 characters. Here you can add your lyrics. Use the ‘pipe’(|) character to separate your lines so it can be reformatted better for display inside the web portal or in the v4pro metadata pane.
Artist 62 characters. Use this field if using band material where the artist may be someone other than the Performer and or Composer.
Designer – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) name of the creator as in Sound Designer.
Source – 62 characters(31 characters under V3) – original CD source as in CD001:01:01 (CD/Track/Index). This is also a good place for a unique identifier.
Show – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)– usually the name o the Project the sound was designed for.
LongID – 62 characters (31 characters under V3) usually reserved alternate ID or as alternate for V3 systems that have no field dedicated for Track Title
Short ID – 31 characters(10 characters under V3) – reserved for shortened Category denominations as per our Music Categorization document.
Record Medium – 62 characters(16 characters in V3) – Originating Medium – DVD, CD, VHS, etc
Record Type – 62 characters(16 characters) – usually used for type of file – ie. Full Mix, Narration, Underscore, etc. Or used for original format…recording type – room tone, wild track.
Location – 128 characters (62 characters) – originator reference number. Perhaps a serial number or name that associates the file with a master file on your hard drive.
Microphone – 62 characters(31 characters under V3)- usually reserved for sound designers who like to note what microphone they used when recording a sound effect.
Arranger – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Conductor – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Performer – 128 characters(31 characters under V3)
Rating – (8 characters) Usually used to denote files
BPM – 31 characters(4 numeric characters under V3) used for tempo information
Editor comment – 255 characters (leave blank as it is used by the end user)
Keywords- 255 characters (leave blank as it is reserved for Soundminer’s internal search engine – use the description field for your keywords)
FXName – 128 characters – name of effect if applicable
Key – 15 characters. Musical key of file if applicable
Scene – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information
Take – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information
Tape – 31 characters – Project or Production specific information

Project level Metadata:
(In the Soundminer system, users can add a secondary level of data to copied files that contain Project specific notes and information. This level is purely for the copied file and does not reside in the original file.)
Region/Clip Name
EDIT – In time
EDIT – Out time
Reel – 10 characters
Footage – time specific
Scene – 10 characters
Scene Description – 31 characters
Supervisor Notes – 512 characters
Spot Date – date specific
FFOA – first frame of action
Version – version of the edit list
Title, Transfer path, Status, Type, Perspective – all film specific metadata used by the supervisor.
Destination filename – 255 characters

BWAV: (specific to the BWAV BEXT standard)
Description – 255 characters
OriginatorRef – 31 characters
Originator – 31 characters
Date – specific date format
Time – 00:00:00
Timestamp – numerical

Understanding the wrapper will help you maximize your metadata presence and use. V4pro allows you to combine different fields so you could maximize the limited space provided by the BWAV description container to hold ‘composer, publisher, CD source and a shortened description while naming the copied file by track title for example.

iXML
This standard was created primarily for field recording. It is useful however in that many applications are now adopting it and it can be used in a very modified way to hold information that is relevant to music as well (although it is not designed for such).
Version – lists the version of iXML the file used
Project – name of the project
Scene – film/project specific
Take – film/project specific
Tape – refers to the tape the file was originally recorded to but could be used for the CD source for example.
Note – Here is a good place for the description or combination of fields as in: category, description, composer, Publisher
UID – special unique identification number.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

Yes. Tab seperated text is necessary with headers to align the content into Soundminer’s field format.
SoundMiner can also import from CSV text sheet and Itunes XML.

Additional comments:
For the record, v4 data is encrypted because when we designed v3 for v3 aggregators we never thought others would backward engineer access to it for their own agenda and begin writing to it – sometimes incorrectly, thus causing issues in our aggregators.  v4 data is for Soundminer applications and are an entrenched part of enterprise solutions in many different markets.  We cannot risk having other companies applications adversely affecting our client’s systems.

 

 

TwistedWave header

Twisted Wave – OSX – US$79.90

Does it read iXML?

No

Does it write iXML?

No

Does it read BEXT?

Yes

Does it write BEXT?

Yes

Do you use your own custom metadata?

No

Can your custom metadata be read by other programs?
Can your custom metadata be exported for use in other programs?

N/A

What fields of metadata do you support?

TwistedWave supports Soundminer v3 tags, BEXT metadata, and the usual title, album, artist, year, genre, artwork found in id3 tags and in FLAC files.

Can I import metadata from a spreadsheet? what formats are supported?

No

Additional comments:

TwistedWave is still young, and I will certainly consider improving metadata support in the future.