The Media Workflow Puzzle : How It All Fits Together book cover
1st Edition

The Media Workflow Puzzle
How It All Fits Together

ISBN 9780815392903
Published March 18, 2021 by Routledge
272 Pages

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Book Description

This edited collection brings together a team of top industry experts to provide a comprehensive look at the entire media workflow from start to finish.

The Media Workflow Puzzle gives readers an in-depth overview of the workflow process, from production to distribution to archiving. Pulling from the expertise of twenty contributing authors and editors, the book covers topics including content production, postproduction systems, media asset management, content distribution, and archiving and preservation, offering the reader an understanding of all the various elements and processes that go into the media workflow ecosystem. It concludes with an exploration of the possibilities for the future of media workflows and the new opportunities it may bring.

Professionals and students alike looking to understand how to manage media content for its entire lifecycle will find this an invaluable resource.

Table of Contents






Revolution #1 – Television Enters the Scene

Revolution #2 – We Go Digital and Files Replace Physical Media

Revolution #3 – Multiplatform Distribution

Revolution #4 – Things Get Cloudy



The Types of Cameras and Their Uses

The Basics of Digital Cameras

The Implications of Camera Imaging Sensor Choice on System Requirements

The Various Forms of Color Coding & Color Spaces

What Does Gamma and Log Processing Mean?

What RAW Means and How to Digitally Process It

Compressed File Systems

Uncompressed File Systems

Common Camera Media Types

Common File Formats for Cameras

Common Production Formats

What Ingest Means and How to Organize It

Asset Management

On-set Grading


Sources and Types of Metadata

The Role of the DIT

The Role of the Data Wrangler

eXtensible Markup Language (XML)

Key XML Terminology

Cloud Impacts 



Post-Production in Detail


Technical Preparation

Post-Production Specific for TV

The End Game!

Dailies in More Depth


Different Editorial Groups

Visual Effects (VFX)

VFX in Pre-Production

VFX in Production

VFX in Post-Production


Sound Editorial



Soundtrack Versions

Audio Loudness for TV and the Home

Digital Intermediate


Image Fixing


Color Pre-Timing and Reference Look

Mastering and Versioning Preparation

Mastering and Versioning

Mastering and Versioning Applied to TV Documentary

Titling, Captions, Subtitles, and Alternate Takes

Title Sequences

Captioning and Subtitling

Alternate Takes

Quality Control (QC)

QC for Theatrical Delivery

QC for Television

Compliance QC for Television Delivery

Content QC

Area for TV Immersive Audio QC

QC Database of QC Items

Photosensitive Epilepsy (PSE)

Sound Audibility for Television


The Future of Post-Production

Bonus Content

Special Section 1: Color Pipeline

Special Section 2: High Dynamic Range

Special Section 3: Visual Effects

Managing Your Media Assets and Workflows

Content Identification and its own metadata


Content Identification for Programs

Business Systems

DAM/MAM Systems

Programming Workflow

Media Planning and Promotion in Linear Network and Broadcast Television


Master Control Automation / Playback

How BXF Can Help

Quality Control

Annex A: Classification of QC checks

The Interoperable Master Format

Implications of IMF for Asset Management and Workflows

The Business Case for IMF

Automating Workflows

Cloud Impacts

Distribution to the Viewer

History and Evolution of Broadcast Networks and Stations

Modern Broadcast Networks and Stations

History and Evolution of Cable Systems and Cable Channels

Traditional Cable Systems and Cable Channels

History and Evolution of Satellite Television

Modern Satellite Television Systems

History and Evolution of Internet Video and OTT Services

Modern Internet Video and OTT Services

Modern Cable Systems

History and Evolution of Pre-Recorded Media

History and Evolution of Digital Cinema

Modern Digital Cinema Workflows



Stereo Picture

Captions and Subtitles

Auxiliary Data

Other Unique Formats

Creating the Digital Cinema Package (DCP)

MXF Wrapping and Encryption

Composition Play List (CPL)

Asset Map, Volume Index, and Packing List

Key Delivery Message (KDM)


Theater Storage and Projection

Theater Management Systems (TMS)

Showtime Projection

Projector Types

Summary – The Impact of Distribution Systems on Production Workflows

Wrapup – Content Delivery to Multiple Distribution Systems

Archive and Preservation


Why Digital Archive




Libraries, Repositories, and Archives

Digital Library

Digital Repository and Digital Archive


Library and Archive Science

Forever Is a Long Time

What Is an Asset?

Asset Value

The Asset Construct

Technical Metadata

Connecting Metadata and Essence

Data Scale

Enterprise and Broadcast Technology Collide


Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM)

Content Storage Management (CSM) and Active Archive

Software Defined Archive (SDA)

Build Versus Buy

Storage Technology

Solid State

Hard Drives

Optical Disc

Data Tape

Public Cloud Services

Future Technologies

Storage Classifications

Tier 0 Storage

Tier 1 Storage

Tier 2 Storage

Tier 3 Storage

Tier 4 Storage

Storage Tier Summary

The Anatomy of a Digital Archive

Storage Abstraction

Storage Orchestration

Archive Maintenance

Asset Integrity

Connecting the Bits and Pieces

Archive Transformation and Modernization

Standards-Based Digital Asset Protection

Archive eXchange Format (AXF)


A Closer Look

AXF Structures

Inside an AXF Object

History of AXF


Looking Ahead

Looking Deep into the Future: Al Kovalick

The Granddaddy of Exponential Laws in Electronics

The Power of the Exponential

The Evolution of Infrastructure Elements

Software Powers Media Workflows

Networking Capability and Performance

Infrastructure Rides the Exponential

The Analog and Digital S-Curves

The COTS/IP S-Curve

The SDMI S-Curve

The Public Cloud S-Curve

Contemporaneous S-Curves

Final Words

The Future Is Real

The Future is Real

Glossary of Terms



View More



Chris Lennon is President and CEO of MediAnswers, a trusted advisor to the cream of the crop of media companies worldwide. He has over 30 years of experience in the media business, leading large projects on every continent except for Antarctica. He has held a variety of leadership positions in the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), including Standards Director, Local Section Manager, Technology Committee Chair, and others. He is a SMPTE Fellow and recipient of SMPTE’s 2008 Citation. He is known as a thought leader, with a reputation built on not only working with the world’s leading media organizations, but his leadership of several leading-edge industry efforts in many diverse areas, like BXF, NABA/DPP Content Delivery Specs, PMCP, 3DTV, OBID Audience Measurement, Multilink SDI using CWDM, microservices in media, and many more.

He also serves as Executive Director of the Open Services Alliance, a global industry organization focused on interoperability among microservice-oriented media systems.

In his spare time, he is a championship winning race car driver, author, and high-performance driving coach, and runs Winding Road Adventures.

For more details on MediAnswers, its clients, and Chris’s team, please visit For more details on the Open Services Alliance, please visit



Clyde Smith is a Retired Former Senior Vice President, Advanced Technology for FOX Network Engineering and Operations, where he supported Broadcast and Cable Networks operating groups in addressing their challenges with technologies, standards, and regulations.

Previously, he was SVP of Global Broadcast Technology and Standards for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In this capacity, Smith was responsible for the strategic development and planning of new technology in addition to the operational transition of media from production to broadcast to air. Smith’s broad knowledge of operational and technical systems and hands-on experience developing processes for integrating operational facilities from the ground up were vital to the Turner Entertainment Group’s continuing expansion.

Prior positions include SVP of Broadcast Engineering Research and Development at Turner and SVP & CTO at Speer Communications where he managed operations of one of the nation’s first all-digital facilities.

He worked for 8 years in communications design and development engineering at the Kennedy Space Center where he supported 48 shuttle missions, three interplanetary probes, and numerous Department of Defense initiatives.

Smith supported initiatives that were recognized by The Computer World Honors program with the 2005, 21st Century Achievement Award and an Emmy Award for Pioneering Efforts in the Development of Automated, Server-Based Closed Captioning Systems.

Smith is a frequent speaker and honored guest at meetings for SMPTE, NAB, and SBE. He served 15 years as an SMPTE Governor; he also served as a Standards Chairman and Secretary/Treasurer of the SMPTE. He also was program chair for four SMPTE advance-imaging conferences. He has often presented and published research and technology papers that he has authored or co-authored in industry magazines and at industry conferences including CES, NAB, Hollywood Professional Alliance Tech Retreats, Storage Networking World, Storage Visions, VidTrans, IBC, SMPTE, SPIE, UFVA, and SBE.

He is an SMPTE Fellow and recipient of the SMPTE Progress Medal, SMPTE David Sarnoff Medal Award, and the SMPTE Outstanding Service Award as well as The Broadcasting and Cable Technology Leadership award and the Storage Visions’ Storage Industry Service Award. He is a recipient of the North American Broadcasters Association International Achievement Award and an Honorary Member of the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers (IABM).


"This a 4-year college class and 10-year internship rolled into one!"

Mark Seigle, Industry Executive

"This is an absolute must-read and a necessary resource for any media executive, educator, or student wanting to have a comprehensive understanding of the myriad of descriptions, issues, and impacts on a variety of technical elements and management perspectives focusing on the workflow involved in the production, post-production, distribution, asset management, and archiving of media content. What Chris Lennon and Clyde Smith (two of the most knowledgeable experts in the world on this topic) have done here in their book is to put all of these pieces of the media workflow puzzle together in one place, providing a most intriguing assembly of topics and knowledge that covers this rapidly evolving terrain with tremendous insight and clarity.

Dr. Corey P. Carbonara, Professor, Department of Film and Digital Media, Baylor University

"Media Workflow is a complex and nuanced area. Chris Lennon and Clyde Smith have compiled a deep look at the component parts of this area and give the reader tremendous context into how the pieces fit together with brilliant business context."

Harold S. Geller, Executive Director, Ad-ID LLC.


"A great overview of workflows in the media industry. Gives a

great foundation about how and why TV and film technologies got this point, how they operate, where they come together, and it also provides a good look at where the industry may be headed in the future. This is a great read for college students, people entering the media business, and for those people like me who are working in the entertainment business.

Tom Kline, Sr. Director of Program Standards, a major US network


"Nothing else in this world compares to electronic media workflow. The machinery, tools, and processes are constantly evolving and the capabilities constantly increasing. This book follows the evolution from those simple signal flows to virtualization and abstraction. There are plenty of takeaways. Plenty of, 'so this is why we do it this way' moments. I think fortunately, for our own enjoyment of electronic media entertainment and education, we all fail to properly appreciate workflow as a result of overfamiliarity. At least for the time one is reading this book we can admire the elegance and enchanting mechanisms that step-after-step make up what we all, even us workflow wonks, take for granted. It’s a good read. It makes you stop and think 'What if we did this differently?' The creative part of electronic media isn’t just the content – this book captures that. Fred Baumgartner, Director NextGen TV Implementation, ONEMedia 3.0 / Sinclair Broadcasting


"A 'must read' for both experts and non-experts in both cinema and TV technology."

Pierre Maillat, Canal Plus

experts and non-experts in both cinema and TV technology - Pierre Maillat, Canal Plus