Transmission metadata standard

by ekes

A first part of many about feeds.

The Transmission network, a group for sharing videos for social change, have been working on developing a free metadata standard for video interchange. Before this what there has been is tied to Yahoo! MRSS which one wouldn't call proactive in working with the community for growth and development of their standard.

So the Transmission folks have got some backing and come up with an XML standard for video metadata that in the docs (and in political free background) is linked to Atom. There's a working sort of beta version 0.9 on it's way to becoming a real 1.0 release.

I've implemented it for the video module for Drupal. An example atom feed with plenty of metadata. This requires the patch I committed to the Atom module to allow enclosures as well as additional namespaces.

The fact that no one has previously pushed a metadata standard for Atom, or moved the Yahoo! RSS namespace beyond it's stale position, is interesting. People who actually make and screen videos are crying out for this metadata. They will quickly list off what they want to be made available.

Yet, despite the user demand for metadata, I challenge you to find an implementation of MRSS that includes all of the metadata that it could make available. I really want to find them too, so let me know! (I now exclude Drupal sites with a video module after 16 March because my patch to make proper feeds with the metadata that is available was committed).

It's a shame too. Because the demand is already there from the video community end users. The MRSS standard doesn't seem to be too bad either, it fits a lot of the present videocasting requirements - there is much I feel the Transmission standard could learn from it there. However unlike the Transmission standard the Yahoo! one doesn't meet all the requirements of the present day video creator or user. Yet even with the rise of demand making the Yahoo! MRSS outline an XML standard or developing it with the community seems not to be happening, at the moment.

All that is happening with feeds is CMS developers are starting to develop feeds that actually include enclosures. This is essential as the interest in videocasting becomes greater - miro must have a lot to be praised for here. But the information and formats the video community really want and need is not there. If you actually look at the feeds produced quite often they don't even display how big the file is!

Part of the problem has to be that video related data is pretty complicated and there is quite a bit of it. How long has it taken me to get used to all the different codecs, framerates, and so forth - I'm still getting used to it?!

But that's no excuse. Why aren't Content Management Systems storing this information with videos if it is made available? Why aren't they discovering it if it's not available? Even your really non-demanding user wants to know the if 'the quality is any good' and if 'they can play this video'. It's not rocket science to do either... but I suspect that leads me to a future post...