The development of the image sector, and, therefore, of multimedia requires urgent standardisation of the real time digital video format. For that purpose a study of user requirements must be carried out so that the standard will be adjusted to their needs and not only to the economical interests of the big world-wide hardware and software corporations.
For many years, the image treatment section has developed along with the advancement of video, television, advertising and cinema technologies. In fact, in the past, the big companies producing video hardware, have offered owner solutions so that the software developers developed for these platforms. Consequently, image production companies are obliged to invest in several platforms in order to be able to offer solutions to their clients. The solution is a standard for the real time digital video data format.
At present, the universe of users who adopted or will adopt a certain solution, conditions the possibilities of information exchange. Due to the appearance of multimedia, this sector is expanding significantly, and innumerable opportunities are emerging. This will be possible only insofar as a standardised system of manipulation and exchange in real time digital video format is established. In fact, each system has its own mechanism of information transfer and processing, with different control protocols, even when using the same support or physical norm. This must change urgently. With the emergence of the multimedia, image production companies are faced with programs developed for owner platforms, which makes processing and transmission of real time digital video files practically impossible. However, the standardisation of the real time digital video transmission format would allow any tool developed for any platform to interpret the image, and thus be universal. The objectives of the project are:
- Adopting the Standard by International Standardisation bodies.
- Obtaining a dissemination coverage of 70% of the target audience.
- Obtaining compromise from 80% of the largest users.
- A positive response from 700 users to the commitment letter.
- Have the largest hardware and software developers to include the standard in their future developments.
The workplan is divided into two main groups of workpackages. The first one regards technical aspects of the project. It will study the user's requirements through focus groups and questionnaires. The second one regards dissemination actions with the objective of enforcing such standard in future software developments and dissemination activities to hardware and software providers. The companies participating in the network are user companies, image providers to different advertising, television, video and multimedia sectors. At present, the search for these images is done by digital video, whenever the images are from their own data bank. If they must search in other image banks, they find the digital video files format have the owner structure of the platform on which they run, so that they can only be seen on these platforms or by their conversion to analogue video. That is, the possibility of processing and transmitting the file is lost, simply because there is no standard to guide the software developers in defining a universal format that would allow visualisation regardless of the platform on which the digital video system is based. The target audience is formed by the following European sectors: Television, Video and Film production companies, Advertising agencies, Stock Footage companies, and multimedia producers. The mechanisms used to implement the network are focus groups, questionnaires, reports, mailings with business reply envelopes.
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
In the first place, a very important saving in time, work effort and money for participants is achieved. The time saving is due to the possibility of image transmission by an electronic system. At present, this is done by couriers. The saving in work effort of converting images from one format to another. Nowadays, at best, the file conversion from one format to another is done by means of a bridge program, and at worst, by converting first to analogue video and afterwards reconverting to digital video in the new format. The economical saving is the most important, because at present participants must be technologically equipped to be able to offer their services regardless of the platform on which the file was made. This equipment is very costly, and requires a very big investment that rapidly becomes obsolete due to the market advancements. On the other hand, a large saving in the cost of couriers and mail is achieved. The experience expected to be gained will take place mainly in the knowledge of the market for the users and consequently a business plan may be achieved for a new service in the stock footage sector. Accordingly with the successful completion of the project this service can be studied based on customer satisfaction.