IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

IPTC member delegates Phil Avner (AP), Pam Fisher (Individual Member / The Media Institute), Alison Sullivan (Individual Member / MGM Resorts) and Mark Milstein (Microstocksolutions / VAIsual) at NAB 2022 in Las Vegas.

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show wrapped up its first face-to-face event in three years last week in Las Vegas.  In spite of the name, this is an internationally attended trade conference and exhibition showcasing equipment, software and services for film and video production, management and distribution. There were 52,000 attendees, down from a typical 90-100k, with some reduction in booth density; overall the show was reminiscent of pre-COVID days.  A few members of IPTC met while there: Mark Milstein (vAIsual), Alison Sullivan (MGM Resorts), Phil Avner (Associated Press) and Pam Fisher (The Media Institute).  Kudos to Phil for working, showcasing ENPS on the AP stand, while others walked the exhibition stands.

NAB is a long-running event and several large vendors have large ‘anchor’ booths.  Some such as Panasonic and Adobe reduced their normal NAB booth size, while Blackmagic had their normal ‘city block’-sized presence, teeming with traffic.  In some ways the reduced booth density was ideal for visitors: plenty of tables and chairs populated the open areas making more meeting and refreshment space available.  The NAB exhibition is substantially more widely attended than the conference, and this year several theatres were provided on the show floor for sessions any ‘exhibits only’ attendee could watch.  Some content is now available here: https://nabshow.com/2022/videos-on-demand/

For the most part this was a show of ‘consolidation’ rather than ‘innovation’. For example, exhibitors were enjoying welcoming their partners and customers face-to-face rather than launching significant new products.  Codecs standardised during the past several years were finally reaching mainstream support, with AV1, VP9 and HEVC well-represented across vendors. SVT-AV1 (Scalable Vector Technology) was particularly prevalent, having been well optimised and made available to use license-free by the standard’s contributors. VVC (Versatile Video Coding), a more recent and more advanced standard, is still too computationally intensive for commercial use, though a small set made mention of it on their stands (e.g. Fraunhofer).

IP is now fairly ubiquitous within broadcast ecosystems.  To consolidate further, an IP Showcase booth illustrating support across standards bodies and professional organisations championed more sophisticated adoption. A pyramid graphic showing a cascade of ‘widely available’ to ‘rarely available’ sub-systems encouraged deeper adoption.

Super Resolution – raising the game for video upscaling

One of the show floor sessions – “Improving Video Quality with AI” – presented advances by iSIZE and Intel. The Intel technology may be particularly interesting to IPTC members, and concerns “Super Resolution.” Having followed the subject for over 20 years, for me this was a personal highlight of the show.

Super Resolution is a technique for creating higher resolution content from smaller originals.  For example, achieving a professional quality 1080p video from a 480p source, or scaling up a social media-sized image for feature use.

A representative from Intel explaining the forthcoming SuperResolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A representative from Intel explaining their forthcoming Super Resolution library and FFmpeg plugin for video upscaling

A few years ago a novel and highly effective new Super Resolution method was innovated (“RAISR”, see https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.01299); this represented a major discontinuity in the field, albeit with the usual mountain of investment and work needed to take the ‘R’ (research) to ‘D’ (development).

This is exactly what Intel have done, and the resulting toolsets will be made available at no cost at the company’s Open Visual Cloud repository at the end of May.

Intel invested four years in improving the AI/ML algorithms (having created a massive ground truth library for learning), optimising to CPUs for performance and parallelisation, and then engineering the ‘applied’ tools developers need for integration (e.g. Docker containers, FFmpeg and GStreamer plug-ins). Performance will now be commercially robust.

The visual results are astonishing, and could have a major impact on the commercial potential of photographic and film/video collections needing to reach much higher resolutions or even to repair ‘blurriness’.

Next year’s event is the centennial of the first NAB Show and takes place from April 15th-19th in Las Vegas.

– Pam Fisher – Lead, IPTC Video Metadata Working Group

Lúí Smyth from Shutterstock presenting at IPTC Spring Meeting, Lisbon, April 2019, back when we had in-person meetings!

With less than two weeks to go, we are pleased to announce the full agenda for the IPTC Spring Meeting 2022.

The IPTC Spring Meeting 2022 will be held virtually from Monday May 16th to Wednesday May 18th, from 1300 – 1800 UTC each day.

IPTC member representatives can view the full agenda and register at https://iptc.org/moz/events/spring-meeting-2022/

Highlights of the meeting include:

  • Updates from all IPTC Working Groups, including Photo Metadata, Video Metadata, NewsCodes, Sports Content, NewsML-G2 and News in JSON
  • Updates from the IPTC PR Committee and the IPTC Standards Committee, including votes on proposed new versions of IPTC standards
  • Invited presentations from:
    • United Robots, presenting their “robot journalism” system built for media companies
    • Axate‘s micropayments system for publishers
    • Kairntech presenting their content classification system used by Agence France-Presse among others
    • Bria.ai‘s image generation and manipulation API backed with cutting-edge artificial intelligence
    • Consultant Henrik de Gyor speaking on the latest developments in synthetic media
    • Laurent Le Meur from EDRLab discussing the W3C Text and Data Mining Community Group’s recommendation for a Text and Data Mining Reservation Protocol
  • Member presentations:
    • Recently-joined IPTC members will have a chance to introduce themselves and their organisations to the IPTC membership
    • The New York Times presenting their “Papertrail” system used to target advertising based on content metadata
    • Margaret Warren from ImageSnippets discussing what she learned when creating NFTs from her artwork
  • Member discussions:
    • IPTC members will be discussing how we might be able to simplify rights management with a cut-down basic set of rights assertions, possibly creating a simpler alternative to RightsML
    • IPTC members will also be discussing the News Architecture and how we can better utilise the key data model that underlies both NewsML-G2 and ninjs
    • and more!

Attendance to the 2022 IPTC Spring Meeting is free for all delegates and member experts from IPTC member organisations.

Invited speakers are welcome to attend the day on which they are speaking.

IPTC members will be appearing at imaging.org’s Imaging Science and Technology DigiTIPS 2022 meeting series tomorrow, April 26.

The session description is as follows:

Unmuting Your ‘Silent Images’ with Photo Metadata
Caroline Desrosiers, founder and CEO, Scribely
David Riecks and Michael Steidl, IPTC Photo Metadata Working Group

Abstract: Learn how embedded photo metadata can aid in a data-driven workflow from capture to publish. Discover what details exist in your images; and learn how you can affix additional information so that you and others can manage your collection of images. See how you can embed info to automatically fill in “Alt Text” to images shown on your website. Explore how you can test your metadata workflow to maximize interoperability.”

Registration is still open. You can register at https://www.imaging.org/Site/IST/Conferences/DigiTIPS/DigiTIPS_Home.aspx?Entry_CCO=3#Entry_CCO

This image was generated from a set of captured digital images used to train a Generative Adversarial Network, so would be classified as “trainedAlgorithmicMedia” in the proposed new version of the Digital Source Type CV. Source: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

A hot topic in media circles these days is “synthetic media”. That is, media that was created either partly or fully by a computer. Usually the term is used to describe content created either partly or wholly by AI algorithms.

IPTC’s Video Metadata Working Group has been looking at the topic recently and we concluded that it would be useful to have a way to describe exactly what type of content a particular media item is. Is it a raw, unmodified photograph, video or audio recording? Is it a collage of existing photos, or a mix of synthetic and captured content? Was it created using software trained on a set of sample images or videos, or is it purely created by an algorithm?

We have an existing vocabulary that suits some of this need: Digital Source Type. This vocabulary was originally created to be able to describe the way in which an image was scanned into a computer, but it also represented software-created images at a high level. So we set about expanding and modifying that vocabulary to cover more detail and more specific use cases.

It is important to note that we are only describing the way a media object has been created: we are not making any statements about the intent of the user (or the machine) in creating the content. So we deliberately don’t have a term “deepfake”, but we do have “trainedAlgorithmicMedia” which would be the term used to describe a piece of content that was created by an AI algorithm such as a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN).

Here are the terms we propose to include in the new version of the Digital Source Type vocabulary. (New terms and definition changes are marked in bold text. Existing terms are included in the list for clarity.)

Term IDdigitalCapture
Term nameOriginal digital capture sampled from real life
Term descriptionThe digital media is captured from a real-life source using a digital camera or digital recording device
ExamplesDigital photo or video taken using a digital SLR or smartphone camera
Term IDnegativeFilm
Term nameDigitised from a negative on film
Term descriptionThe digital media was digitised from a negative on film on any other transparent medium
ExamplesFilm scanned from a moving image negative
Term IDpositiveFilm
Term nameDigitised from a positive on film
Term descriptionThe digital media was digitised from a positive on a transparency or any other transparent medium
ExamplesDigital photo scanned from a photographic positive
Term IDprint
Term nameDigitised from a print on non-transparent medium
Term descriptionThe digital image was digitised from an image printed on a non-transparent medium
ExamplesDigital photo scanned from a photographic print
Term IDhumanEdited
Term nameOriginal media with minor human edits
Term descriptionMinor augmentation or correction by a human, such as a digitally-retouched photo used in a magazine
ExamplesVideo camera recording, manipulated digitally by a human editor
Term IDcompositeCapture
Term nameComposite of captured elements
Term descriptionMix or composite of several elements that are all captures of real life
Examples* A composite image created by a digital artist in Photoshop based on several source images
* Edited sequence or composite of video shots
Term IDalgorithmicallyEnhanced
Term nameAlgorithmically-enhanced media
Term descriptionMinor augmentation or correction by algorithm
ExamplesA photo that has been digitally enhanced using a mechanism such as Google Photos’ “de-noise” feature
Term IDdataDrivenMedia
Term nameData-driven media
Term descriptionDigital media representation of data via human programming or creativity
ExamplesA representation of a distant galaxy created by analysing the outputs of a deep-space telescope (as opposed to a regular camera)
An infographic created using a computer drawing tool such as Adobe Illustrator or AutoCAD
Term IDdigitalArt
Term nameDigital art
Term descriptionMedia created by a human using digital tools
Examples* A cartoon drawn by an artist into a digital tool using a digital pencil, a tablet and a drawing package such as Procreate or Affinity Designer
* A scene from a film/movie created using Computer Graphic Imagery (CGI)
* Electronic music composition using purely synthesised sounds
Term IDvirtualRecording
Term nameVirtual recording
Term descriptionLive recording of virtual event based on synthetic and optionally captured elements
Examples* A recording of a computer-generated sequence, e.g. from a video game
* A recording of a Zoom meeting
Term IDcompositeSynthetic
Term nameComposite including synthetic elements
Term descriptionMix or composite of several elements, at least one of which is synthetic
Examples* Movie production using a combination of live-action and CGI content, e.g. using Unreal engine to generate backgrounds
* A capture of an augmented reality interaction with computer imagery superimposed on a camera video, e.g. someone playing Pokemon Go
Term IDtrainedAlgorithmicMedia
Term nameTrained algorithmic media
Term descriptionDigital media created algorithmically using a model derived from sampled content
Examples* Image based on deep learning from a series of reference examples
* A “speech-to-speech” generated audio or “deepfake” video using a combination of a real actor and an AI model
* “Text-to-image” using a text input to feed an algorithm that creates a synthetic image
Term IDalgorithmicMedia
Term nameAlgorithmic media
Term descriptionMedia created purely by an algorithm not based on any sampled training data, e.g. an image created by software using a mathematical formula
Examples* A purely computer-generated image such as a pattern of pixels generated mathematically e.g. a Mandelbrot set or fractal diagram
* A purely computer-generated moving image such as a pattern of pixels generated mathematically

We propose that the following term, which exists in the current DigitalSourceType CV, be retired:

Term IDRETIRE: softwareImage
Term nameCreated by software
Term descriptionThe digital image was created by computer software
NoteWe propose that trainedAlgorithmicMedia or algorithmnicMedia be used instead of this term.

We welcome all feedback from across the industry to these proposed terms.

Please contact Brendan Quinn, IPTC Managing Director at mdirector@iptc.org use the IPTC Contact Us form to send your feedback.

Anyone who has managed photo metadata can attest that it is often difficult to know which metadata properties to use for different purposes. It is especially tricky to know how to tag consistently across different metadata standards. For example, how should a copyright notice be expressed in Exif, IPTC Photo Metadata and schema.org metadata?

For software vendors wanting to build accurate mapping into their tools to make life easier for their customers, it’s no easier. For a while, a document created by a consortium of vendors known as the Metadata Working Group solved some of the problems, but the MWG Guidelines are no longer available online.

To solve this problem, the IPTC collaborated with Exif experts at CIPA, the camera products industry group that maintains the Exif standard. We also spoke with the team behind schema.org. Based on these conversations, we created a document that describes how to map properties between these formats. The aim is to remove any ambiguity regarding which IPTC Photo Metadata properties are semantically equivalent to Exif tags and schema.org properties.

Generally, Exif tags and IPTC Photo Metadata properties represent different things: Exif mainly represents the technical data around capturing an image, while IPTC focuses on describing the image and its administrative and rights metadata, and schema.org covers expressing metadata in a web page. However, quite a few properties are shared by all standards, such as who is the Creator of the image, the free-text description of what the image shows, or the date when the image was taken. Therefore it is highly recommended to have the same value in the corresponding fields of the different standards.

The IPTC Photo Metadata Mapping Guidelines outlines the 17 IPTC Photo Metadata Standard properties with corresponding fields in Exif and/or Schema.org. Further short textual notes help to implement these mappings correctly.

The intended audience of the document is those managing the use of photo metadata in businesses and the makers of software that handles photo metadata.The IPTC Photo Metadata Mapping Guidelines document can be accessed on the iptc.org website. We encourage IPTC members to provide feedback through the usual channels, and non-members to respond with feedback and questions on the public IPTC Photo Metadata email discussion group.

Next Thursday 10th March, IPTC members will be presenting a webinar on IPTC Media Topics and Wikidata. It will be held in association with the European Broadcasting Union as part of the EBU Wikidata Workshop.

Banner image for the IPTC/EBU webinar "Using Wikidata with IPTC Media Topics", held as part of the EBU/IPTC Wikidata workshop on Thursday 10 March 2022.

The webinar is part of our series of “member-to-member” webinars, but as this is a special event in conjunction with EBU, attendance is open to the public.

The IPTC component of the workshop features Jennifer Parrucci of The New York Times, lead of the IPTC NewsCodes Working Group which manages the Media Topics vocabulary, and Managing Director of IPTC Brendan Quinn, introducing Media Topics and how they can be used with Wikidata. Then Tor Kristian Flage of Norwegian agency NTB and Gustav Carlberg of vendor and IPTC member iMatrics will present on their recent project to integrate IPTC Media Topics and Wikidata into their newsroom workflow.

Other speakers at the workshop on March 10th include France TV, RAI Italy, YLE Finland, Gruppo RES, Media Press and Perfect Memory.

Register to attend the full workshop (including the IPTC webinar) for free here.

Marc Lavallee of The New York Times, Brendan Quinn of IPTC, Pascale Doucet of France Télévision and Scott Yates of JournalList spoke on a panel at the Project Origin event on February 22, 2022.
Marc Lavallee of The New York Times, Brendan Quinn of IPTC, Pascale Doucet of France Télévision and Scott Yates of JournalList spoke on a panel at the Project Origin event on February 22, 2022.

The IPTC has an ongoing project to the news and media industry deal with content credibility and provenance. As part of this, we have started working with Project Origin, a consortium of news and technology organisations who have come together to fight misinformation through the use of content provenance technologies.

On Tuesday 22nd February, Managing Director of IPTC Brendan Quinn spoke on a panel at an invite-only Executive Briefing event attended by leaders from news organisations around the world.

Other speakers at the event included Marc Lavallee, Head of R&D for The New York Times, Pascale Doucet of France Télévision, Eric Horvitz of Microsoft Research, Andy Parsons of Adobe, and Laura Ellis, Jamie Angus and Jatin Aythora of the BBC.

The event marks the beginning of the next phase of the industry’s work on content credibility. C2PA has now delivered the 1.0 version of its spec, so the next phase of the work is for the news industry to get together to create best practices around implementing it in news workflows.

IPTC and Project Origin will be working together with stakeholders from all parts of the news industry to establish guidelines for making provenance work in a practical way across the entire news ecosystem.

We have just released a small update to the Media Topics contrextract from IPTC MediaTopics Feb 2021olled vocabulary for news and media content. The changes support the Winter Olympics which starts this week.

The changes are:

  • The definition of bobsleigh (medtop:20000854) was changed to reflect the fact that bobsleigh now offers a one-person version (which is incidentally referred to as “monobob”). The new definition is: One, two or four people racing down a course in a sled that consists of a main hull, a frame, two axles and sets of runners. The total time of all heats in a competition is added together to determine the winner.
  • Similarly, the definition of freestyle skiing (medtop:20001058) was changed to reflect new events this year. The new definition is: Skiing competitions which, in contrast to alpine skiing, incorporate acrobatic moves and jumps. Events include aerials, halfpipe, slopestyle, ski cross, moguls and big air.

We also took the opportunity to add a term which was recently suggested by ABC Australia and Fourth Estate in the US:

We would like to thank to all Media Topics users and maintainers for their feedback and support.

Welcome to 2022! We thought a good way to kick off the new year would be to share the text of the speech given by our new Standards Committee Chair, Paul Harman of Bloomberg, at the IPTC Standards Committee meeting on 20 October 2021. In this piece, Paul does a particularly good job of explaining IPTC’s mission and calls on all IPTC members to participate in our standards work.

The IPTC was founded to secure fair access to modern telecommunications infrastructure. Using satellite technology would enable news providers and distributors to report from conflict zones, or from the other side of the world, at greater speed and with less risk of disruption from regional disputes or actions which could affect landline alternatives.

This extract from a 1967 IPTC newsletter illustrates the early work of the IPTC in securing access to telegraph and satellite lines for the news industry.

Once such access was secured, they had to decide how to use it. News agencies required technical standards for information interchange, and that’s what IPTC set out to provide, in the name of interoperability. It’s a remit we continue to carry out today. Organisations both inside the news technology arena, and outside, look to IPTC for guidance on media metadata; IPTC is perhaps best known for the Photo Metadata standards that were incorporated into Adobe products, and from there across the photo ecosystem.

Today we face a different problem: not a lack of standards, but an over-abundance of them; and alongside that, regular misuse – or lack of use – of the standards we actually have. As the popular XKCD comic highlights, the solution isn’t to create “one new standard to rule them all”, as this just perpetuates the problem. Increasingly the activities of our Working Groups are about documenting how to use the standards – IPTC and external – that already exist, and how to map between them. 

The classic XKCD comic illustrating the problem of trying to create “one new standard to rule them all” Source: https://xkcd.com/927/ Licensed under CC-BY-NC.

To do this, we need an understanding of what news is, and what each step in the workflow is trying to achieve. We must step away from the bits and bytes of transfer protocols, and instead examine the semantics of news – define an abstract data model representing the concepts in news collection, curation, distribution and feedback, and how those concepts inter-relate – separating the meaning of the metadata from the mechanics of how they are expressed. Only then can we successfully reflect that understanding back into whatever formats our members can use based on the constraints they are operating within.

New protocols and representations evolve all the time: SGML, XML, JSON, YAML, Turtle, Avro, protobuf… they are just serialisation formats. It shouldn’t have to matter whether you choose schema.org or rNews or RDFa or microdata or JSON-LD to embed metadata into HTML; what matters is a consistency of meaning, regardless of the mechanism.

Our Working Groups are already doing this, to a greater or lesser extent. The Video Metadata Hub is precisely an abstract model that defines serialisations into existing formats. The Photo Metadata Standard grew out of IIM and XMP work and describes the serialisations into, and necessary synchronisations between, current and future photo metadata standards. The News in JSON Working Group is attempting to map the same data model across JSON, Avro and Protocol Buffers, based on the News Architecture which was conceived as a data model but quickly became defined via its expression in XML, namely NewsML-G2. The Sports Content Working Group is currently working on taking the semantics from SportsML and SportsJS and re-expressing them in terms of RDF. For machine-readable rights, IPTC worked with the W3C on ODRL and used it as the basis for RightsML. And the NewsCodes Working Group is taking the Media Topics scheme and mapping it to Wikidata, which could be used as a lingua franca between any classification systems.

But this work is far from trivial, and requires continuous effort. IPTC is a member organisation, and it is through the time volunteered by delegates and their organisations that the work progresses. IPTC has but one member of staff – Brendan – who does a huge amount of work across all of our standards, but he also needs to run the business. Therefore we need your help to create and maintain our standards for the benefit of your businesses. Please join the working group sessions, or recommend somebody from your organisation to get involved, in the areas of interest to you and your organisation.

In particular, we have heard again at this meeting the need for machine-readable rights. The standard exists, in the form of RightsML. What it needs now is tooling to support the standard, a user guide with use cases, and potentially some how-tos or templates for typical use cases – similar maybe to Creative Commons licences – that cover the majority of our use cases. Most meetings, we hear from members on how crucial machine-readable rights are to effective workflows in their business, but the Working Group is currently without a lead. If you work at a member organisation who would benefit, please consider volunteering to participate in this group.

I would remind the Working Groups that IPTC has provision in the budget for technical authoring and software development – so I would encourage you to propose to the Board how you might use that. We can then decide where to spend, and also use this as input on future budgets. Let the Board know how we can help and support you.

I’d like to close by thanking the Working Group Leads, and their organisations, for so generously giving of their time: Dave, Jennifer, Johan, Paul, Michael and Pam. Special thanks to David Riecks for agreeing to co-chair the Photo Metadata group, and to Brendan for his support and development work on tools such as the Generators and Unit Testing frameworks. Thanks also to Kelvin Holland, our technical author, for his work on the NewsML-G2 Specification and User Guide. And thanks to the members of all of the working groups for their efforts on our standards which play such a crucial role in the newstech industry.

Thank you.

Paul Harman
Chair, IPTC Standards Committee
20 October 2021

extract from IPTC MediaTopics Feb 2021

The IPTC NewsCodes Working Group has now released the Q4 update to Media Topics, IPTC’s subject taxonomy used for classifying news content.

The main changes were made to the religion branch as part of our regular review cycle, and to sport events after discussing the terms with the Sports Content Working Group. This means that we have retired 29 terms and added 15 others. So in total we currently have 1,159 active terms in the vocabulary.

All new terms were created in en-GB and en-US versions, and have translations in Norwegian thanks to NTB. Other language translations will be added as they are contributed.

Below is a list of all of the changes.

New terms:

Retired terms:

Label changes:

Definition changes:

Hierarchy moves:

  • medtop:20000423 environmental policy moved from medtop:06000000 environment to medtop:20000621 government policy
  • medtop:20000479 healthcare policy moved from medtop:07000000 health to medtop:20000621 government policy
  • medtop:20000480 government health care moved from medtop:20000479 healthcare policy to medtop:07000000 health
  • medtop:20000483 health insurance moved from medtop:20000479 healthcare policy to medtop:07000000 health
  • medtop:20000690 religious festival and holiday moved from medtop:20000689 religious event to medtop:12000000 religion
  • medtop:20000696 religious ritual moved from medtop:20000689 religious event to medtop:12000000 religion
  • medtop:20001177 Olympic Games moved from medtop:20001123 world gamesto medtop:20001108 sport event
  • medtop:20001178 Paralympic Games moved from medtop:20001123 world games to medtop:20001108 sport event
  • medtop:20001239 exercise and fitness moved from medtop:10000000 lifestyle and leisure to medtop:20001339 wellness
  • medtop:20001293 streaming service moved from medtop:20000045 mass media to medtop:20000304 media

As always, the Media Topics vocabularies can be viewed in the following ways:

For more information on IPTC NewsCodes in general, please see the IPTC NewsCodes Guidelines.