Writing good metadata simultaneously occupies two extremes: good metadata contributes almost exclusively to the reason for being found in an initial internet search while at the same time being one of the least liked jobs in the process of shooting and uploading stock content.
The purpose of this blog post is to help you understand where to spend your time most effectively. Metadata covers a wide variety of information about any particular asset, both technical and descriptive. Technical metadata is gathered automatically so it won’t be covered here. i.e. bit rate, size, codec etc.
What you want to do is create a set of keywords that clearly and efficiently describe what’s on a clip so that someone searching for what you have can find it. Like a lot of things in life, writing keywords falls under the less is more principle. Keyword spamming is a waste of time for everyone and reduces your chance of making sales.
So what’s a keyword? It’s any word or group of words that can be searched and that will return to the user a selection of choices associated with that keyword or group of keywords. In the case of a Google search, you’ll see the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), and on the website, it will be a thumbnail presentation of footage or images that match the keyword criteria. We do this all the time and understand this implicitly. It’s just a matter of organizing these keywords for our content to achieve maximum benefit.
Aerials are unique, in that most people search for a specific location like NYC or Paris, with filters for landmarks within those locations like the WTC or the Eiffel Tower. After that there can be additional filtering by nighttime, daytime, cloudy, winter w/snow, top down etc. These are the mainstay of many requirements for establishing shots and advertising. Including these keywords of geographic place names is essential to having your content appear in searches.
The next most common search is for a type of place or activity. Shipping docks, desert landscape, glacier, pine forest with mist, close up of a gleaming building, surfing on huge waves, the permutations are endless and are not dependant on location.
In each case, a few well selected keywords can really help in bringing that image to the front page of a search. Understanding this will streamline the process of choosing what to include and what to leave out.
Is a keyword a keyword and search a search? There are two main areas where searches are initiated:
- on the web through a Google, Bing, Yahoo search engines. Also known as an organic search and all part of SEO strategy.
- on the Overflightstock website.
Each of these needs to be considered separately.
To be found organically, that is for a researcher to see an entry with your content on page 1 or 2 of a SERP, the crafting of the Title becomes quite important.
If you copy the Title from many of the clips found on Overflightstock and add “aerial” to the search, you will usually see a good return position. (For the purposes of web searches we automatically add “aerial” to all titles. You can if you wish add “aerial” but it’s not necessary.)
eg. The following return was seen in position 1 and 2 of the SERP page 1 by searching the Title (aerial footage + Swimmers Snorkelling In Tropical Paradise Of Koh Rong Cambodia). It should be noted that each of us is dealt a different return depending on our previous search history, location etc.
This search was very specific but demonstrates how the Title is indexed by Google for referencing in future searches. Position 1 and 2 is as good as it gets. Each of the words in the Title, for the purposes of being found in an organic search, is a keyword. A very important keyword. Titles are keyword strings and shouldn’t be too long. 8-10 words is about right and they should be written more for Google indexing than for grammatical correctness. If they are grammatically perfect, that’s a bonus but usually people viewing a Title prefer to see the least number of words with the most information.
The Title should always have the following:
- city (IF applicable)
- location (if applicable) ie. park, desert, lake, train station…
- a brief overview of the subject and anything unique that may be used as a search term
The Title should NOT have the following:
- adjectives (beautiful, epic etc)
- flight ops (panning, tilting…)
- objects or subjects not in the scene
- too much information. You can’t have it all. Keep it simple.
When you have multiple clips of the same location, it’s a great idea to change around the Title. The above example could also be “Snorkelers and Tourist Boat on the Tropical Island of Koh Rong Cambodia”
Descriptive information can be added to the Description if you like. Most of the time we find that the Title and Description are the same. You can add another column anywhere in the spreadsheet if you want to include a more elaborate description.
The regular KEYWORD field is used more for in-house searches. By people who arrived at the website and are looking to find specific content. Here there is more leeway for detailed and abstract keywords. But again, the keywords need to depict the scene. It’s quite okay to use words like moody, tranquil, busy, eerie, etc, but in the true sense of the word.
We expect all metadata to be embedded into the image.
There are some programs that embed the metadata in footage. If you wish to transmit the metadata embedded in footage that is fine.
- 4k, 6k or higher @ 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 60 FPS Progressive.
- High Quality HD 1080 is okay but all new material should be shot at 4k or higher.
- ProRes.mov is preferred. H264.mov or H264.mp4 are fine at bit rates of greater than 80 Mb/s at 4k 30fps equivalent.
- Clip length: 8 to 30 seconds (occasionally longer to up to 60 seconds if required). The clip should contain a single event or movement through a scene. Don’t combine clips.
- Grading: gently colour correct and enhance to a pleasant viewing standard. Don’t oversaturate.
- No audio tracks unless the audio is of high quality and enhances the video in some respect. 99.99% of clips will not have audio.
- Clean Video therefore No Watermarks, No Titles, No Timestamps, No Transitions, No Black frames.
- Metadata on a standardized spreadsheet. See details below.
- Send in the files at the maximum native resolution for your camera. No upsizing or downsizing of files.
- Minimum camera resolution is 12 megapixels camera (4000 x 3000 minimum) shot with good optics and a low noise sensor at minimum ISO.
- Jpeg at max quality, 8 bit, Adobe(1998) preferred.
- There should be no noticeable artifacts, posterization, colour-fringing, noise or banding.
- All dust spots must be removed.
- No screen captures.
- No photos taken from video.
- Smaller quadcopter cameras can be quite noisy at higher ISO settings and images can quickly become unusable on these cameras. The need to maintain good quality is important.
- Embed IPTC METADATA into the image file. See details below.
The following are the metadata fields used by search engines and local site searches to find and access your images and footage.
Please embed the information into the IPTC fields of your photographs. Most editing software can accomplish this easily.
A separate spreadsheet will be required for footage. You can click one of the following download links for a template. Send in a filled in form with each submission.
If you compile metadata on your own master CSV, you may send that in instead if you wish.
|File Name||Filename including the extension. e.g. XYZ_16_12345.mov No spaces. NO special characters except underscores and dashes. Simple sequential numbering schemes are the best.|
|The Title is the most important from an SEO perspective. It’s used by search engines to index the content and appears on the top header of organic searches. This is the main title of the image and is displayed under all image thumbnails and the enlarged view to give the viewer a brief synopsis of the content. Don’t waste them, but you can’t spam – 8 to 10 words is the upper limit on a Headline. Concise and accurate. Don’t use “Stock Photo of…” or “Stock Footage of…” etc. The site automatically prefaces all Headlines with the appropriate wordage for SEO enhancement.|
|Sub-location||(optional) Neighbourhood, park, county etc.|
|Keywords||The where, when, what, who of the image — see additional information below. Comma separated in one column. Keywords like: aerial photo, aerial footage, stock photo, photograph… and the many iterations of these need not be added. Most are placed for you within the keyword string. 5-50 keywords.|
|Creator||This will either be your name or company name and will appear as © AUTHOR on the website.|
Keywords are a subset to the Metadata.The best content in the world will quickly slide into obscurity without the ability for customers to find it. Properly keyworded content sells more.
Please include the following:
- Location: Country, City, Province State, neighbourhood etc. Where is the scene geographically?
- Time: what is the season? is it dusk, dawn, sunrise or midday?
- Who or what is the main subject? Iconic features are important to note.
- If there’s people, what’s happening and what are they doing?
- Special technique like slow motion or time-lapse.
MODEL AND PROPERTY RELEASES
Model and Property Releases should be uploaded at the same time as the content. For purposes of matching, create a spread sheet with the File Name of the image/footage and the File Names of the releases they connect to. Use as many columns as necessary per image/footage file.
Sample paper releases are available of download.
UPLOADING and MEDIA DELIVERY
Credentials for signing onto the Overflightstock Web Uploader will be sent to you.
We also accept hard drives or we can download media off of your private cloud storage.
Contact us to make arrangements for shipping of hard drives. (They are of course returned to you).