Producing for TikTok: Learn How KQED Is Adapting Its Video Editing Workflow to Serve a New Viewing Demographic
Evolve or Die has to be the most defining phrase of the pandemic, especially for public broadcasters rapidly losing ground to US streaming services like Netflix. For veteran TV executives like Roger Chiang of KQED, who oversaw the 25-year-old series America’s Most Wanted, the reason for this loss is apparent.
“I’m a TV guy, and I really love TV. But we know that the viewer habits have changed, and everybody (especially during the pandemic) was turning to mobile devices to get their viewing fix”, says Roger. As viewers turn to mobile devices for their viewing fix, public broadcasters must break free from the tradition of waiting to be found by their viewers. Rather, they must go to where their viewers are and compete in the same spaces as their industry counterparts. This article explores how KQED, a California-based public broadcaster, adapted its video production workflow to the needs of its new mobile viewer base.
How did KQED’s content delivery change with the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, KQED distributed programs via whichever channels its viewers watched. But the pandemic hit and disrupted viewer habits in its wake, so the broadcaster had to distribute content differently.
The increasingly interconnected post-pandemic era has seen viewers accustomed to on-demand media served through multiple delivery channels – TV streaming services, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, podcasts, and more.
This trend favors industry players who deliver individualized, directly accessible content. It also pressures traditional public broadcasting companies into providing a high-quality omnichannel experience at speed.
For KQED, providing an omnichannel experience meant tailoring content primarily to a growing YouTube audience, then for its website (KQED.org), and finally, creating shorter programs customized for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
What resources did KQED leverage to drive its digital transformation efforts?
KQED relied on a lean production team of up to six members (including producers and executive producers), two post-production editors for TV, and an indie production structure for digital content. This translated to teams of four to five members working on each program.
Central to the KQED’s post-production work was Evolphin Zoom MAM, a next-generation media asset management (MAM) system that supported the team’s work-in-progress workflow.
A media asset management system is software that functions as a single point of truth for all video post-production tasks. It provides the entire toolset to store, process, edit, and distribute rich media files throughout the video production lifecycle.
These capabilities are not limited to processed video files but extend to b-rolls, project files, linked footage, voiceover tracks, animation, graphics, processed files, etc. Organizations like KQED adopt MAM systems like Evolphin Zoom MAM as the foundational technology for driving digital transformation and streamlining specialized post-production processes.
Using one of the newer digital channels (TikTok) as an example, let’s explore how KQED adapted its video production workflow to offer a faster, better integrated, omnichannel experience to its newer digital audiences.
TikTok: How KQED adapted its video editing workflow to suit newer delivery channels
While the general video production workflow remained the same, KQED’s TikTok production strategy included new elements and experiments. The team experimented with high-quality Apple iPhones and handheld DJI cameras for shooting at the production stage.
Post-production for TikTok audiences followed a similar process as for larger media productions for TV broadcast. The only notable difference was that TikTok, being optimized for short-form video, primarily required small files compared to the large file sizes that the team was accustomed to.
This meant that the post-production team needed a flexible MAM system capable of scaling down its file management capabilities to suit smaller files as well as routine large video workflows.
With the ability to manage files of all sizes without compromising quality, Evolphin Zoom MAM enabled the team to retrieve, manage and seamlessly optimize historical video content for inclusion into its production workflow. Easy access to 54 years’ worth of historical archives presented KQED with a unique market offering – rare access to historical content. Of particular importance was Zoom MAM’s front-end deduplication feature that compressed all assets types with no loss of quality or resolution.
The team also needed to add text, graphics, and other b rolls to complement the footage. Again, this work was done through the Evolphin Zoom MAM, thanks to its very tight integration with the Adobe CC suite.
Once complete, the team could export finished projects directly from Zoom MAM for uploading to TikTok via mobile devices.
Media asset management (MAM) systems are the most efficient digitalization tools for public broadcasters like KQED.
By leveraging new digital technologies such as cloud capabilities and automated workflows, KQED was able to streamline its production process and create engaging content suitable for viewing on any device.
MAM systems are the foundational digital transformation tools for public broadcasters looking to transform their workflows to meet evolving viewers’ needs. This is because MAM systems condense the content production lifecycle into a secure, ubiquitous unit that adapts to the type of content being produced, and aids collaboration from any location or device.
Not to be confused with digital asset management (DAM) systems, MAM systems are characterized by their ability to manage rich media and large video files without stretching their performance limits.
Beyond these basic capabilities, next-generation enterprise MAM systems like Evolphin Zoom MAM go one step further than standard alternatives, offering users highly differentiated functionalities:
- patented front-end deduplication guaranteed to save 25 – 30% of cloud storage and bandwidth costs.
- smart copy feature converts duplicate files into 0-byte smart copies without changing file paths or existing links
- Cutting-edge version control handles every file type and detects conflicts so that revisions are never lost
- high-res transfer manager saves time by speeding up file transfers
- collaboration app streamlines work-in-progress workflows across timezones and devices
- AI-assisted editing with automated tagging, logo detection, face detection, speech-to-text translation, language translation, rough cut generation, and more features that significantly reduce editing time and cost.
Like many companies, public broadcasters like KQED have gone through a digital transformation in the past decade. As technology advances, so should their video editing workflows to meet the demands of modern viewers.
The right digital transformation strategy for public broadcasters must incorporate speed and flexibility for business continuity, multisite and omnichannel experiences for building customer engagement, and cross-platform integrations for rich digital experiences.
Robust MAM systems like Evolphin Zoom MAM are foundational to this transformation because they empower public broadcasters to better monetize their treasure trove of media assets, streamline collaboration between on-premises and remote teams, and, most importantly, reach new, profitable viewers while retaining their existing audiences.
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