The challenge for European film-makers, particularly in countries which are just emerging as creative movie centres, is to achieve a wide distribution for local language films. The project, called Working_(SUB)_Titles, aims to reduce the high production cost of subtitles.
The solution developed by VDM and UMW relies on both human and digital components. As the EU call for tenders suggested, the answer lies in part in crowd-sourcing, using multiple human translators to speed the work.
The process of creating successful subtitles is two-fold: it needs an accurate and sympathetic translation; and it needs placement and timing of the subtitles to match the film’s dialogue and action.
VDM and UMW had previously collaborated on VDM Connect, a powerful tool to manage the assets associated with a movie in distribution. These include alternative languages, subtitles, related artwork and more. This is a key requirement in distribution: the XML metadata file for iTunes for a major movie like Apocalypse Now is over 2500 lines long, and any error will result in the package being rejected.
To solve the issue VDM developed a collaborative asset management tool which ensures all required data fields are correctly populated. The data processing engine ensures that the correct information is lodged in each different metadata schema, largely automating the process of dealing with different distribution platforms.